周波:哪怕美国式微 中国也不需要建立势力范围

原创 Kbet365  2020-11-07 21:11 

导读:中国政府一直强调,坚决捍卫国家主权、安全和发展利益;但无论发展到哪一步,都永不称霸、永不扩张。中国倡导构建人类命运共同体,是和平发展的共同体,是为了避免曾经在历史上发生的悲惨遭遇再次发生。 如今,美国正在举行2020年总统大选,看似混乱不堪、复杂多变,外界也非常关心中美关系的走向、中国的反应及未来世界的局势。 下文为清华大学战略与安全研究中心客座研究院周波对外界某些观点的释疑与回应。

【文/周波,译/中国论坛 许馨匀】

中国强大了就需要势力范围吗?当我读到哈佛大学教授格雷厄姆·艾利森在《外交事务》上发表的文章《新的势力范围》时,我问自己,艾利森教授认为,冷战后整个世界事实上都变成了美国的势力范围,但是现在单极时代结束了,美国必须与中国、俄罗斯等其他大国分享其势力范围。

我想象了一下中国的“势力范围”可能在哪里:不会是在俄罗斯影响力占主导地位的中亚;也不可能是在印度影响力最大的南亚。鉴于东亚与中国的历史和文化渊源,只有东亚看起来最有可能。但是,如果势力范围意味着一国在文化、经济、军事或政治方面拥有一定程度的专属控制权,且其他国家对该国表示臣服,那么东亚其实很难被描述为中国的势力范围。朝鲜不顾中国的反对一意发展核武器;日本、韩国和泰国是美国的盟友;一些东盟成员国,如越南、菲律宾、马来西亚和文莱,则与中国在南海存在领土争端。

上海合作组织以汉语和俄语为官方语言,没有西方成员国,乍一看像是中国和俄罗斯的共同势力范围。但事实证明,上合组织的包容性超出人们的预料。土耳其是北约成员国,同时也是上合组织的对话伙伴。总统埃尔多安甚至请求以正式成员国身份加入该组织。印度和巴基斯坦于2017年成为上合组织的成员国。把这两个宿敌吸收进来可能会带来一些问题,但他们的加入也提高了这个跨欧亚大陆组织的影响力,让这个组织加强了打击困扰该地区的恐怖主义、分裂主义和极端主义三股恶势力的努力。

也许没有什么地方比南海更像是中国的势力范围了,尤其是因为中国的填海造地行动增强了其在南海的实际存在,国际上有不少中国想把该地区变成一个“中国内湖”的说辞。但是,没有任何国际法禁止填海造地,而且其他的一些声索国也这么做了。中国表示,每年大约有10万艘船只通过南海,没有航行自由的问题,中国反对的是以航行自由为名针对沿岸国利益的军事活动。

今年7月17日,美军“尼米兹”号与“里根”号两个航母战斗群重返南海,开展第二次“双航母”演习。图自美国海军

中国政府一再强调,中国即使强大了也不称霸。尽管这在某些人听起来可能像是空口承诺,但这个说法是有历史依据的。中国对东亚大部分地区的影响长达两千年,但这种影响主要是文化上的。郑和七下西洋显示了明代“天朝”横扫天下的强大国威,但中国人并没有在这些地方建立任何军事基地。只是在600年后,中国人民解放军才在吉布提建立了一个后勤基地,以支持在印度洋的反海盗行动。

影响力和势力范围是两回事。今天,中国的影响力同美国几乎难分伯仲, 并将进一步扩大:人们普遍预计,中国的GDP将在10至15年内超过美国,成为世界最大经济体。换句话说,一个全球化的中国,其影响力已无处不在,所以不需要任何势力范围。

这就引出了21世纪最重要的两个问题:世界将如何适应中国的崛起?而中国又能带给世界什么?

中国的“一带一路”倡议可以为第二个问题提供答案。这一倡议雄心勃勃,但不是《经济学人》所断言的那样是中国新秩序的镀金工具。这不是慈善——中国投资是为了互利;这也不是债务陷阱——谁会花费数万亿美元来设置这样一个超大陷阱?这个宏伟计划可能需要几代人才能完成,但这些具体项目正在日复一日地改善“一带一路”沿线发展中国家的经济状况。

与艾利森教授的建议相反,美国最不希望的是将任何势力范围拱手让给中国这个“大国竞争新时代”的主要竞争对手。在东亚地区,北京和华盛顿的影响力交织重叠,如何共存是一大挑战。美国怀疑中国试图将其从该地区赶出去,因此在台湾海峡和南海海域加大挑衅力度,这是在考验日益强大的中国人民解放军的耐心。

温斯顿·丘吉尔说过一句俏皮话:“只有一件事比与盟友并肩战斗更糟糕,那就是在没有盟友的情况下作战”。不见得。 在东亚,美国的盟友们已绷紧神经,在美国和他们最大的贸易伙伴(中国)之间如履薄冰。到目前为止,他们中还没有一个加入美国海军在中国南海岛礁12海里以内的航行自由行动。

在从日本延伸到菲律宾再到南海的第一岛链内,美国无法保证能在与中国的军事冲突中一定获胜,而一旦输了,后果非同小可:美国将失去在该地区盟友和伙伴中的威望和信誉,联盟会分崩离析,美国可能不得不打道回府。从这个意义上说,只有美国自己才能把自己赶出西太平洋。

艾利森教授的结论有一点是正确的,即其他国家会心甘情愿、按部就班地生活在美国主导的国际秩序中的错觉该结束了。就算这意味着当今世界确实存在各种势力范围,中国也应该保持小心、远离它们。这些所谓的势力范围,不是中国该去填补的权力真空,而更像是充满危险的陷阱。

(文章首发2020年11月6日南华早报;翻页查看英文原文。)

Does a stronger China need a sphere of influence? I asked myself this question when I came across the article, “The New Spheres of Influence”, in Foreign Affairs by Harvard professor Graham Allison. Allison argues that, after the Cold War, the entire world became a de facto American sphere. But now the unipolarity is over. The United States must share its spheres of influence with other great powers such as China and Russia.

I imagine for a moment where a Chinese “sphere of influence” might be. Not in Central Asia, where Russia’s influence is dominant. Not in South Asia, where India’s influence is paramount. Only East Asia looks likely, given its historical and cultural ties with China.

But, if a sphere of influence means a state has a level of exclusive control in cultural, economic, military or political matters, to which other states show deference, East Asia can hardly be described as China’s sphere of influence.

North Korea has developed nuclear weapons despite China’s disapproval. Japan, South Korea and Thailand are American allies. Some member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

With Chinese and Russian as its official languages, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which has no Western members, might look like a joint sphere of influence for China and Russia. But it has proven more inclusive than anticipated. Turkey, a Nato member, is a dialogue partner of the SCO. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had even asked to join the organisation as a full member.

India and Pakistan became member states in 2017. The inclusion of two long-time arch-rivals could bring problems, but their membership also increases the influence of the organisation, which straddles the Eurasia continent, and strengthens efforts to tackle the so-called “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism that have plagued the region.

Perhaps nowhere looks more like China’s sphere of influence than the South China Sea. Much has been said about how China is turning the region into a “Chinese lake”, especially as its land reclamation has enhanced its physical presence there.

But no international laws prohibit land reclamation, and some other claimants have done the same. China maintains that around 100,000 ships transit through the South China Sea every year without freedom of navigation problems. What China opposes are military activities against the interests of the littoral states in the name of freedom of navigation.

The Chinese government has repeatedly stressed that China would not seek to be a hegemon even if it became developed. Although this might sound like lip service to some, its assertion is backed by history. For 2,000 years, much of East Asia was part of the Chinese sphere of influence, but that influence was primarily cultural.

Admiral Zheng He’s seven voyages in the Indian Ocean showed the sweeping power of the “Celestial Empire” in the Ming dynasty, but the Chinese didn’t bother establishing a single military base in any of these places. It was only 600 years later that the People’s Liberation Army established a logistics base there in support of counter-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean.

Influence and a sphere of influence are two different things. Today, China’s influence almost overlaps with that of the United States. Such influence will grow further since China is widely expected to surpass the US to become the world’s largest economy in terms of gross domestic product in 10 to 15 years. In other words, a global China that is already influential enough doesn’t need any spheres of influence.

This then invites two most important questions for the 21st century: how will the world accommodate China’s rise? And, what can China bring to the world?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative might provide an answer to the second question. The initiative is ambitious, but it is not a gilded instrument of a new Chinese order, as The Economist asserted. It is not charity – China invests for mutual benefit. Neither is it a “debt trap” – who would spend trillions of dollars to lay such a mega trap? Any such grand scheme might take generations to finish. But the projects are, day by day, changing the economic landscape of the developing countries along the belt and road for the better.

Contrary to Allison’s suggestions, the last thing the US wants is to cede any sphere of influence to China, its primary competitor in what it sees as a new era of great-power competition. In East Asia, the challenge is how Beijing and Washington, with their overlapping influence, could coexist.

The US suspects China is trying to drive it out of the region. It has stepped up its provocations in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, which risk testing the patience of a PLA growing ever stronger.

Winston Churchill once famously quipped: “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” Not really. In East Asia, America’s allies are steeling themselves and tiptoeing between their ally and their top trading partner. So far, none has joined the US Navy on its freedom of navigation operations in the 12-nautical-mile waters off Chinese rocks and islands in the South China Sea.

There is no guarantee the US could win in a military conflict with China in the first chain of islands stretching from Japan to the Philippines and the South China Sea. But should it lose, the consequence is not moot: it would lose prestige and credibility among its allies and partners in the region. The alliance would fall apart and it may have to go home. In that sense, only the United States can displace the United States in the Western Pacific.

Allison is right to conclude the illusion that other nations will simply take their assigned place in a US-led international order is over. But even if that means there are indeed spheres of influence in the world today, China should beware and stay away from them. They look more like perilous traps than power vacuums awaiting China.

(Senior Colonel Zhou Bo (retired) is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Security and Strategy, Tsingha University, and a China Forum expert)

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