周波:所谓“美国领导的自由国际秩序”是子虚乌有,世界之美在于丰富多样

来源:观察者网

2022-11-10 07:52

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】 11月8日,《南华早报》刊登了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的评论文章“China’s growing global links show there is no such thing as a US-led international order(中国的全球联系进一步表明,所谓美国领导的“自由国际秩序”是子虚乌有)”。文章指出,所谓的 “自由国际秩序”对于现实世界缺乏解释力,中国与日俱增的国际影响力及日益增强的全球联系揭示,一种新的多元国际秩序正在孕育。中国论坛特此翻译并首发中文版,以飨读者。

【文/周波 译/中国论坛 孙一苇 核译/许馨匀、韩桦】

中国和美国是否正处于不可避免的相撞轨道上?把美国总统拜登10月12日发布的《国家安全战略》与四天后习近平总书记在中国共产党第二十次全国代表大会上所作的报告进行比较,人们可能会有这样的疑问。

拜登总统断言,中国不仅有重塑国际秩序的意图,而且日益有能力将之付诸实践,他还放言要“胜过”中国。习近平总书记未点名美国,但他警示说,前进道路上“风高浪急甚至惊涛骇浪”,并明确指出,全党同志务必敢于斗争,善于斗争。

由于美国一意孤行想在各条战线上进行竞争,华盛顿与北京在诸如气候变化等问题上合作的提议,似乎是茫茫大海中的一个小岛。拜登说对了一件事:未来十年将是决定性的十年。

即使所有迹象都表明北京和华盛顿之间的竞争接下来会变得更加激烈,但是结果已经大致清楚。按购买力平价计算的国内生产总值(GDP),中国在2013年就超过了美国。

尽管放缓的增长抑制了对中国经济在2030年前跃居为全球最大经济体的预期,但很大的可能性是,中美差距将持续缩小,最终双方在不同领域各有领先,达成某种平衡。

竞争更多关乎心态。当拜登谈论国际秩序时,他实际上是在说他此前所称的“自由国际秩序”,其中美国的领导地位被视作理所当然。但这种秩序在世界上并不存在。

诚然,许多规则、制度,甚至像国际货币基金组织和世界银行这样的机构都是西方在二战后量身打造的,但仅仅这些并不能定义一个由风起云涌的非洲独立运动、冷战、苏联解体和中国崛起等重大事件塑造的体系。

从本质上来说,国际秩序包括不同的宗教、文化、习俗、民族特性和社会制度,其中一些可能已经存续千年之久。国际秩序还受到全球化、气候变化、大流行病和核扩散的影响。

事实上,看似最接近自由国际秩序的时期是苏联解体后的15年左右,当时中国还没有完全崛起。然而这在人类历史上不过是弹指一挥间。

中国正在挑战美国领导下的“自由国际秩序”(作者供图)

如果没有自由国际秩序,就不会有“民主与专制”的简单二分法。根据《经济学人》智库发布的2021年“民主指数”,在总共167个国家和地区中,只有21个被认为是完全的“民主国家”,占世界人口的6.4%。如果“自由民主”模式站在道德的制高点上,那怎么解释为什么它在全球都出现衰退呢?

“自由国际秩序”不能解释为什么像印度这样的民主国家被认为变得越来越专制;不能解释为什么由中国和俄罗斯这两个所谓“威权国家”领导的上海合作组织正在发展壮大,甚至吸引了土耳其这个北约国家;不能解释为什么美国前总统特朗普煽动暴民占领美国民主的最高殿堂国会山;不能解释为什么中国在保有自己的社会制度的同时,已经与世界其他地区紧密相连。

北京和华盛顿之间的真正竞争,不是如何在国内胜过对方,而是如何在其他地方赢得民心。在美国正集结力量的印度—太平洋地区,日本和澳大利亚乍一看像是美国的铁杆盟友。

但现在就断定它们会对美国俯首帖耳、与它们最大的贸易伙伴作对,还为时过早。在东南亚,各国担心不得不在两个巨头之间选边站队。虽然中印关系在两年前的边境冲突后仍在低谷,但2021年的双边贸易额创下了1256亿美元的历史新高。

在非洲和拉丁美洲,中国的快速发展激励人心。公众对中国的区域经济和政治影响力的态度基本上是积极的,部分原因是中国有一些独特的经验可资借鉴——如何在40年内使8亿人脱贫。这些经验应该比西方空洞的道德说教更有用。

仍然不太确定的是中欧关系。但即使欧盟将中国列为“系统性对手”,只要中国和俄罗斯不结盟,台湾海峡不发生冲突,中欧关系大体上仍会保持稳定。此外,乌克兰冲突将加速全球重心向亚太地区转移。因此,欧洲将愈加转向东方。

冷战的一个很好的教训是,即使是敌人有时也可以合作。中国和美国还不是敌人。而竞争对手要想不成为敌人,需要的是回归常识——无论我们有多么不同,我们必须共存。人们看一眼花园,就会意识到,世界之美在于丰富多样。

原文:

China’s growing global links show there is no such thing as a US-led international order

Are China and the US on an inevitable collision course? One may wonder this when comparing the National Security Strategy issued by American President Joe Biden on October 12 with the report of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party delivered by President Xi Jinping four days later.

President Biden asserted that China harbours the intention and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order and vowed to “outcompete” China. Without naming the US, President Xi Jinping warned of “high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms” on the journey ahead and made it clear that China has the courage and ability to carry on its fight.

With the US hell-bent on competition on all fronts, Washington’s offer to cooperate with Beijing on issues such as climate change appears as a tiny isle in a vast ocean. Biden is right about one thing: the next 10 years will be the decisive decade.

But even if all signs point to competition between Beijing and Washington becoming fiercer down the road, the outcome is very much known already. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) in PPP terms overtook that of the US in 2013.

Although slow growth has dampened expectations that the Chinese economy will be the largest by the end of the decade, the high probability is that the gap between the US and China will continue to shrink until a kind of balance is achieved, with each leading in different areas.

Competition is more about mentality. When Biden talks about the international order, he is actually talking about what he has previously referred to as the “liberal world order”, in which America’s leadership is taken for granted. There is no such order in the world.

True, many rules, regimes and even institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank were tailor-made by the West after World War II, but these alone do not define a system shaped by major events such as the independence movements in Africa, the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of China, to name just a few.

Intrinsically, the international order comprises different religions, cultures, customs, national identities and social systems. Some of them may have survived over a millennium. It is also affected by globalisation, climate change, pandemics and nuclear proliferation.

In fact, the period that looks at best like a liberal international order is the 15 years or so after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when China had yet to rise fully. This is but a blink of an eye in human history.

If there is no liberal international order, there can be no simplistic dichotomy of “democracy vs autocracy”. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2021, just 21 territories out of a total of 167 were deemed to be full democracies, representing 6.4 per cent of the world’s population. If the liberal democratic model stands on a moral high ground, this does not explain why there is a global decline in democracy.

It does not explain why a democracy like India is considered increasingly authoritarian. It does not explain why the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation led by China and Russia – two “authoritarian states” – is growing and has even attracted Türkiye, a Nato country. It does not explain why former American president Donald Trump instigated mobs to take over Capitol Hill, the highest seat of American democracy. It does not explain why China, while preserving its own social system, has become integrated with the rest of the world.

今年9月,土耳其等国领导人出席上合成员国元首理事会会议(图源:Dawn)

The real competition between Beijing and Washington is not how to outperform each other at home, but to win the hearts and minds of people elsewhere. In the Indo-Pacific, where the US is rallying forces, Japan and Australia look like diehard American allies at first glimpse.

But it is premature to conclude they will follow the US willy-nilly in going against their largest trading partner. In Southeast Asia, countries fear having to take sides between the two giants. Although Sino-India relations are still frosty following a border clash two years ago, bilateral trade hit a record high of US$125.6 billion in 2021.

In Africa and Latin America, China’s fast-paced development makes it an inspiration. Public sentiment towards China’s regional economic and political influence is largely positive, in part because China has some unique lessons to teach on how it lifted 800 million people out of poverty in 40 years. These lessons should be more useful than hollow Western moralising.

What remains uncertain is China’s relationship with Europe. But even if the EU makes China a “systemic rival”, it seems likely that, so long as China and Russia don’t form an alliance and there is no conflict in the Taiwan Strait, the China-European relationship will by and large remain stable. Moreover, the conflict in Ukraine will expedite the shift of the global centre of gravity to the Asia-Pacific. As a result, Europe will look increasingly more to the East.

A good lesson from the Cold War is that even enemies can cooperate sometimes. China and the US are not enemies yet. And for competitors to not become enemies, they just need the common sense to know that however different we are, we must coexist. One only needs to look at a garden to know the beauty of the world lies in diversity.


Senior Colonel Zhou Bo (ret) is a senior fellow of the Centre for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University and a China Forum expert.

This article was first published on South China Morning Post on Nov. 8, 2022.


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