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Crimea: Ideals and Reality, Glory and Dreams(克里米亞:理想與現實,光榮與夢想)
Crimea: Ideals and Reality, Glory and Dreams(克里米亞:理想與現實,光榮與夢想)
楊恒均     阅读简体中文版

嫉惡如仇 從善如流
楊恒均微信號:yanghengjun2013

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編者按

美國THE DIPLOMAT網站2014年起推出楊恒均專欄,將楊恒均的部分博文翻譯成英文。本平臺將選登部分文章,供英語愛好者閱讀。


Crimea: Ideals and Reality, Glory and Dreams

The Crimea incident reflects Putin’s domestic aspirations; China is well advised to stay neutral.



By Yang Hengjun

March 21, 2014


By abstaining on the UN vote on Crimea, China made a good choice. I wonder, is China the most frequent abstainer from UN Security Council votes? Earlier, when China’s international clout was lower, abstaining from voting was always interpreted as a sign of helplessness and a desire to avoid trouble. However, now that China has grown strong, the interpretation is different. Now it seems that China is showing its strength and its strategic independence through abstention votes. The policy of “hiding one’s strength and biding one’s time” is the same way—when China was weak, it was the only choice, but now that China is strong it becomes a conscious, free choice. In the international chess match, the same phrase now has a completely different meaning.

Today we often hear people shout that China should get rid of the policy of “hiding one’s strength and biding one’s time,” because they take Vladimir Putin as their spiritual teacher. They point out that Putin dares to “say no” to the West and to the whole world. In their eyes, “saying no” is the same as abandoning the “hiding and biding” policy. However, the foreign policy of a state should be based on national interests, national security and national stability, and more importantly on economic development and the improvement of people’s lives. Who is not able to “say no”? During a time when many Chinese people were starving to death, our whole nation kept “saying no” to the world. Even those countries who wanted to provide aid to us were rejected with a “no.” Was it really that great?

Why does Putin want to “say no”? It’s because the West has no respect for him. Whether or not Putin “says no” makes little difference on the international stage. His “no” has never brought any benefits to Russia, so why does he keep saying it? The answer is that Putin’s “saying no” to the West is directed at a Russian audience—he wants to use this to build up a tough-guy image for himself and arouse the nationalistic mood among the Russian people. Afterwards, he can ensure that he can remain the “elected president” for his entire life. This is Putin’s dream.

Since Putin took office in 2000, international oil prices have been soaring. Putin took advantage of his good luck and stylized himself as “Putin the Great” who restored Russia’s glory…

Diplomatic relations can be roughly categorized into realism (utilitarianism) and idealism (led by ideology and philosophy). Although realism has been dominant in modern times, idealism has seemingly been everywhere and nowhere. I can distinguish the diplomatic practices of China and U.S. in this way: U.S. is a realist with ideals, while China is a realistic idealist. The “realism” of each country is more or less the same, but the ideals are not. The U.S. adores liberty and democracy while China worships the idea of a socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics. Despite its ideals, the U.S. often makes compromises in its philosophy for practical benefits. And although China is relatively realist, it sometimes makes some concessions in its realism to prioritize principles such as the stability of the state and the leadership of the ruling party. It’s because of such compromises and concessions by the U.S. and China that “new type great power relations” becomes possible.

Russia, however, is a realist through and through. Of course, you can’t blame Russia for this…

Nevertheless, realism is not easy. As we all know, realist foreign policy relies on the strength of a state. What kind of strength does Russia have? The money from selling oil may be barely enough to improve people’s livelihood and therefore ensure that Putin wins consecutive terms, but this is not enough to impress the international community. But Putin is smarter than anyone else. Without ideals, and without the power to pursue realist goals abroad, Putin wanted to have the people consider him as a hero, to believe that without Putin they would be bullied by foreigners. And the only way to do that was to stoke up nationalism by habitually opposing the West and always having the word “no” on his lips.

That is why Putin has never hesitated in saying “no” to the West, especially the U.S., whenever he could. Although internationally such opposition amounts to nothing, he has enjoyed an increasingly higher reputation among the “Russian people” who grew up under the Soviet Union. In today’s Russia, which rarely mentions freedom and democracy but also doesn’t dare to raise Soviet ideology, “Putin” has become the “ideology” and “ideal” of the state. At this time, Crimea is just like manna from heaven, a God-given opportunity to Putin.

Putin just has to take Crimea. Meanwhile, considering Russia’s national interests and security, annexing Crimea had a hundred benefits and no harms. The West’s choices are extremely limited. Putin will never be afraid of military intervention. The Soviet Union was defeated in a clash of ideology and wills, not in real battles. With this in mind, Putin would rather resort to arms than confront the U.S. in a battle of ideals and convictions.

The U.S. knows this, and won’t resort to the use of force. As for economic sanctions, oil is the mainstay of Russia’s economy and (because shale gas in the U.S. has not started mass production) Russia’s oil is irreplaceable. And in terms of trade restrictions, don’t forget about China. Without the involvement of China, the world’s second largest economy, a country that can manufacture anything except sophisticated weapons (which Russia, incidentally, does make), how can economic sanctions work?

The timing of Russia’s confrontation with the U.S. is good for China not only in terms of economy and military “benefits,” but even more so in the political dimension. The “new type great power relations” between China and the U.S. is just waiting for a final push—this confrontation from Putin could help the U.S. to become more realistic and more sober-minded. America, don’t spend all day thinking about “peaceful evolution” in Beijing—China is just a panda; your “enemy” is a polar bear.

Someone may say that China should take this chance to ally with Russia in confronting the United States. I say to these people, you can’t defeat the U.S, so what’s the use of wasting human resources, materials, and energy? And allying with Russia is even less appealing—there’s no need to, and taking a long-term view there are too many variables to consider. When Putin steps down or dies, Russia will change overnight—at that time, when the Russian people have lost “Putin the Great,” will they have any choice other than embracing liberty and democracy? However, China has options and thus doesn’t need to tie itself to any great power.

The problems in Crimea are complicated and there’s some truth to each side. If you really want to separate right from wrong, you’ll probably find that there’s not even a unified standard to determine “right” and “wrong.” According to the constitution of Ukraine, the referendum of Crimea is certainly unlawful. But just like the pursuit of liberty and democracy, national self-determination can supersede any national constitution. Otherwise, how did so many colonized and newly established nations achieve their independence? And how did the 15 unified republics of the Soviet Union vote to secede regardless of the constitution of Soviet Union?

The complexity of Crimea also comes from this: Putin’s merging with Crimea not only broke the pattern of international relations in the post-Cold War era, but also went against the main trend of history in the past 100 years. What main trend of history? As everyone knows, in the past 100 years, almost all the great empires have disintegrated (including China, as when Russia helped Outer Mongolia split off). These empires have broken up into smaller nations. This trend began with colonized areas one by one gaining independence, and continued up until the collapse of Soviet Union. Looking back over many years, Russia’s annexation of Crimea is the only case in which a great power acquired so a large piece of territory in an instant (of course, this does not include the large piece of land which was stolen from China’s hands by Russia in the past). Only the God who gave this manna to Russia knows what price Russia will pay for this in the future.

The best choice for China in the Crimea problem is to make no choice; the best stance for China is not to take sides. China needs a peaceful international environment. In the future, China should both develop with the U.S. a no-confrontation, no-conflict, win-win “new type great power relationship.” But China should also develop a “new type great power relationship” with Russia that is neutral, not an alliance. In addition, China should focus on developing multilateral relationships with Europe, the Americas, and Australia, while at the same time putting more efforts and investing more energy into improving relations with neighboring countries. If those major relationships are well managed, even if the world experiences more “Crimea incidents,” how could it have a big impact on China’s interests and dreams?


This piece srcly appeared in Chinese on Yang Hengjun’s blog. The src post can be found here.

Yang Hengjun is a Chinese independent scholar, novelist, and blogger. He once worked in the Chinese Foreign Ministry and as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. Yang received his Ph.D. from the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia. His Chinese language blog is featured on major Chinese current affairs and international relations portals and his pieces receive millions of hits each day. Yang’s blog can be accessed at www.yanghengjun.com


原文:


克里米亞:理想與現實,光榮與夢想


文 | 楊恒均



各位同學好,克里米亞人家講得夠多了,我今天講更大一點的,好不好?


中國在聯合國投棄權票是不錯的選擇。中國恐怕是在聯合國安理會投最多棄權票的國家吧?以前中國的國際地位較低時,投棄權票總給人一種無奈和逃避的印象,但強大了后再投棄權票就不同了,給人一種進退由我,展示力量的感覺。正如同樣是“韜光養晦”,貧弱時是別無選擇,強大時是選擇在我,這在國際博弈中可并不是同一個概念。


現在老是聽到有人叫喊要丟掉“韜光養晦”,他們都以普京為精神教父。他們說你看普京就敢對西方對世界說“不”。在他們看來,敢說“不”就是丟掉了“韜光養晦”。殊不知,一個國家的外交應該為國家利益、國家安全與國家穩定以及更重要的經濟發展與人民生活的改善為標準。說“不”誰不會?中國那幾年餓死好多人時我們全國人民都在對世界說“不”,連有國家想援助咱們,都被“不”掉了,很牛B嗎?


普京為什么要說“不”?那是因為西方根本不尿他,他說不說“不”,在國際上區別并不大,他的“不”從來沒有給俄國帶來利益,可他為啥還要說“不”?因為這個“不”是說給俄國人聽的,他要用這個“不”塑造自己硬漢的形象,激起俄國人的民族主義情感,然后,確保自己能夠當一位終身的“民選總統”。這是普京的夢想啊。


普京2000年上臺后,國際油價一路飆升,他仗著自己的這點好運氣,儼然把自己打扮成復興俄國的“普京大帝”,其實這個前克格勃心里很清楚,整個克格勃都不是人家的對手,靠你一個背叛原組織的中級克格勃干部就想翻轉乾坤?普京也知道自己現在最大的依仗其實是推翻克格勃之后建立起來的俄國民主制度,而俄羅斯的民主制度幾乎全部仰賴葉利欽執政的八年。那段時間雖然生活艱難,但俄羅斯的民主基礎畢竟打下千年基業。普京一邊吃石油老本,一邊啃制度的老本,還同時做著“普京大帝”的夢。


各位知道,在外交關系領域,粗分為現實主義(功利主義)和理想主義(以意識形態與理念為主),雖說現實主義在近現代一直占主導地位,但理想主義始終若即若離。我是這樣劃分中美兩國外交實踐的:美國是有理想的現實主義者,中國是現實的理想主義者。“現實”差別不大,理想卻不盡相同:美國推崇的自由民主,中國推崇中國特色的社會主義民主。美國雖有理想,但常常為了現實利益而理念上做出妥協,中國雖然比較現實,但也會為了執政黨領導和國家穩定這樣的信念而在現實中做出讓步。正因為中美兩國的“妥協”和“讓步”,才使得“新型大國關系”成為可能。


俄羅斯呢,卻是一個不折不扣的現實主義者。當然,這不能全怪他,前蘇聯可是一個超級理想主義者,懷抱社會主義理念與解放全人類的理想,建立了社會主義大家庭,試圖蠶食西方資本主義,結果弄到最后,社會主義陣營不但沒有擊敗西方世界,當頭的蘇聯反倒成了唯一一個被不友好的社會主義國家包圍的國家——中國反對他,南斯拉夫、捷克、波蘭,哪一個對他有好感?


好不容易土崩瓦解,也建立了民主制度,可西方就是對他不冷不熱,當初答應解散北約的承諾不但不兌現,反而變本加厲,一路東擴,包抄俄國。在這種情況下,俄羅斯是有苦難言,民主這東西是無法回頭的,社會主義理想又不知道丟到哪里去了。所以,普京的俄羅斯外交就采取了兩邊理想都不沾邊的純粹的現實主義——沒有理想的現實主義,或者說功利主義,是很可怕的。就像一個沒有信仰的唯利是圖的家伙,是相當難纏的。


但現實主義也不是那么好弄的。我們知道現實主義外交是要靠實力的,俄羅斯有啥實力?出賣石油的錢勉強夠改善民生以保證他繼續當選,不足以在國際上呼風喚雨。但普京比誰都聰明——當過特務又沒有被滅掉,一般都比較聰明,這個你們都知道吧——在沒有理想,現實主義又無法走出國門的情況下,要想民眾視他為英雄,覺得少了他就會被外國人欺負到家門口,唯一的辦法就是煽動民族主義,就是習慣性地站出來反對西方,把“不”字掛在嘴邊。


所以這些年,普京能對西方尤其是美國說“不”的,絕不會吝嗇,絕不會猶豫,雖然在國際上說了等于沒說,但他卻在那批蘇聯時代培養起來的“俄國人民”中逐步享受到極高的聲譽。我們看到,很少提民主自由,也不敢多提前蘇聯意識形態的俄國,“普京”成了他們的“意識形態”,成了他們的“理想”。這個時候,克里米亞又如從天而降的餡餅,給了普京天賜良機。


普京是要定了克里米亞。而且,克里米亞兼入俄國,對俄國的國家利益與安全來說,還真是百利而無一害。至于西方能夠做的,非常有限。普京不會害怕軍事干涉的。蘇聯是在意識形態與意志的對決中敗給美國的,而不是敗在真槍真刀的對壘中。這一點普京很清楚,他寧愿兵戎相見,絕不愿意再拿理念與信念來對抗美國。


美國也很清楚,所以他也不會動用武力。至于經濟制裁,俄國的經濟支柱是石油,美國的頁巖氣還沒有成批量生產,暫時無法取代石油,普京也不愿意看那么遠。至于限制貿易往來之類的,不要忘記還有中國。世界第二大經濟體,除了尖端武器其它啥都造得出的中國不加入的經濟制裁,能有什么效果?更何況,俄國是除了尖端武器之外啥都造不出的國家。


蘇聯這個時候跳出來同美國對抗,對中國來說當然不只是經濟和軍事方面的“利好”,政治方面更是不可估量。在中美兩國“新型大國關系”就差臨時門一腳時,普京同美國的對抗,多少可以幫助美國更現實、更清醒一些,不要再整天想著和平演變北京,你的“敵人”還是北極熊啊,中國只不過是一只熊貓嘛。


至于有人說中國應該借機聯合俄國對抗美國,我說你肯定是想多了,美國你是對抗不掉的,既然對抗不掉,花那個人力、物力和精力折騰啥?而聯合俄國更是味同嚼蠟,毫無必要,更何況從長遠來說,俄國的變數實在太大了,普京下臺或者死去,就會讓俄國一夜之間變天——那時,沒有了“普京大帝”的俄國人除了擁抱自由民主之外,還有什么選擇?但中國有選擇,那就是沒有必要把自己同任何一個大國綁在一起。


克里米亞的問題很復雜,公說公有理,婆說婆有理,真要想分出對錯時,你恐怕連判斷對錯的標準都無法統一。按照烏克蘭憲法,克里米亞公投當然是非法的,但民族自決同追求民主自由一樣,都是超越任何國家“憲法”的,否則世界上那么多殖民地和新建立的國家是如何獨立的?當初蘇聯十五個加盟共和國又是如何不顧蘇聯憲法而投票獨立的?


克里米亞局勢的復雜性還在于,普京兼并克里米亞不但打破了冷戰后的國際關系格局,也忤逆了百年來的歷史大趨勢。什么是歷史大趨勢?大家都知道,過去一百年,大趨勢是幾乎所有大帝國都在瓦解(包括中國在內,外蒙等不是也被蘇聯弄走了),不停地分成更多的小國家。這個是從殖民地紛紛獨立開始的,一直延續到蘇聯解體。俄國這次兼并克里米亞確實是這么多年來唯一一個大國不被分割,反而一下子增加了那么多國土面積(當然,這里不包括老毛子以前從我們手里奪走的那么大一片土地)。不過,沒有免費的午餐,俄國今后可能會為此付出怎樣的代價,恐怕只有掉下餡餅的天知道。


中國在克里米亞問題上不做選擇就是最好的選擇,不選邊站就是最好的立場。中國需要和平的國際環境,今后既要發展同美國不對抗、不沖突,合作雙贏的“新型大國關系”,也要同俄國發展一種不結盟、不選邊站的“新型大國關系”。另外,就是在注重發展同歐洲、美洲、澳洲等國家的多邊關系時,加大力量和投入努力搞好同周邊國家的關系。以上幾大關系處理好了,世界上再發生幾個克里米亞事件,對中國的利益與夢想又能有多大的損害?


楊恒均 2014.3.20 (根據19日同香港大學生談話記錄整理)




2015-08-23 08:53

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