Yan Xuetong:The Age of Uneasy Peace 阎学通:不安的和平时代

Foreign Affairs





In early October 2018, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a searing speech at a Washington think tank, enumerating a long list of reproaches against China. From territorial disputes in the South China Sea to alleged Chinese meddling in U.S. elections, Pence accused Beijing of breaking international norms and acting against American interests. The tone was unusually blunt—blunt enough for some to interpret it as a harbinger of a new Cold Warbetween China and the United States.

2018年10月初,美国副总统迈克·彭斯在华盛顿的一家智库发表了一次观点尖锐的演说,他从多方面对中国进行批判。从南海问题到其声称的干预美国大选问题,彭斯都批评中国破坏国际规范且伤害了美国利益,其尖锐程度异乎寻常,以至于有人将其视作为中美新冷战开始的标志。



Such historical analogies are as popular as they are misleading, but the comparison contains a kernel of truth: the post–Cold War interregnum of U.S. hegemony is over, and bipolarity is set to return, with China playing the role of the junior superpower. The transition will be a tumultuous, perhaps even violent, affair, as China’s rise sets the country on a collision course with the United States over a number of clashing interests. But as Washington slowly retreats from some of its diplomatic and military engagements abroad, Beijing has no clear plan for filling this leadership vacuum and shaping new international norms from the ground up.

将如今的中美冲突比喻为历史上曾经发生的冷战非常流行,其误导作用也很大。尽管这种比喻有误导作用,但这种比较还是反映了一个核心性的事实:后冷战时代形成的美国单极霸权已经终结,随着中国这个新兴超级大国的崛起,两极格局正在形成。这种转变将十分曲折,其过程可能十分激烈。中国的崛起可能导致中美关系进入对撞轨道,两国具有发生诸多利益冲突的风险。虽然华盛顿正在逐渐减少介入国际上的军事和外交事务,但是北京并未因此提出明确填补美国领导权真空的计划,且无建立全新国际规范的方案。



What kind of world order will this bring? Contrary to what more alarmist voices have suggested, a bipolar U.S.-Chinese world will not be a world on the brink of apocalyptic war. This is in large part because China’s ambitions for the coming years are much narrower than many in the Western foreign policy establishment tend to assume. Rather than unseating the United States as the world’s premier superpower, Chinese foreign policy in the coming decade will largely focus on maintaining the conditions necessary for the country’s continued economic growth—a focus that will likely push leaders in Beijing to steer clear of open confrontation with the United States or its primary allies. Instead, the coming bipolarity will be an era of uneasy peace between the two superpowers. Both sides will build up their militaries but remain careful to manage tensions before they boil over into outright conflict. And rather than vie for global supremacy through opposing alliances, Beijing and Washington will largely carry out their competition in the economic and technological realms. At the same time, U.S.-Chinese bipolarity will likely spell the end of sustained multilateralism outside strictly economic realms, as the combination of nationalist populism in the West and China’s commitment to national sovereignty will leave little space for the kind of political integration and norm setting that was once the hallmark of liberal internationalism.

我们即将面对的是个什么样的国际秩序?与那些聒噪者的悲观论调相比,也许事实恰恰相反,中美两国共同塑造的世界将是一个两极世界,这个世界不大可能爆发世界大战。形成这一局面很大程度是因为中国并不怀有西方外交界所认为的巨大野心。中国目前并不觊觎美国世界第一的超级大国地位,因为未来数十年内,中国仍将全力聚焦其维持现有地位的必要条件——保持经济持续增长。中国为了维持这一态势将会避免全面对抗美国及其盟友。随之而来的两极化时代将是一个夹在中美两个超级大国之间的时代,一个令人不安的和平时代。处于这样一个时代,两方加紧强化军备,但又小心管控冲突以免陷入直接对抗。双方不会为了争夺全球领导地位而结成互相对立的两大同盟阵营,而是加大投入,在科学技术和经济领域进行竞争。与此同时,尽管经济领域除外,中美两极格局很有可能终结现行多边主义机制,这是西方民粹主义以及中国强调国家主权两大因素的共同结果,国际政治一体化的机会很小;建立国际规范曾是自由主义的重要标志,如今建成新规范的机会也不太大。


WHAT CHINA WANTS

中国目标

China’s growing influence on the world stage has as much to do with the United States’ abdication of its global leadership under President Donald Trump as with China’s own economic rise. In material terms, the gap between the two countries has not narrowed by much in recent years: since 2015, China’s GDP growth has slowed to less than seven percent a year, and recent estimates put U.S. growth above the three percent mark. In the same period, the value of the renminbi has decreased by about ten percent against the U.S. dollar, undercutting China’s import capacity and its currency’s global strength. What has changed a great deal, however, is the expectation that the United States will continue to promote—through diplomacy and, if necessary, military power—an international order built for the most part around liberal internationalist principles. Under Trump, the country has broken with this tradition, questioning the value of free trade and embracing a virulent, no-holds-barred nationalism. The Trump administration is modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, attempting to strong-arm friends and foes alike, and withdrawing from several international accords and institutions. In 2018 alone, it ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the nuclear deal with Iran, and the UN Human Rights Council.
中国国际影响力在目前的上升,与其说是源自中国自身经济快速发展,不如说是源自美国主动放弃世界领导权力。就物质层面而言,两国差距近年并未有实质缩小:2015年以来,中国GDP增长已经不到7%,同时美国经济增长据估超过3%。在此期间,相对美元而言,人民币的贬值已经超过10%,这削弱了中国进口能力,同时削弱了人民币在世界上的力量。尽管如此,此次两极格局仍然不同以往,因为此次美国反应与过去相比大有不同——美国过去往往通过外交,如有必要,甚至通过武力达到目的——没有出来维护目前总体基于自由主义基本原则的国际秩序。特朗普治下,美国一反常规,不再珍视自由贸易原则,并且支持某种极端民族主义。在其任内,美国核武器将全面进行现代化改造,美国对其敌人甚至包括盟友采取强硬策略,退出国际协定以及国际机制。就2018年而言,美国已经宣布退出中导条约,伊朗核协定以及联合国人权组织。


It is still unclear if this retrenchment is just a momentary lapse—a short-lived aberration from the norm—or a new U.S. foreign policy paradigm that could out-live Trump’s tenure. But the global fallout of Trumpism has already pushed some countries toward China in ways that would have seemed inconceivable a few years ago. Take Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who effectively reversed Japan’s relations with China, from barely hidden hostility to cooperation, during a state visit to Beijing in October 2018, when China and Japan signed over 50 agreements on economic cooperation. Meanwhile, structural factors keep widening the gap between the two global front-runners, China and the United States, and the rest of the world. Already, the two countries’ military spending dwarfs everybody else’s. By 2023, the U.S. defense budget may reach $800 billion, and the Chinese one may exceed $300 billion, whereas no other global power will spend more than $80 billion on its forces. The question, then, is not whether a bipolar U.S.-Chinese order will come to be but what this order will look like.
就目前而言,尚不清楚美国这一举动是否出于权宜之计——短暂违反国际规范——还是因为美国新的外交政策范式即将诞生。总之这些变化已经造成诸多影响,并且这些影响极有可能超越特朗普任期。无论如何,特朗普主义已经波及全球,许多国家政策已经开始倾向中国,这在数年之前是不可能的。受到这一因素影响,日本开始大力改善对华关系,2018年10月,日本首相安倍晋三完成对中国的国事访问,双方一改完全敌对态势,开始探讨合作议程,签署50多个合作协议。与此同时,受到结构因素制约,中美两大全球大国仍在不断和世界其他国家拉开差距。中美两国国防开支使得其他国家相形见绌。截至2023年,美国国防预算可能高达8000多亿美元,中国军费则有可能超过3000多亿美元,除此之外,没有任何世界大国军费会超过800亿美元。就此而言,问题不是是否可能形成一个中美两国主导的世界秩序,而是这种秩序将会表现为何种形式。


At the top of Beijing’s priorities is a liberal economic order built on free trade. China’s economic transformation over the past decades from an agricultural society to a major global powerhouse—and the world’s second-largest economy—was built on exports. The country has slowly worked its way up the value chain, its exports beginning to compete with those of highly advanced economies. Now as then, these exports are the lifeblood of the Chinese economy: they ensure a consistent trade surplus, and the jobs they create are a vital engine of domestic social stability. There is no indication that this will change in the coming decade. Even amid escalating trade tensions between Beijing and Washington, China’s overall export volume continued to grow in 2018. U.S. tariffs may sting, but they will neither change Beijing’s fundamental incentives nor portend a general turn away from global free trade on its part.
建立一个支持自由贸易的自由主义经济秩序将是北京的头等大事。通过几十年来的经济转型,中国已由农业社会变为全球经济重地——同时中国已经成为世界第二大经济体——这一成就得益于中国的出口规模。中国已经逐渐融入世界产业价值链上游,其出口产品甚至开始与其它发达国家竞争。无论过去还是现在,出口对于中国经济发展影响巨大:维持稳定贸易盈余,创造就业机会,这些对于国内社会稳定至关重要。没有迹象表明这种模式会在未来数十年内发生改变。尽管中美贸易关系紧张,2018年的中国贸易出口总量仍保持了增长。尽管中国经济可能受到美国关税的影响,但是这一因素不会改变中国维持现有模式的根本动力,同时不会导致中国脱离世界自由贸易体系。


Quite to the contrary: because China’s exports are vital to its economic and political success, one should expect Beijing to double down on its attempts to gain and maintain access to foreign markets. This strategic impetus is at the heart of the much-touted Belt and Road Initiative, through which China hopes to develop a vast network of land and sea routes that will connect its export hubs to far-flung markets. As of August 2018, some 70 countries and organizations had signed contracts with China for projects related to the initiative, and this number is set to increase in the coming years. At its 2017 National Congress, the Chinese Communist Party went so far as to enshrine a commitment to the initiative in its constitution—a signal that the party views the infrastructure project as more than a regular foreign policy. China is also willing to further open its domestic markets to foreign goods in exchange for greater access abroad. Just in time for a major trade fair in Shanghai in November 2018—designed to showcase the country’s potential as a destination for foreign goods—China lowered its general tariff from 10.5 percent to 7.8 percent.
恰恰相反,由于出口经济地位举止轻重,它将决定中国未来的经济和政治成就。因此我们没有理由怀疑中国努力扩大国际市场份额以及维持市场运行稳定的决心,中国大力提倡的“一带一路”的重要目的也是为了推动这一目标的实现。中国希望借此建立一个庞大的陆路、海路网络,将其出口枢纽与遥远的市场连接起来。截至2018年8月,全球约有70个国家和组织参与“一带一路”,他们签署有关项目合同,这一数字预计今后几年之内仍会有所增加。在2017年的全国代表大会上,中国共产党甚至将“一带一路”写入党章,这一重要信号表明,基础设施建设已经远非常规的外交政策。中国同样愿意加大国内市场开放力度,以此换取更多的海外贸易市场。2018年11月,中国国际进口博览会在上海举行——这一活动旨在展示中国巨大潜力,吸引外国商品进入中国市场。同时,中国关税从10.5%下调至7.8%。


Given this enthusiasm for the global economy, the image of a revisionist China that has gained traction in many Western capitals is misleading. Beijing relies on a global network of trade ties, so it is loath to court direct confrontation with the United States. Chinese leaders fear—not without reason—that such a confrontation might cut off its access to U.S. markets and lead U.S. allies to band together against China rather than stay neutral, stripping it of important economic partnerships and valuable diplomatic connections. As a result, caution, not assertiveness or aggressiveness, will be the order of the day in Beijing’s foreign policy in the coming years. Even as it continues to modernize and expand its military, China will carefully avoid pressing issues that might lead to war with the United States, such as those related to the South China Sea, cybersecurity, and the weaponization of space.
鉴于国际社会对于全球经济的热情,许多西方国家认为,中国已经成为一个国际体系中的修正主义国家,这种认识误导了大众。中国需要借助全球贸易网络发展自身经济,中国无意针对美国进行直接对抗。中国领导层的担忧不无道理,全面对抗可能切断中国进入美国市场的渠道,中国希望美国的盟友保持中立,而非联合起来与华对抗,任何对抗都有可能断送中国重要经济伙伴以及来之不易的外交关系。由此可见,未来几年中国外交政策仍将保持审慎,不会过分武断或是咄咄逼人。即使中国继续进行扩军以及进行军事武器现代化建设,中国仍将保持小心谨慎,避免触发包括南海问题、网络安全以及太空军事化在内的冲突,因为这些问题可能导致中美开战。

NEW RULES?

新的规则?

Indeed, much as Chinese leaders hope to be on par with their counterparts in Washington, they worry about the strategic implications of a bipolar U.S.-Chinese order. American leaders balk at the idea of relinquishing their position at the top of the global food chain and will likely go to great lengths to avoid having to accommodate China. Officials in Beijing, in no hurry to become the sole object of Washington’s apprehension and scorn, would much rather see a multipolar world in which other challenges—and challengers—force the United States to cooperate with China.
诚然,尽管中国领导层方面希望能与美国同行平分秋色,但是他们仍对这种中美两极秩序的战略影响持担忧态度。美方领导人仍不愿放弃全球政治食物链的顶端地位,他们极有可能努力制造麻烦,阻碍中国崛起进程。于此同时,中国政府官员并不愿意即刻成为美国唯一战略标靶,考虑到美方现有的巨大恐惧和蔑视,中国更加愿意看到一个多极世界,在这个世界里,众多全球挑战——以及挑战者们——将会迫使美国对华进行合作。


In fact, the United States’ own rise in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries provides something of a model for how the coming power transition may take place. Because the United Kingdom, the world’s undisputed hegemon at the time, was preoccupied with fending off a challenger in its vicinity—Germany—it did not bother much to contain the rise of a much bigger rival across the pond. China is hoping for a similar dynamic now, and recent history suggests it could indeed play out. In the early months of George W. Bush’s presidency, for instance, relations between Beijing and Washington were souring over regional disputes in the South China Sea, reaching a boiling point when a Chinese air force pilot died in a midair collision with a U.S. surveillance plane in April 2001. Following the 9/11 attacks a few months later, however, Washington came to see China as a useful strategic partner in its global fight against terrorism, and relations improved significantly over the rest of Bush’s two terms.
实际上,美国在19世纪和 20世纪初期开始崛起,这为权力过渡如何展开提供了某种模式。作为当时毫无争议的世界霸主,英国一心想要打败其周边重要挑战者——德国——这一态势使得英国不愿费心且无力遏制大洋彼岸正在崛起的那个潜在对手,它的体量更加庞大。中国现在希望出现类似局面,种种历史表明,这一局面确实曾经出现,但是已经走到尽头。例如在小布什上台最初数月,北京和华盛顿关系因为南海问题而不断恶化。2001年4月,南海撞机事件使得这一关系达到沸点。然而,数月之后9.11事件爆发,美国开始视中国为全球反恐斗争中的重要战略伙伴,在小布什总统的两个任期之内,两国关系得到了显著改善。


Today, unfortunately, the list of common threats that could force the two countries to cooperate is short. After 17 years of counterterrorism campaigns, the sense of urgency that once surrounded the issue has faded. Climate change is just as unlikely to make the list of top threats anytime soon. The most plausible scenario is that a new global economic crisis in the coming years will push U.S. and Chinese leaders to shelve their disagreements for a moment to avoid economic calamity—but this, too, remains a hypothetical.
然而不幸的是,如今可以促使中美合作的共同威胁少之又少。经过十七年的全球反恐,围绕这一问题产生的共同威胁已经不大,促使两国进行合作的紧迫性已不复存在。气候变化威胁短期之内仍然无法促使两国进行合作。未来几年之内,最有可能促使中美两国进行合作的场景将是共同应对新一轮的全球经济危机,这场危机可能迫使中美两国暂时搁置分歧,避免经济灾难——不过这个机会也仅是个假设。


To make matters worse, some points of potential conflict are here to stay—chief among them Taiwan. Relations between Beijing and Taipei, already tense, have taken a turn for the worse in recent years. Taiwan’s current government, elected in 2016, has questioned the notion that mainland China and Taiwan form a single country, also known as the “one China” principle. A future government in Taipei might well push for de jure independence. Yet a Taiwanese independence referendum likely constitutes a redline for Beijing and may prompt it to take military action. If the United States were to respond by coming to Taiwan’s aid, a military intervention by Beijing could easily spiral into a full-fledged U.S.-Chinese war. To avoid such a crisis, Beijing is determined to nip any Taiwanese independence aspirations in the bud by political and economic means. As a result, it is likely to continue lobbying third countries to cut off their diplomatic ties with Taipei, an approach it has already taken with several Latin American countries.
更为糟糕的是,一些潜在冲突热点仍将继续存在——其中台湾问题最为凸显。本已紧张的两岸关系近年每况愈下。2016年当选的现任台湾领导公然质疑大陆台湾同属一个中国的观念,这一观念也称 “一中”原则。台湾地区的未来政府很有可能继续推动法理台独。“独立公投”很可能就是北京方面最后的红线,这将迫使北京方面采取军事行动。如果美国决定援助台湾,北京的军事干预就有可能演变成为中美两国的全面战争。为了避免新的危机,北京方面决心通过政治、经济手段遏制台湾分裂势力于萌芽状态。中国将会继续敦促其他国家切断与台“外交关系”,一些拉美国家已经这样做了。


Cautious or not, China set somewhat different emphases in its approach to norms that undergird the international order. In particular, a more powerful China will push for a stronger emphasis on national sovereignty in international law. In recent years, some have interpreted public statements by Chinese leaders in support of globalization as a sign that Beijing seeks to fashion itself as the global liberal order’s new custodian, yet such sweeping interpretations are wishful thinking: China is merely signaling its support for a liberal economic order, not for ever-increasing political integration. Beijing remains fearful of outside interference, particularly relating to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang, as well as on matters of press freedom and online regulations. As a result, it views national sovereignty, rather than international responsibilities and norms, as the fundamental principle on which the international order should rest. Even as a new superpower in the coming decade, China will therefore pursue a less interventionist foreign policy than the United States did at the apex of its power. Consider the case of Afghanistan: even though it is an open secret that the United States expects the Chinese military to shoulder some of the burden of maintaining stability there after U.S. troops leave the country, the Chinese government has shown no interest in this idea.
不管谨慎与否,中国对于支撑当今国际秩序的国际规持有不同看法。随着国力日益强大,中国将会强化主权原则在国际法中的地位。最近几年,许多专家在解读中国领导人的公开声明时,认为中国试图将其自身打造成为全球自由秩序的新守护者,他们将此视为中国支持全球化的重要信号。然而这些解读有些一厢情愿:中国尽管表达其对自由经济秩序的支持态度,然而这种态度并不包括支持日益增强的政治一体化趋势。北京仍然担忧外部势力的干涉,尤其担忧这些势力染指包括香港、台湾、西藏和新疆在内的地区,指责新闻自由以及网络规则等问题。在中国看来,国家主权才是国际秩序所应依据的基本原则,而非国际责任或国际规范。可以预见,即使未来10年之内,作为一个新兴超级大国,中国的外交仍将不太可能采取干涉主义的政策,这与处于权力巅峰时期美国形成反差。以阿富汗为例:美国期望中国在其军队撤离之后承担部分责任,维持阿富汗地区形势稳定,尽管这已不是什么秘密,但是中国政府对此没有兴趣。


Increased Chinese clout may also bring attempts to promote a vision of world order that draws on ancient Chinese philosophical traditions and theories of statecraft. One term in particular has been making the rounds in Beijing: wangdao, or “humane authority.” The word represents a view of China as an enlightened, benevolent hegemon whose power and legitimacy derive from its ability to fulfill other countries’ security and economic needs—in exchange for their acquiescence to Chinese leadership.
中国影响力的持续增强还将可能带来有关世界秩序观念方面的变化,例如汲取中国古代的哲学传统和治国之道。如今“王道”或者“仁政”的概念正在北京流行,这个概念表明了中国人民认为世界领导需要开明、仁慈的观点,这种领导合法性的源泉正是基于它满足其它国家安全和经济需求的能力——其结果是其它国家默认中国为领导。


BIPOLARITY IN PRACTICE

两极趋势的形成

Given the long shadow of nuclear escalation, the risk of a direct war between China and the United States will remain minimal, even as military, technological, and economic competition between them intensifies. Efforts on both sides to build ever more effective antimissile shields are unlikely to change this, since neither China nor the United States can improve its antimissile systems to the point of making the country completely impervious to a nuclear counterattack. If anything, the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty will encourage both sides to build up their nuclear forces and improve their second-strike capabilities, ensuring that neither side will be confident it can launch a nuclear attack on the other without suffering a devastating retaliation. The threat of nuclear war will also keep Chinese tensions with other nuclear-armed powers, such as India, from escalating into outright war.

考虑到核军备竞赛的长期影响,即使中美之间的军事、技术和经济竞争加剧,中美之间发生直接战争的风险仍将保持在最低限度。双方建立更为有效的反导防御系统的努力不太可能改变这一态势,因为中美两国无法将其反导弹系统提升到使该国完全不受核报复影响的程度。如果有影响,那就是美国退出《中程核力量条约》将会导致双方增强核力量以及提高二次打击能力,这样反而可以确保任何一方都无信心先发制人打击之后不会遭受对方毁灭性的报复。核威慑也将使得中国与印度等其他核武大国的紧张关系不至于升级为全面战争。


Proxy wars, however, cannot be ruled out, nor can military skirmishes among lesser states. In fact, the latter are likely to become more frequent, as the two superpowers’ restraint may embolden some smaller states to resolve local conflicts by force. Russia, in particular, may not shy away from war as it tries to regain its superpower status and maintain its influence in eastern Europe and the Middle East. Faced with calls to reform the UN Security Council, fraying powers such as France and the United Kingdom may seek to buttress their claim to permanent membership in the council through military interventions abroad. In the Middle East, meanwhile, the struggle for regional dominance among Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia shows no signs of abating. Across the globe, secessionist conflicts and terrorist attacks will continue to occur, the latter especially if competition between China and the United States reduces their cooperation on counterterrorism measures.

尽管如此,发生代理战争的风险仍然不能排除,较小国家之间的军事冲突仍然在所难免。事实上,后者极有可能变得更加频繁,尽管两个超级大国保持克制可以预防大国战争,但是这将使得一些实力较弱国家行动更加激进,它们因此更有可能通过武力解决局部冲突。在这方面俄罗斯的表现最为明显。由于试图努力恢复超级大国地位,与此同时保持其在东欧以及中东影响力,俄罗斯也许不会回避使用战争手段。面对要求改革联合国安理会的呼声,实力正在衰落的英法等国极有可能寻求对外军事干预,他们通过这种作法支撑他们的安理会常任理事国地位。与此同时,中东地区伊朗、土耳其和沙特阿拉伯争夺地区主导权的斗争将会日益激烈。在全球范围内,中美竞争将会导致两国反恐领域的合作减少,分裂主义导致的冲突和恐怖袭击将会有增无减。


In the economic realm, export-driven economies, such as China, Germany, and Japan, will ensure the survival of a global liberal trade regime built on free-trade agreements and membership in the World Trade Organization—no matter what path the United States takes. On other matters of global governance, however, cooperation is likely to stall. Even if a future U.S. administration led a renewed push toward multilateralism and international norm setting, China’s status as a junior superpower would make it difficult for the United States to sustain the strong leadership that has traditionally spurred such initiatives in the past. Differences in ideology and clashing security interests will prevent Beijing and Washington from leading jointly, but neither will have enough economic or military clout to lead on its own. To the extent that multilateral initiatives persist in such a world, they will be limited to either side’s respective sphere of influence.

在经济领域,无论美国未来何去何从,中国、德国、日本等出口导向型经济体都将努力确保现行全球自由贸易体制的正常运行,这一体制仍将建立在自由贸易协定以及世贸组织成员国资格的基础之上。然而一旦涉及全球治理等其他问题,上述国家合作可能就会停滞不前。即使美国政府未来想要重新建立多边主义国际规范,由于中国已经事实成为超级大国,美国将难以保持和以往一样的领导地位。意识形态分歧以及安全利益冲突将会阻碍中美两国联合领导世界,然而双方又都不具备独自领导世界能力。就这点而言,即使多边主义仍能持续运行,那么它的作用也将限于中美各自的势力范围之内。


China’s emphasis on national sovereignty, together with Western societies’ turn away from globalism, will deal an additional blow to multilateralism. The European Union is already fraying, and a number of European countries have reintroduced border controls. In the coming decade, similar developments will come to pass in other domains. As technological innovation becomes the primary source of wealth, countries will become ever more protective of their intellectual property. Many countries are also tightening control of capital flows as they brace for a global economic slump in the near future. And as concerns over immigration and unemployment threaten to undermine Western governments’ legitimacy, more and more countries will increase visa restrictions for foreign workers.

中国强调国家主权原则,西方社会背离全球主义,两者将使多边主义受挫。欧盟开始变得松散,一些欧洲国家重新实行边境管制。未来十年,其他领域也将出现类似现象。随着技术创新成为财富主要来源,各国日益加大知识产权保护力度。许多国家开始收紧针对资本流动的控制,准备应对新一轮的全球经济衰退的来临。随着大众对于移民以及失业问题的担忧与日俱增,西方政府的合法性开始削弱,越来越多的国家将会收紧对外来劳工的签证限制。


Unlike the order that prevailed during the Cold War, a bipolar U.S.-Chinese order will be shaped by fluid, issue-specific alliances rather than rigid opposing blocs divided along clear ideological lines. Since the immediate risk of a U.S.-Chinese war is vanishingly small, neither side appears willing to build or maintain an extensive—and expensive—network of alliances. China still avoids forming explicit alliances, and the United States regularly complains about free-riding allies. Moreover, neither side is currently able to offer a grand narrative or global vision appealing to large majorities at home, let alone to a large number of states.

中美两极格局的国际秩序将与冷战时期有所不同,世界各国将会根据具体问题在中美两国间形成灵活的问题性联盟,这种模式完全不同于按照明确的意识形态划线的稳固对立集团。由于两国直接开战的风险不断缩小,中美似乎都无意建立庞大联盟,因为维持这种同盟成本高昂。中国仍不愿建立明确的同盟,美国则不断抱怨盟友的“搭便车”之举。此外,目前两国都无力提供吸引本国大众的全球愿景,更何况要争取世界多数国家的认同。


For some time to come, then, U.S.-Chinese bipolarity will not be an ideologically driven, existential conflict over the fundamental nature of the global order; rather, it will be a competition over consumer markets and technological advantages, playing out in disputes about the norms and rules governing trade, investment, employment, exchange rates, and intellectual property. And rather than form clearly defined military-economic blocs, most states will adopt a two-track foreign policy, siding with the United States on some issues and China on others. Western allies, for instance, are still closely aligned with the United States on traditional security matters inside NATO, and Australia, India, and Japan have supported the U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific. At the same time, these states still maintain close trade and investment relations with China, and several of them have sided with Beijing in trying to reform the World Trade Organization.

由此可见,未来的一段时间内的中美两极格局不大可能受到意识形态对抗所左右,也不大可能导致有关全球秩序变革的根本性冲突;相反,这场竞争将是一场争夺消费市场和技术优势的竞争,这场竞争将表现在有关贸易、投资、就业、汇率以及知识产权的国际规范和规则制定权方面。大多数国家不会形成泾渭分明的军事或者经济集团,而是采取双轨外交政策,在某些问题上站在美国一边,而在另外一些问题上站在中国一边。例如,在北约内部,美国的西方盟友与美国保持紧密的同盟关系;澳大利亚、印度和日本将支持美国的印太战略。与此同时,这些国家将与中国保持着密切贸易和投资往来,其中一些国家甚至会与北京向共同携手改革世界贸易组织。


This two-track strategy shows just how far down the road to bipolarity the world has already advanced. And the fundamental driver of this process—the raw economic and military clout on which American and, increasingly, Chinese dominance rests—will further cement Beijing’s and Washington’s status as the two global heavyweights in the coming decade. Whether or not the United States recovers from its Trumpian fever and leads a renewed push for global liberalism is, ultimately, of little consequence to the outcome: opposed in their strategic interests but evenly matched in their power, China and the United States will be unable to challenge each other directly and settle the struggle for supremacy definitively. As during the Cold War, each side’s nuclear warheads will prevent proxy conflicts from easily escalating into a direct confrontation between the two superpowers. More important still, China’s leadership is acutely aware of the benefits its country derives from the status quo, for now—it is chief among the conditions for China’s continued economic and soft-power expansion—and will avoid putting these benefits on the line anytime soon, unless China’s core interests are in the balance. Chinese leaders will therefore work hard to avoid setting off alarm bells in already jittery Western capitals, and their foreign policy in the coming years will reflect this objective. Expect recurring tensions and fierce competition, yes, but not a descent into global chaos.

这种双轨战略表明两极格局正在形成之中。而这一进程的根本动力——来自美国以及实力日益增长的中国的军事以及经济影响——将进一步巩固中美两国在未来十年作为世界全球超级大国的地位。无论美国是否能够从“特朗普热”中恢复过来,也无论是否能够重新领导重建自由主义国际秩序,这些因素并不能对当下秩序的形成产生实质性的影响。中美双方战略利益是对立的,但是双方实力处于势均力敌状态,双方皆无把握直接战胜对方,双方亦无法决出最终的胜负。和冷战期时期一样,双方的核武器将确保代理人战争不会轻易升级为两个超级大国之间的直接战争。更为重要一点是,中国领导层已意识到中国受益于现有的国际地位,就目前而言,这种地位是中国持续经济增长和软实力扩张的首要条件之一。就未来而言,短期内中国不会为这些利益摊牌,除非中国的核心利益牵扯其中。基于上述原因,中国领导人将努力避免为本已紧张不安的西方国家敲响警钟,因为这些国家的外交政策很有可能对于上述状况做出反应。我们可以预见,紧张局势将会反复出现,激烈竞争将会愈演愈烈。尽管激烈竞争将会导致麻烦不断,但是全球不会轻易陷入混乱。

Translated by

Xu Zhou

 (翻译:徐舟)