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[阅读] 经济学人:By fits and starts中美过招

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发表于 2010-2-9 15:25 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
America and China
中美关系                        参考翻译

By fits and starts
中美过招


As China and America square off in the latest round of recriminations, how bad are relations really?
唇枪舌剑无相让   中美嫌隙深几何

Feb 4th 2010 | BEIJING AND WASHINGTON, DC | From The Economist print edition


IT IS probably the most important relationship of today’s world, and even more of tomorrow’s. If the United States and China cannot co-operate, what hope of stemming climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons, or returning the global economy to a path of stable growth? Over the past decade, the established superpower and the rising one have rubbed along reasonably well; relations with China are, by common consent, one of the few things George Bush junior got mostly right. But under Barack Obama, after a cordial start, slights have been building up for a while. The past week has produced a sharp reminder of how sensitive the relationship can be—and how quickly it might spin out of control.

中美关系可谓是当今也是未来世界上最为重要的双边关系。如果中美不合作,那减缓气候变化、阻止核扩散和促成全球经济重回健康轨道等愿望,就难以实现。回望(中美)过去十年,这对老牌强国和后起之秀之间,虽有摩擦,但相安无事。小布什固然没干几件漂亮的事,但是中美关系的得当处理却被普遍认可。但是奥巴马当政后,中美关系才刚开了个好头,双方就开始相互怠慢。过去的一周带给我们一个警示——中美关系多么的“牵一发而动全身”,多么的容易顷刻变得不可收拾。

The issue, as so often in the past, was Taiwan, and in particular America’s promise to defend the island republic from the Communist mainland, which continues to claim sovereignty over it. America’s Congress has embodied this commitment in law: the United States is obliged under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 to provide the island with the arms it needs to defend itself. On January 29th the Obama administration gave Congress notice of more than $6 billion-worth of arms sales it had determined to be necessary for Taiwan’s defence. These included some sophisticated weaponry, including Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Black Hawk helicopters.

一如既往,焦点是台湾,特别是美国保护台湾不受红色中国大陆(大陆坚对台湾的拥有主权)威胁的承诺。美国国会将这个承诺写进了法律:1979年立定的《台湾关系法》规定,美国有责任向台湾岛提供防御武器。1月29日,奥巴马政府将60余亿美元的对台武器销售计划通知了国会,认为这对台湾的防御能力有必要。其中包括一些尖端武器,例如“鱼叉”反舰导弹和“黑鹰”直升机。

China promptly had a fit. It summoned America’s ambassador and scolded him for this interference in China’s “internal affairs”. It announced that it would cut some of the recently strengthening ties between the armed forces of the two countries. And it threatened to impose commercial sanctions on the American firms whose weapons might be sold to Taiwan, cutting them out of China’s own market. This looks like a highly uncomfortable collision between the two big powers. How worried should the rest of the world be?

中国脸色马上晴转多云。召见美国驻华大使,痛诉这场对中国“内政”的干涉。发表声明,切断两国间刚有起色的军事联系。直指参与对台军售企业,威胁通过商业制裁将其赶出中国市场。色怒言疾,干戈大动。中美一声吼,世界是否应该抖三抖?

To answer that question, it is necessary to look behind the show. China is rather prone to having fits, or at least at seeming to have them. But in fact Chinese officials would not have been in the least surprised by Mr Obama’s decision to sell these weapons to Taiwan. American officials have long insisted, for public consumption at least, that they do not consult China about such sales. Nonetheless James Jones, Mr Obama’s national security adviser, said on the same day as the announcement that America would consult China “in a transparent way” on the issue. Officials later clarified that he had meant notify, rather than consult. But since big elements of the package had been agreed on by Mr Bush (and delayed by political wrangling in Taiwan and haggling between Taiwan and America), China has had plenty of time to brace itself and plan its response.

欲知其解,对事件我们得先知其然,知其所以然。中国特别容易生气,至少看上去是。但事实上,奥巴马要卖武器给台湾,中国政府压根儿不应该觉得惊讶。美国政府一直就强调(至少为了摆出样子来给公共舆论界看),不会在武器销售问题上征求中国的意见。然而,奥巴马的国家安全顾问詹姆斯.琼斯却在公布售台武器计划同一天说到,美国会就此“明确的”征求中国意见。后来有官员澄清道,他想说的不是征求意见,而是通知结果。但是既然售台武器中很大一部分是在布什手上通过的(后来因为台湾政治混战和台美讨价还价而推迟),中国应该有大把的时间做好心理准备、斟酌如何反应。

Though they naturally did not say so, the Chinese were no doubt pleased that Mr Bush’s unfulfilled offer to equip Taiwan with submarines was not taken up by Mr Obama. The package did include 60 Black Hawk helicopters, which Mr Bush had not approved, but these will hardly intimidate China. Taiwan did not get the new F-16 fighter planes it has long requested. The last time America agreed to sell Taiwan F-16s (a less advanced version than Taiwan is now angling for) was in 1992 when the first George Bush was president. That did enrage China, but its reaction then was tempered by a sense of vulnerability after the collapse of communism in Europe. Now, in response to a less threatening list of weapons, it is feeling less restrained.

就算嘴上不说,布什丢下的售台潜艇一案,奥巴马没有捡起,中国的欢喜还是显而易见的。售台武器方案中列有布什之前未批准的60架“黑鹰”直升机,但是它们几乎吓唬不了中国。虽然梦寐以求,台湾仍没能盼到新一代F-16战斗机。美国最近一次把F-16(比目前台湾谋求的机型配置低一些)销售给台湾是在1992年,老布什在任的时候。那一次中国真的动怒了。但是因为东欧剧变后,中国有腹背受敌之感,并未作出激烈反应。这回,对一张没那么吓唬人的武器清单做出反应时,中国不像以前那么前怕狼后怕虎了。

Even so, its reaction this time has not alarmed the China-watchers in Washington, DC—not so far, at least. A senior administration official said the response had been “pretty much as expected” and consistent with previous episodes. China commonly responds to American arms sales to Taiwan by suspending military dialogue. After the F-16 sale, it also withdrew from UN talks on arms control. But the importance of preserving its relationship with America has always been paramount. China knew when it established diplomatic ties with America in 1979 that arms sales would continue.

即便如此,中国此次反应并没有让华盛顿的中国观察员感到紧张,至少到目前如此。一名高级政府官员说,反应“意料之中”,与以往如出一辙。美国售台武器,中国常用对策是暂停军方对话。F-16卖给台湾后,中国还退出了联合国武器控制会谈。但是维持中美关系的重要性,至始至终不容忽视。1979年中美正式确立外交关系之时,中国知道,武器销售将会继续。

In effect it acknowledged this in a joint communiqué issued in 1982 under Ronald Reagan, in which America pledged non-committally “gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution.” Both countries promised to make efforts to create conditions “conducive” to this. As officials in America and Taiwan see it, China’s massive deployment of missiles and other offensive weaponry on its coast facing Taiwan since the late 1990s is far from conducive to an end to American arms sales. China’s arms build-up has continued since the inauguration in May 2008 of a more China-friendly president in Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, and despite a rapid improvement in cross-strait political ties.

事实上,1982年,里根总统当政期间的一份联合公报中,中国就承认了这一点。该公报中,美国含糊的承诺“逐渐减少对台武器销售,并在一段时期后,达成最终解决方案。”两国承诺将共同努力,为此创造“有利”条件。美国和台湾的官员认为,中国自上世纪90年代末以来,在临近台湾的海岸部署大量导弹和其他进攻性武器,完全无助于结束美国军售。自2008年5月,对中国较友好的马英九继任台湾领导人职务以来,中国武器扩张一直持续,还别说台海两岸政治局势在迅速改善。

As Chinese officials see it, however, the world has dramatically changed since the early 1990s when the first President Bush sold the F-16s, and again since 2001 when his son first offered Taiwan another huge array of weapons, including the submarines. America’s weaknesses, they feel, have become particularly apparent since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007. China, they believe, has continued to grow stronger. The global balance of power, argue many Chinese scholars, is shifting in China’s favour. China can afford to flex more of the muscle amassed by its double-digit annual increase in defence spending over most of the past two decades.

然而,在中国领导看来,世界已经大不同。第一次巨变始于上世纪90年代早期,当时老布什卖给了台湾f-16战斗机。第二次从2001年算起,当时小布什(老布什的儿子)再一次向台湾提供了大量武器,其中包括潜水艇。他们感觉,2007金融危机爆发后,美国的弱点越来越明显。而中国,他们相信,正在变的强大。很多中国学者认为,世界力量的对比正在朝着有利于中国的方向转变。过去的20年里,中国的国防开支大部分时间都是以两位数的速度增长,中国有这个能力秀两下拳脚。

All the same, China is hardly likely now to stage a repeat of the sabre-rattling, including unarmed missile firings close to Taiwan, that brought it perilously close to war with Taiwan and America in the mid-1990s. That crisis was fuelled by what China saw as separatist statements by Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, including those he uttered on a private visit to America in 1995. China was unnerved too by the approach of Taiwan’s first direct presidential elections in 1996, and wanted to deter voters from supporting Mr Lee or other China-sceptical candidates. The health of Deng Xiaoping, China’s semi-retired elder statesman, was failing and his successor, Jiang Zemin, wanted to prove himself.

尽管如此,中国不大可能再像上世纪90年代中期那样箭拔弩张(比如向台湾发射无弹头导弹),这险些把中国卷入对台美作战的漩涡中。那次危机的导火索是台湾领导人李登辉的分裂主义言论,这包括他1995年私人访美之行期间发表的。加上1996年台湾第一次领导人直选的临近,中国变得坐立不安,并希望能阻止选民将选票投给李登辉或其他不信任中国的候选人。中国半退休状态的老领导邓小平,身体每况愈下;他的继任者江泽民,期待一展才华。

China’s relations with Taiwan have thawed massively after a dozen years of frostiness following the standoff. Having seen the strength of American resolve in 1996, with the sending of two aircraft-carrier battle groups close to Taiwan, it is probably not anxious to test it again—even though its own deployment of missiles and submarines could make American carriers more wary.

台海关系先是隔海而立僵持不下,后是二十余载冷若冰霜。现在算是春回地暖、冰雪初融。1996年,美国曾向台湾派过两个航空母舰战斗群,其决心之大昭然可见。中国这会儿应该不会急于再摸一把老虎屁股--虽然其导弹和潜艇部署能让美国航母不敢马虎大意。


Was Obama “pushing back”?
奥巴马是在“回脸色”?


If China’s fit of indignation was largely for show, what was Mr Obama’s motivation in announcing the Taiwan arms sales right now? One school of thought has it that the American president, beset by domestic troubles, decided at last to “push back” against a China that had been insufficiently responsive and on occasions downright hostile to his first-year charm offensive.

如果说中国的满脸怒色是为了做给你看,那奥巴马选择在当下宣布对台军售又是出于什么考虑呢?有一派观点认为,由于中国对自己新官上任的魅力攻势有些漫不经心、爱理不理并且偶尔不买账,加之为了国内事务憋了一肚子苦水,奥巴马终于决定给中国“回个脸色”。

The Americans certainly feel they have cause for complaint and concern. The strength of China’s rhetoric over Taiwan suggests that relations are changing in what could prove a worrisome way. In recent months China’s leaders have become more prickly in their dealings with the outside world. Signs of this have included sending a relatively junior official to negotiate with Mr Obama during the climate-change summit in Copenhagen; the sentencing of a prominent dissident to an unusually lengthy jail term in December; the execution that month of a supposedly mentally ill British drug-dealer despite appeals from the British prime minister; China’s more robust position in territorial disputes with its neighbours, and an unwillingness to back sanctions on Iran.

美国自然有哭诉的理由。中国在台湾问题上严厉的外交辞令意味着,中美关系的走向令人担忧。数月来,中国领导人在外事的处理上变得越来越带刺。代表性事件有:在哥本哈根气候变化大会上,被派出与奥巴马会商的官员级别较低;12月被判有期徒刑的一名重要反动分子的刑期特别的长。英国首相求情无用后,一名很可能患有精神疾病的英国毒贩在同一月被处决。中国在与邻国的领土纠纷上,态度更加坚定。还有,中国无意支持对伊朗的制裁。

For all that, there is scant evidence that Mr Obama intended to use the Taiwanese weapons sale as a means of showing a tougher face to China. The transfer had to be announced at some time, and this, said a senior official, was “one of those issues where the timing is never right”.

即便种种这些,奥巴马也没啥理由拿对台军售做武器,不给中国好脸色啊。这个交易总得挑个日子宣布,而且按某政府高官的话说:“这类事啥时说都得罪人,捡日不如撞日。”


Indeed, one way to read the timing is that it was intended to minimise friction. It would have been far more provocative if America had announced the sale on the eve of Mr Obama’s visit last November or immediately afterwards—just before the Copenhagen summit. With President Hu Jintao expected to visit the United States later this year, this was not a bad time to get unpleasant business out of the way. American officials scoff at the idea that Mr Obama would let some of the “rude” personal behaviour he encountered from some Chinese officials in Copenhagen influence strategic decisions. And if he was in a mood for lashing out at China, why did this not show in the Defence Department’s latest Quadrennial Defence Review, released on February 1st?

确实。对于时机的选择,可以这么解读——为减少摩擦。如果美国在11月奥巴马访华前夕或之后(但在哥本哈根会议之前)宣布这一计划,局势必定风云聚变。由于今年下半年胡锦涛主席有望访美,这时出手算是先把倒霉的事做了。有人认为奥巴马会因为他在哥本哈根会议上受到了中国代表的“无礼”对待而在战略决策上被左右,美国官员觉得这是无稽之谈。如果奥巴马真想对付中国,为什么在1月1号国防部公布的最新一份《四年防务评估报告》没有体现?

Compared with the last such document issued in 2006 under the Bush administration, this one (see article) dwells far less on the danger posed by China’s rise. Four years ago the review said that, among major and emerging powers, China had the “greatest potential to compete militarily” with America. The pace and scope of China’s military build-up, it said, had already put regional military balances “at risk”.

与布什政府时期最后一份该类报告相比,这份报告对中国崛起的没有太费笔墨。四年前的报告写道,在所有大国和新兴大国中,中国和美国“进行军事竞赛的可能性最大”。它还写到,中国军事扩充的速度和广度已经使地区军事制衡“受到威胁”。

The latest report repeated the last one’s concerns about the secrecy of China’s military build-up. But it also said that China’s developing military capabilities could enable it to play “a more substantial and constructive role in international affairs”. In 2006 the Defence Department noted China’s large investment in cyber-warfare as well as counter-space and missile systems. America, it said, would “seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate the terms of regional or global security.” This time it stressed the need for China and America to “sustain open channels of communication to discuss disagreements” in order to reduce the risk of conflict.

最新一份报告上重申了上一份中对于中国进行秘密军事扩充的担忧。但是最新报告中还提到中国正在发展壮大的军事实力能帮助它“在国际事务中扮演更加重要且具建设性的角色”。2006年美国国防部提到了中国对电子信息战,以及反-空间导弹系统的巨大投资。它还表示,美国会“努力保证没有任何外国势力能够在地区或全球安全问题上一国说了算”。而这一次,国防部强调中美两国有必要“保持对话、解决争议”以减少潜在冲突。

The internet’s role
英特网的角色


All in all, the evidence suggests that neither the American arms package nor China’s reaction to it was intended to disturb a relationship that is often fraught but in which both sides have made a big investment. That said, it would be wrong to suggest that the two countries see eye-to-eye on all or even most big issues, or to rule out a dangerous falling-out in the future. Some dangers seem to be increasing. One big change, says Doug Paal, a senior China adviser to previous American presidents and now at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, DC, is that the growth of the internet generation in China nowadays requires its government to heed the strong nationalist sentiment of its own people.

综观全局,种种迹象表示,命途多舛但是双方都倾入血本的中美关系被搅局,既非美国对台军售的初衷,也非中国对此反应的本意。虽说如此,但是认为两国在所有或至少在多数重大事件上的看法一致,或者认为以后中美之间不会发生危险的争斗,那就想错了。有的危险正在升级。原任职于美国总统手下,现任职于卡内基基金会(位于华盛顿特区)的中国问题高级顾问道格.帕尔认为,有一个巨大变化是,如今中国网络一族的壮大要求中国政府得留意自己国民的强烈民族情绪。

Newspapers in China say as much themselves. The Global Times, a Communist Party-linked newspaper in Beijing, argued that China’s “stronger than expected response” to the Taiwan sales was in part a reflection of changing public opinion. In recent years, it said, public sentiment had been “increasingly shaping China’s foreign policy strategies” and driving the Chinese government to respond more strongly to American “provocation”.

中国的报纸也没少说。位于北京、具有红色背景的《环球时报》写到,中国在对台军售问题上“超乎以往的强烈反应”一定程度上说反映的是公众舆论的变化。该报说,最近几年,公众情绪“对中国对外政策的影响力与日俱增”,并且促使中国政府对美国“挑衅”的反应更加强烈。

That, admittedly, is only one side of popular Chinese attitudes to America. The newspaper did not discuss the enormous attraction that American culture still exerts in China. The Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” has recently been a colossal hit, provoking much speculation among Chinese about how the authorities might be reacting to its anti-authoritarian overtones. Google’s recent battle with the Chinese authorities has also been widely applauded by people inside China. But the web cuts both ways. The past decade has seen periodic upsurges of anti-Western sentiment, magnified by the freedom internet users enjoy to air such views without interference from the usually heavy hand of China’s online censorship.

诚然,这只是中国民众对美国态度的一方面。该报没有谈及仍然对中国有巨大吸引力的美国文化。最近的美国好莱坞大片《阿凡达》相当卖座。这激起了中国民众的各种猜测--对电影中带有反专制意味的内容,政府将作何反应?谷歌与中国政府最近的一场较劲,在中国国内也有广泛的呼声。但是网络是把双刃剑,过去的十年里,反西方的情绪不时的高涨。由于网民可以自由的发表这类的观点,而不会受到平时严格的网络审查的约束,这种情绪被加倍扩大。

That is why there is likely to be both popular and government outrage against Mr Obama later this month if, as many expect, he decides to meet the Dalai Lama during the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to America. The White House said this week that the Dalai Lama was “an internationally respected religious and cultural leader” and that, although America considered Tibet a part of China, Mr Obama would meet him in that capacity. China responded that any meeting would “seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-US relations.” Tibet touches a raw nerve (see article). The riots in Lhasa of March 2008 and subsequent unrest across the Tibetan plateau triggered an anti-Western backlash online and in the media.

这就是为什么如果奥巴马本月末决定在哒赖喇嘛访美之行期间会见这位西藏精神领袖,激起的愤怒很可能既来自政府也来自民间。本周白宫表示,虽然美国认为西藏是中国的一部分,但是达赖喇嘛是“受到国际社会尊重的宗教文化领袖”,奥巴马任将以这种身份接见他。中国的回应是,任何此类会见都将“严重影响中美关系的政治基础”。西藏是个敏感话题。2008年3月发生在拉萨的暴动以及随后西藏地区的不安定局势,触发了网络和媒体的反西方情绪。

Such feelings were tamed by the West’s sympathetic response to an earthquake in Sichuan Province in May 2008 that killed 70,000 people, and by the decision of Western leaders (Mr Bush especially) to attend the Olympic games in Beijing in August that year. But they have not gone away. Chinese officials, though wary of confrontation with America, also fret that popular nationalism could turn against the Communist Party itself if the party is seen as caving in to the West.

由于西方对2008年5月汶川大地震(7万人遇难)做出的回应富有同情心,也因为西方领导(特别是布什)决定参加那年8月北京举行的奥运会,这种情绪有所消退。但是并没有消失。政府官员虽然疲于和美国的对抗,但是也不愿被民众误认为屈服于西方,进而国民的爱国情绪变对自己不利。

This might explain why officials are now threatening to impose trade sanctions on American companies involved in weapons sales in Taiwan (an idea that gained a lot of online support even before the announcement from Washington). China is unlikely to follow this through in more than a token manner. Some of the American firms involved do little or no business there. But Boeing, which makes the Harpoon anti-ship missiles, has also produced more than half of China’s commercial jets and ensures they stay airworthy with spare parts. The Chinese are well aware that Boeing has operations in many American states and that Congress would react strongly if sanctions went ahead.

这也许能解释为什么政府官员现在威胁要对参与对台军售的美国公司进行贸易制裁(这个主意在华盛顿宣布对台军售计划之前就已经早网络上获得了极大支持)。中国应该也就是意思一下。很多被涉及的美国企业在红过的业务很少或者为零。但是生产“鱼叉”反舰导弹的波音公司为中国的商业航空提供了超过半数以上的飞机,并为其提供零部件更换一保证飞行安全。中国也十分清楚波音在美国各州都有业务,如果制裁提上日程,美国国会的反应必然强烈。

Still, these are tense and unpredictable times in trade relations between the two countries. On February 1st China’s Ministry of Commerce issued a statement saying that trade protectionism had been on the rise in America since the outbreak of the financial crisis, and that China had been the “biggest victim” of America’s “misuse” of trade-remedy measures. Both countries have imposed anti-dumping tariffs on some of each other’s products in recent months. American impatience with China’s reluctance to let its currency appreciate has also been growing. Chinese bitterness over arms sales could complicate efforts to resolve such spats.

当然,这都是两国间贸易紧张且变幻莫测的时期。2月1日,中国商务部发表声明说,美国的贸易保护主义在金融危机爆发后就不断升级,中国因此成为了美国“滥用”贸易补救措施“最大的受害者”。数月来,两国都对对方的产品增加了反倾销税。美国对中国不愿意让人民币升值,也越来越没有耐心。中国在对台军售的态度可能是这些争议的解决又添新结。

Having restored top-level military contacts with America just last year (last severed in 2008 after the Bush administration announced arms sales to Taiwan), China is likely to shun the Pentagon again at least for a few months. A planned trip by America’s defence secretary, Robert Gates, to Beijing may be one casualty. But it is less likely that Mr Hu will abandon his plans for a trip to Washington this year. China’s leaders have long felt they have more to gain politically at home by showing off the diplomatic respect they receive from Americans than they have by shunning them.

去年才和美国军方重新恢复高层交往(最后一次切断联系是在2008年,布什政府宣布对台军售以后),中国很可能又要回避五角大楼几个月了。美国国防部长罗伯特.盖茨原定的访华计划可能是其中一个“受害者”。但是相对来说,胡锦涛主席的访美计划不太会变。中国领导一直觉得,向国民展示美国人对他们的外交礼遇比回避美国人更有政治价值。


The Iran conundrum
伊朗困境


Once the quarrel over the Taiwanese weapons dies down, the next big collision in geopolitics is likely to be over Iran. Indeed, one reading of the timing of the Taiwan deal is that America intended to show its annoyance over China’s reluctance to join the rest of the members of the UN Security Council and Germany in imposing new economic sanctions on Iran. Now that the deadline Mr Obama set for talking round the ayatollahs has expired, Iran is certainly one of America’s main foreign-policy worries. But the notion that America was punishing China by way of Taiwan looks wide off the mark. If anything, the administration appears to have been eager to avoid forging any linkage between Iran and Taiwan in Chinese eyes.(原文中是wide of the mark。译者暂时认为是of应该为off。若理解有误,请指出)

台湾武器问题的争执消散以后,地缘政治冲突的下一个喷发口很有可能就是伊朗。确实,售台武器计划公布的时机选择,有一种解读是,美国想要表示对中国不愿意与联合国安全委员会以及德国合作共同经济制裁伊朗的不满。现在奥巴马试图说服伊朗高官的期限已过,伊朗已然成为美国外交政策的主要忧虑之一。但是认为美国是拿台湾作为惩罚中国的手段,怕是想错了。若美国政府真得在台湾和伊朗问题上动脑经,那也是希望尽量避免任何举动,让中国觉得自己把两者扯在了一起。

It is true that China is now the odd man out on Iran in the Security Council. But that, says Nina Hachigian of the Centre for American Progress, a think-tank close to the Obama administration, is because Russia has become more alarmed by Iran and co-operative with the West, rather than because China has changed its own stance. More to the point, America may not yet have given up on the possibility of China playing a constructive role in dissuading Iran from seeking nuclear weapons.

确实,现在就中国在伊朗问题上和安全委员会背道而驰。但是,美国进步研究中心(奥巴马手下的一个智库)的妮娜.哈奇吉安认为,这是因为俄罗斯对伊朗变得更加警惕,更愿意与西方合作,而不是因为中国改变了自己的立场。更准确的说,美国可能还没有完全放弃中国在劝阻伊朗放弃核武器试验上能扮演具有建设性角色的可能性。

In a speech in Paris on the day of the Taiwan announcement, Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, said she understood why China hesitated to impose sanctions on one of its main energy providers, but urged it to think about the destabilising “longer-term implications” of a nuclear-armed Iran. Given how much oil the Chinese import from Iran, and their appetite for investment in Iran’s energy riches, China is not expected to support strong sanctions. But nor will it necessarily do more than abstain when the Security Council votes—and, with careful handling, it may co-operate on other points.

在售台武器计划宣布的当天,美国的国务卿希拉里.克林顿在巴黎发表讲话时说,她理解中国为什么迟迟不肯对其重要能源供应国进行制裁,但是她劝中国考虑一个拥有核武器的伊朗所造成的“长期不稳定因素”。了解了中国有多少石油来自伊朗,以及他们投资伊朗能源资源的愿望后,不应该指望中国能支持严厉制裁。但是安全委员会投票之时,中国除了弃权,也不见得会有进一步的举动。而且,如果处理得当,中国可能会愿意在其他方面进行合作。

In some ways, the new friction in relations between America and China is remarkable only for taking so long to make itself felt. Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the Brookings Institution’s China Centre in Washington, says that Chinese-American relations are typically prone to be testy in the first year of a new administration, as the two countries gauge each other’s mettle. Mr Obama’s conscious decision to postpone inevitable irritants such as differences over Taiwan, the Dalai Lama and Iran made for some cordiality, but still disputes occurred. The coming year, Mr Lieberthal says, will be a trying one.

从某些方面说,中美关系的新摩擦之所以可圈可点,是因为过了这么久它才被感觉到。布鲁金斯学院中国研究中心(位于华盛顿)的主任堪奈斯.立博萨尔表示,中美关系每到新一届领导班子上任后的第一年,就会变得特别受考验,因为两国都在测试对方到底有多硬。奥巴马有意将一些不可避免的敏感问题推迟提出,比如在台湾、达赖喇嘛和伊朗问题上的分歧,这确实有助于增进两国友好。但是分歧仍然出现了。立博萨尔认为,接下来的一年,是颇具考验的一年。

Beyond that, nothing is certain. American officials keep saying that they are keen to build a more “mature” and “strategic” relationship with China, one better able to withstand the inevitable periodic fallings-out. But the relative balance of power between America and China is changing in some nerve-jangling ways—as are the internal politics of China itself. After a decade in power, Mr Hu will step down as party chief in 2012 and as president the following year. Succession uncertainties, as the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1996 demonstrated, can lead to unpredictable behaviour among Chinese leaders. If China misjudges its own strength and underestimates America’s, such unpredictability could become especially dangerous.

除此之外,皆无定数。美国官员表示,他们期盼和中国建立更加“成熟”、更具“战略意义”的关系,这一关系最好能经受住往后必定会出现的时不时的争执。但是中美两国的势力对比正在变得令人不安,如同中国国内政治局势一样。胡锦涛在任十年后,将在2012年卸下党总书记的职位,并在下一年卸下国家主席的职位。正如1996年台海危机所显示的,继任者的不确定性可能会导致中国领导人不确定的举动。如果中国没有对自身势力做出正确评价,且低估了美国的势力,那这些危险因素会变得相当的危险。
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