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周波:中国没按美国期望的方式发展,就是欺骗?

2020-07-10 07:50:21

【文/ 周波,译/中国论坛 韩桦】

中国。中国。中国。眼睁睁盯着11月大选,美国总统特朗普和他的民主党对手拜登正陷于一场看谁对华更鹰派的较劲。对北京强硬现在被视为总统候选人是否白宫摘冠的关键考验。

今天北京和华盛顿之间的信任似乎比冷战期间华盛顿和莫斯科之间的信任还要低。至少前苏联和美国的科学家还能够合作开发脊髓灰质炎疫苗。

来自美国的敌意不仅仅是为在竞选活动中得分。它在官方战略政策文件中占有了一席之地,并得到了放大。

5月20日发布的《美国对中华人民共和国的战略方针》开篇就表达失望,指出中国“经济的快速发展和与世界接触的增加,并没有像美国所希望的那样,与以公民为中心的、自由和开放的秩序走向趋同”,并得出结论认为,美国必须为两种制度之间的长期战略竞争做好准备,包括容忍更大的双边摩擦。

错误的前提,错误的结论

如果争论的前提是错误的,那么结论很难正确。北京从未哄骗华盛顿相信,它将成为美国所希望的那样。相反,中国一直严防任何破坏其社会制度和治理稳定的外部企图。华盛顿对事情没有按自己的方式发展感到懊恼,反而向北京证实,其声称的“美国的政策并非以试图改变中国国内治理模式为前提”不过是虚伪的。

北京从未哄骗华盛顿相信它将成为美国所希望的那样

美国的战略报告进一步断言,中国共产党试图重塑有利于自己的国际体系。大错特错。在过去四十年里,是中国重塑了自己以适应国际体系。

中国与国际体系的接轨包括由计划经济向市场经济转变。更重要的是,向西方学习先进的技术和管理重塑了中国。

今天,作为世界第二大经济体的中国完全有理由加强国际体系,即使该体系的大部分规则和制度都是由西方设计的。

因此,即使中国仍然是社会主义国家,也不存在“制度之争”的问题。

具有讽刺意味的是,当中国进一步融入国际体系时,美国正在撤出它主导建立的这一体系。在“美国第一”政策指导下,特朗普政府甚至不愿假装履行其国际义务。

中美关系不是竞争关系,而是“竞合”关系,是合作与竞争的混合体。问题是如何让合作压倒竞争,或者在最坏的情况下,确保竞争不会蔓延成冲突。北京一直呼吁“不冲突、不对抗”,这表明了它在如何管理竞争方面的首选做法。

试想一下:如果北京选择报复性路线,要求华盛顿解除对华为的制裁,停止对使用其5G技术的欧洲国家的威胁,否则将停止向美国出口急需的中国医疗用品,那么还会有多少美国人因新冠肺炎而失去生命?

外交部长王毅在5月下旬指出,中国向美国出口了超过120亿个口罩,相当于美国人均40个口罩。令人遗憾的是,全世界都在期待两国共同带头抗疫,但是美国这个受新冠肺炎影响最严重的国家却一意孤行强化与中国的竞争。

传染病通常为国际合作提供机会,毕竟这是共同的威胁。中美两国曾携手应对2003年爆发的“非典”。2005年9月,两国元首就全球大流行应对问题制定出一套“十项核心原则”,随后得到88个国家和国际机构的支持。2014年,中美科学家还在塞拉利昂的一个中国实验室里并肩工作。2016年,两国在一份谅解备忘录中达成一致,为非洲共同提供公共卫生和疾病控制培训。

目前,中美之间确实存在一种“健康”的竞争:看两个大国谁能生产有效的疫苗并向世界其他国家提供疫苗。目前,五种候选疫苗正在中国进行测试。

习近平主席承诺使中国疫苗成为全球公共产品,并在两年内向疫情严重的国家提供20亿美元的一揽子援助。中国还宣布暂停77个发展中国家的债务偿还。

特朗普希望美国的疫苗能在今年年底前到位,并表示他的目标是尽快将疫苗送到美国人手中。虽然国家领导人理所当然要关照本国公民,但人们担心,在一个供应短缺的世界里,“疫苗民族主义”会爆发。最近有关美国大力垄断抗病毒药物瑞德西韦供应的报道让人不安。

更不用说,特朗普宣布切断与世界卫生组织的联系引发了国际社会的强烈抗议。

冷战后美国的一系列战略失误导致其深陷伊拉克和阿富汗冲突的泥潭,削弱了其国力。但是,没有错误比把中国视为美国的主要战略竞争对手后果更加严重。

人们普遍认为,中国经济将在大约10到15年内超过美国。中国和美国的军事差距正在缩小。美国的任何盟友,至少因为它们与中国的密切经济联系,都不希望在美国与中国摊牌时站在美国一边。与此同时,中国和俄罗斯越走越近,部分原因是两国都被美国视为主要竞争对手。

一去不复返

没有人知道中美关系将来会是什么样子。我们知道的是,即使过去并非晴空万里,我们也再不会回到过去了。

我曾经认为中美脱钩好比抽刀断水,但现在我不太确信了。尽管此刻就断言我们已经进入新冷战还为时过早,但事情确乎朝着这个方向发展。目前北京和华盛顿之间唯一的共同点似乎是希望避免军事冲突。即便如此,美国海军在中国南海高调的航行自由行动也增加了误判的风险。

2015年,比尔•盖茨就警告说,世界面临的最大威胁“不是导弹,而是微生物”。我们此时才知道他多有预见。如果竞争是人性之恶,则没有任何疫苗能预防大国竞争。但是人类的天性中也有所谓的“善良的天使”(译者注:这是美国总统林肯曾用语)在这场愈演愈烈的疫情中,我们应该让后者扬起翅膀,把人性最好的一面展现出来。

(本文英文刊登于新加坡《海峡时报》,翻页阅读原文)

US Headed Down Dangerous Path in its Ties with China

China. China. China. Eyeing the election in November, US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden are vying in a contest to be the bigger China hawk. Being tough on Beijing is now seen as a key test of a presidential candidate’s fitness for office.

The trust between Beijing and Washington today appears even lower than that between Washington and Moscow during the Cold War. At least scientists in the former Soviet Union and the United States were able to collaborate on the development of a polio vaccine.

The hostility from the US is notsimply one of election campaign point-scoring. It finds a place in and is amplified by official strategic policy documents as well.

The “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” released on May 20 starts with disappointment that China’s“rapid economic development and increased engagement with the world did not lead to convergence with the citizen-centric, free and open order as the United States had hoped” and concludes that the US has to prepare for long-term strategic competition between two systems, including a tolerance of greater bilateral friction.

WRONG PREMISE, WRONG CONCLUSION

If the premise of an argument is wrong, the conclusion can hardly be right. Beijing has never coaxedWashington into believing that it will become what the US had hoped for. On the contrary, China has closely guarded against any external attempts to destabilise its social system and governance.Washington’s chagrin that things did not go its way confirms to Beijing that its declaration that “United States policies are not premised on an attempt to change the PRC’s domestic governance model” is but hypocritical.

The US strategic report further asserts that the Chinese Communist Party has attempted to reshape the international system in its favor. No. In the last four decades, China has reshaped itself to adapt to the international system.

China’s integration with the international system includes changing its planned economy into a market economy. What’s more, learning advanced technology and management from the West has remade China.

Today, China, as the world’s second-largest economy, has every reason to strengthen the international system, even if most of the rules and regimes of the system are designed by the West.

Therefore, there is no such thing as competition between “two systems” even if China remains a socialist country.

Ironically, while China becomes further integrated into the international system, the US is moving itself out of the system it was instrumental in creating.Guided by its “America First” policy, the Trump administration doesn’t even pretend to honour its

international obligations.

The China-US relationship is not one of competition, but “copetition”, a mix of cooperation and competition. The question is how to make cooperation prevail over competition or, in the worst-case scenario, ensure that competition doesn’t spill over into conflict. Beijing’s persistent call for “no conflict, no confrontation” illuminates its preferred approach on how this competition should be managed.

Consider this: How many more American lives would have been lost to Covid-19 if Beijing had chosen the retaliatory route and demanded that unless Washington lifted its sanctions against Huawei and stopped threatening European countries from using its 5G technology, it would stop exports of much needed Chinese medical supplies to the US?

Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted in late May that China had exported over 12 billion masks to the US, or roughly 40 for every American. It is sad to see the US, the country worst hit by Covid-19, deciding to intensify its competition with China at a time when the world looks to both countries to lead the fight against the pandemic.

Infectious diseases typically open up opportunities for international cooperation in combating what is after all a common threat. China and the US joined hands in response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in2003. In September 2005, the presidents of both countries worked out a set of “Ten Core Principles” on global pandemic response, which were later supported by 88 nations and international agencies. In 2014,Chinese and American scientists even worked side by side in a Chinese laboratory in Sierra Leone. In 2016, the two countries agreed in a memorandum of understanding to jointly provide public health and disease control training in Africa.

Currently, there is indeed a form of “healthy” China-US competition available: a contest between the two major powers to produce effective vaccine doses and make them also available to the rest of the world. Right now, five candidate vaccines are being tested in China.

President Xi Jinping has promised to make Chinese vaccines a global public good, along with a US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) aid package for pandemic-hit countries within two years. China has also announced the suspension of debt repayments from 77developing countries.

Mr. Trump hopes a vaccine would be in place before the end of the year and has said he aims to get it to Americans as soon as it is available.While looking after one’s citizens is to be expected of national leaders, the worry is that “vaccine nationalism” would kick in in a world short of supplies. Recent reports of US efforts to corner supplies of the antiviral drug remdesivir are not assuring.

Needless to say, Mr.Trump’s announcement of cutting ties with the World Health Organisation provoked an international outcry.

A series of strategic mistakes after the Cold War has led the US to be mired in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, sapping its national strength. But no mistake will be more consequential than taking China on as America’s primary strategic competitor.

The Chinese economy is widely assumed to surpass that of the US in about 10 to 15 years. The gap between the Chinese and American military is closing. No American allies, at least because of their close economic ties with China, wish to take sides with America in a showdown with China. Meanwhile, China and Russia are getting closer, in part because both are deemed by the US as its main competitors.

NO GOING BACK

No one knows what China-US relations might look like in the future. What we do know is that we cannot return to the past even if they were not really good days.

I used to consider China-US decoupling an act akin to pulling capillaries from the body, but I am less convinced now. While it is still premature to argue that we have entered a new cold war, things do seem to be moving in that direction. The only common ground between Beijing and Washington these days seems to be a desire to avoid military conflict. And even then, the US Navy’s high-pitched freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea are raising the risks of miscalculation.

In 2015, Mr. Bill Gates warned that the greatest threat to the world was “not missiles, but microbes”. We know how true it is now. If competition is the bitter angel of human nature, then no vaccine is available for major power competition. But we also have better angels of our nature. In the middle of the ever-raging pandemic, we should let them prevail and bring out the best of who we are.

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周波

周波

国防部国际军事合作办公室安全合作中心主任

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