Saturday, March 07, 2009

Esta el Estado declinando?

Eso dice Martin van Creveld, profesor de historia de la Herew University y autor de el libro "The Rise and Decline of the State":

Somewhere between 1945 and 1975, the type of political construct known as the state and characterized, above all, by the separation between the ruler and the organization peaked and may have gone into decline. As previously, this process was not the making of individual rulers, however powerful and...benevolent. It was not as if the people at the top suddenly became less power-hungry or more willing to let the people at the bottom do their own thing. Once again, the well-nigh global character of the changes indicates that they were produced by anonymous forces over which scarcely anybody could exercise any control. And in relation to which, indeed, the entire question of morality becomes almost irrelevant.

Perhaps the most important factor, and one that is taken so much for granted that it is often overlooked, was the introduction and subsequent proliferation of nuclear weapons. For the first time in history, nuclear weapons permitted those who possessed them to annihilate each other and, of course, those who did not possess them as well. To date all attempts to change this fact by discovering some kind of antidote have failed; indeed they scarcely even got off the ground. Nor do I think that the current plans to build a ballistic missile defense system are going to make a difference in this respect. While this is not the place to argue the case in detail, against so-called "rogue states" such as North Korea, Iraq and Iran it is not needed. Against a first or even second class power with a full nuclear arsenal at its disposal it is useless.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons has affected war, and large scale war as waged by the state in particular, in two opposed ways. First, to the extent that the opponent also possessed a second strike capability it turned warfare into suicide, thus negating Clausewitz’s definition of it as a continuation of policy with an admixture of other means. It used to be that states went to war in order to extend or defend their interests. By definition, though, the interests of a state are less important than its existence--indeed it is only that which exists that can have interests in the first place. To put it in a less abstract way, it is hard if not impossible to think of an "interest" that will justify putting Washington D.C., or New York, or Moscow, or Beijing, or New Delhi, or Tel Aviv, at risk of instant and complete annihilation. As Bernard Brodie wrote as long ago as 1946, nuclear weapons cannot, should not, be used. If they have to be used, then they have already failed in their purpose which can only be to deter. As a result, whereas during the centuries before 1945 war was a major instrument used by states to increase their power at the expense of other states, since then it has been waged almost exclusively between, or against, non-nuclear states; in other words, such states as were not first or even second rate players in the international system.

The second reason why nuclear weapons have had a dampening effect on major interstate war is psychological. As the late Moshe Dayan once said, nothing is more exciting for men than war; as he well knew but did not say, nobody is more likely to command the admiration of women than warriors. In so far as nuclear weapons make it impossible to resist and can indeed eliminate entire societies in the twinkling of an eye, however, there is nothing exciting about them. By the speed with which it kills and destroys even more than by its sheer power, nuclear war simply does not offer any room for the exercise and display of such qualities as pride, honor, courage, determination, endurance, and self sacrifice. Briefly, it does not provide scope for heroism; whereas from the time that the first woman gave birth to the first baby (thus demonstrating to men how useless they really are) heroism has been what war is all about.

Concomitant with the retreat of major interstate war states also began dismantling some of the systems with which, since 1850 or so, they have built up in order to hold their populations in check and secure their loyalty. To a large extent, their doing so was a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict which brought on the Energy Crisis and plunged the world into a recession. Recession and unemployment overburdened the welfare system. This in turn led to inflation; and inflation in turn meant that the state had to rob some of its citizens in order to maintain payments to the rest. Even where rising oil prices did not constitute a major problem, Austrian economics--and here I agree with the ideas presented by the Mises Institute--would have predicted that the very success of the welfare state in creating more extensive education systems, more expensive health services, more old people, and more single mothers would cause its size to increase and its cost to skyrocket. By 1980 even Switzerland, that bastion of sound money, had a budget deficit amounting to more than 5 percent of GNP."

No estoy convencido de esta teoría sobre el declive del Estado. Las causas que menciona Van Creveld aunque importante no me parece que tengan la suficiente fuerza para generar un proceso descentralización que lleve a un declive del Estado.

Incluso creo que lo peor del dominio del Estado en realidad esta por venir.