周波:马克龙声称北约已经“脑死亡”,但它现在看起来更像 “活僵尸”

来源:观察者网

2022-07-31 09:10

周波

周波作者

清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员、中国论坛特约专家

【导读】 “脑死亡”的北约因为乌克兰危机复活了吗?美国在亚太的咄咄逼人是否会催生亚洲版北约?清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员、中国论坛特约专家周波7月27日在《南华早报》发表评论文章认为,北约现在看起来更像“活僵尸”,瑞典和芬兰加入北约之日,很可能就是跨大西洋联盟的扩张终结之时。只要西方继续衰落,北约必然式微。

【文/观察者网专栏作者 周波  翻译/中国论坛 程泽笠】

在音乐会上,当观众听到歌手唱到最高音时,他们知道这首歌可能已临近尾声。北约的未来亦大抵如此:在不久的将来,瑞典和芬兰加入北约之日,很可能就是由32个成员组成的跨大西洋联盟的扩张终结之时。

在其他三个北约候选国中,格鲁吉亚和乌克兰申请加入,已遭到俄罗斯的战争报复,因此似已无可能。如果波黑继续采取行动加入北约,莫斯科是否会如它警告的那样做出反应,尚待观察,在目睹乌克兰所发生的冲突后,北约可能也会三思而行。

在欧洲,冷战从未随着苏联的解体而真正结束。乌克兰战场不过是北约和俄罗斯之间继续争夺势力范围的一个擂台而已。

俄罗斯有合法的势力范围吗?如果莫斯科认为有,并愿意为之而战,那么它就有。回顾1962年苏联在美国家门口放置导弹,美国是如何反应的就很容易理解了。古巴导弹危机曾将世界推向全面核战争爆发的边缘。

军事联盟靠“威胁”生存。如果他们找不到威胁,就会自己制造威胁。但是,北约这样的庞然大物要想生存下去,就需要不断扩张。

北约寻找威胁的例子可以从 1999 年科索沃战争期间对贝尔格莱德的 78 天轰炸中看到。同样,在 2011 年北约领导的联军针对利比亚及其统治者卡扎菲的行动中也可以看到这一点。该行动导致卡扎菲下台,利比亚陷入内战的深渊。

然而,没有什么威胁比“俄罗斯威胁”更大,更有用。俄罗斯不是苏联,但谁最像苏联?只有俄罗斯。戈尔巴乔夫和叶利钦都对俄罗斯加入北约表示过兴趣,但不出所料,他们都被拒绝了。俄罗斯加入北约只会让联盟失去存在的意义,并从内部瓦解北约。

乌克兰战争增强了北约的团结,但只是一时的。相反,它很可能成为这个联盟最终解体的一个转折点。出于对俄罗斯的恐惧,北约中更多欧洲国家会增加国防开支,从而加强欧洲的战略自主,减少对华盛顿的依赖。

德国是一个典型的例子。俄乌冲突前,这个欧洲最富有的国家的国防开支一直低于其国内生产总值的2%,而这本是北约成员国的义务。但在2月,德国总理朔尔茨宣布从今往后每年的国防开支将超过2%的国内生产总值。像魔术师突然从帽子里变出一只兔子一样,他宣布为德国武装部队设立1000亿欧元(约合1021亿美元)的基金。

一旦欧洲战略自主,美国就可以把欧洲留给欧洲人,从而聚焦于中国,因为美国认为中国是比俄罗斯更大的长期威胁。对美国而言,理想状态是北约聚焦于欧洲的集体防御,同时,欧洲盟友支持美国在印太地区遏制中国。

这是白日做梦。迄今为止,英国、法国和德国除了以航行自由的名义在南海象征性地进行了几次航行外,并没有什么大动作。尽管北约在6月的峰会上首次将中国定性为“系统性挑战”,但并没有刻意将中国描述为“威胁”。

对美国的欧洲盟友来说,过于关注中国有可能使北约忽略俄罗斯这个真正的威胁。中国和北约彼此相距太远。很难想象有朝一日中国会派兵与一个欧洲国家开战。同样,也很难想象北约会出兵参与台海的潜在冲突。

尽管北约首次邀请日本、韩国、澳大利亚和新西兰的非北约盟国领导人出席今年的峰会,但“亚洲版北约”不大可能形成气候。在印太地区,即使是美国最亲密的盟友,也不希望被视为反华俱乐部的一员。

事实上,历史上的东南亚条约组织就是亚洲版北约的一次尝试。该组织成立于1954年,被詹姆斯-凯布尔爵士(注:凯布尔 ( 1920 - 2001) 是英国外交官和海军战略家)描述为 “美国政策赤裸裸的遮羞布”,其成立目的主要是为了阻止共产主义在东南亚的进一步发展,但它只存在了大约二十年。今天,东盟已是中国的最大贸易伙伴。

只有当中国和俄罗斯结盟,北约才可能会在一场新的冷战中满血复活。但从乌克兰冲突来看,没有证据表明中俄会结盟。北京已经小心翼翼地在战略伙伴俄罗斯和乌克兰之间取得了平衡,后者视中国为最大贸易伙伴之一。

中国精心维持的中立立场可能并非欧洲想要的,但对于那些担心中俄联盟的欧洲人来说,这应该是可以被接受的。中国没有向俄罗斯提供军事援助应该让他们长舒了一口气。

如果小国为了自卫而抱团可以理解。但如果地球上最大的军事联盟希望不断扩张,那就不是为了防卫,而是要用大棒将自己的价值观强加于人。没有一个联盟会千年不倒。只要西方国家继续衰落,北约必然式微。法国总统马克龙曾宣称北约已经“脑死亡”,但它现在看起来也许更像是一具仍在行走的活僵尸。

本文英文全文:

When the audience at a concert hear a singer hitting the highest note, they know the song is probably coming to an end. And Nato’s future will be much the same: when Sweden and Finland join  – a sure thing in the near future, the 32-member transatlantic alliance might have reached the end of its expansion.  

Of the other three candidates on the waiting list for Nato membership, Georgia and Ukraine’s requests appear doomed by Russia’s warring response. It remains to be seen if Moscow would react as it has warned if Bosnia and Herzegovina takes steps towards joining Nato, but the alliance might also think twice after seeing what has occurred in Ukraine.  

The cold war in Europe has never really ended with the fall of the Soviet Union. The battlefield in Ukraine is but a stage of continued rivalry for sphere of influence between Nato and Russia.

Does Russia have a legitimate sphere of influence? If Moscow believes there is one, and would fight for it, then it does. This is easy to understand if one thinks of how the United States reacted when the Soviet Union placed missiles at its  doorstep in 1962. The Cuban missile crisis brought the world close to the brink of an all-out nuclear war.  

Military alliances survive on “threats”. If they fail to find one, they will create one. But for a juggernaut such as Nato to survive, it needs to constantly expand.  

Examples of Nato seeking out threats can be seen in the 78-day bombing of Belgrade in 1999 during the war in Kosovo. It can also be seen in the 2011 operation by a Nato-led coalition against Libya and its ruler Muammar Gaddafi. The operation led to Gaddafi’s ousting and the country was plunged into the depths of civil war.  

But no threat is bigger and more useful than a “Russia threat”. Yes, Russia is not the Soviet Union, but who looks most like the Soviet Union? Only Russia. Both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin expressed interests in Nato membership for Russia, but unsurprisingly they were rejected. Russia’s membership in Nato would render the alliance meaningless and dissolve it from the inside.

The war in Ukraine has strengthened the solidarity of Nato, but only for a while. Instead, it might well become a turning point in the eventual disintegration of the alliance. Out of fear of Russia, more European countries in Nato will most certainly increase their defence spending. This will add to Europe’s strategic autonomy from Washington.  

A typical example is Germany. Before the war in Ukraine, the richest country in Europe has consistently spent less than 2 per cent of its GDP on defence, which is an obligation for Nato members. But in February, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany would spend more than 2 per cent of GDP on defence every year. Like a magician who suddenly pulls a rabbit out of their hat, he announced a €100 billion (US$102.1 billion) fund for the armed forces.  

Europe's strategic autonomy would allow the US to leave Europe to the Europeans so it can focus on China, which it perceives to be a greater long-term threat than Russia. For Washington, an ideal situation is one where Nato stays focused mainly on collective defence in Europe while at the same time European allies support the US in containing China in the Indo-Pacific.  

This is a daydream. So far, Britain, France and Germany have not done much beyond a few symbolic sailings through the South China Sea in the name of freedom of navigation. Although China was identified as a “systemic challenge” for the first time at the Nato summit in June, Nato has yet to explicitly describe China as a “threat”.  

For European allies of the US, too much focus on China risks diverting the alliance from the real threat: Russia. China and Nato are too far away from each other. It's inconceivable that China would one day send troops to fight against a European country. Likewise, it's hard to imagine that Nato would get directly involved  in a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait.  

Even though Nato invited leaders from non-allied partners Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand to attend this year’s summit for the first time, an “Asian Nato” is unlikely to take shape. In the Indo-Pacific,  even the closest ally of the US might not wish to be seen as a member of the anti-China club.  

An Asian Nato has already been tried once in the form of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. Founded in 1954 and described by Sir James Cable as "a fig leaf for the nakedness of American policy", it was primarily created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia, but it was only in existence for about two decades. Today, ASEAN is China’s largest trading partner.  

Only if China and Russia become allies can Nato thrive in a new cold war. But there is no evidence of a Sino-Russian alliance if one watches through the prism of the conflict in Ukraine. Beijing has managed, however painstakingly, to strike a balance between its strategic partner Russia and Ukraine, which has China as one of its largest trading partners.  

China’s carefully calibrated neutrality might not be what Europe wants, but it should be acceptable to Europeans who are nervous about a potential Sino-Russian alliance. The fact that China hasn’t provided military assistance to Russia should be a relief.  

If small nations get together for self-defence, it is understandable. But if the largest alliance on earth wishes to expand, it is not about defence but enforcing its own values on others with a big stick. No alliance will last forever. As long as the West continues to decline though, Nato will be on the wane. French President Emmanuel Macron called Nato “brain dead”, but perhaps it looks more like a zombie that is still walking. 

本文系观察者网独家稿件,文章内容纯属作者个人观点,不代表平台观点,未经授权,不得转载,否则将追究法律责任。关注观察者网微信guanchacn,每日阅读趣味文章。

责任编辑:戴苏越
北约 欧洲
观察者APP,更好阅读体验

作者最近文章

07月31日 09:10

被称为“脑死亡”的北约,因为乌克兰危机复活了?

06月24日 08:57

中国统一决心不变,美国“模糊”或“清晰”都行不通

风闻24小时最热

网友推荐最新闻

滞留三亚后,他们行动起来了

东部战区今天继续:重点组织联合封控和保障行动

美军方放话:不会上中方“圈套”,数周内穿行台湾海峡

拜登签署2800亿美元“芯片法案”,与中国竞争

美媒发现亚太盟友集体沉默:佩洛西这次做得太过火

滞留三亚:焦虑过后,他们行动起来了

东部战区今天继续:重点组织联合封控和保障行动

美军方放话:不会上中方“圈套”,数周内穿行台湾海峡