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4 Ways China Can Prepare for War in East Asia 東北亞成火藥桶,中國準備好打仗沒有?
4 Ways China Can Prepare for War in East Asia 東北亞成火藥桶,中國準備好打仗沒有?
楊恒均     阅读简体中文版

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楊恒均微信號:yanghengjun2013

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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。


4 Ways China Can Prepare for War in East Asia

Northeast Asia has become a potential powder keg. What should China do to prepare itself for possible conflict?


By Yang Hengjun

April 04, 2014



Over the past decades, the fuse for the powder keg of war moved from the Balkans to the Middle East. Now it has shifted to China’s backyard without us even noticing. Five years ago, if someone had told me that Northeast Asia would become the world’s leading powder keg, even more dangerous than the Middle East, I wouldn’t have believed it. But now, such a statement seems more and more like the truth.

After the U.S. military conquered Iraq, the “Arab Spring” bloomed in the Middle East and North Africa. Although the internal turmoil suffered by countries in this region shows no signs of abating, in terms of geopolitics the Middle East crisis has been greatly alleviated. Nowadays, there is only one “troublemaker” left – Iran, which would find it hard to cause a crisis without support ( not to mention Iran is not up to fighting with the United States and Israel). Iran’s recent willingness to give up its nuclear weapons program foreshadows a shift in the winds.

In contrast, the situation in Northeast Asia is decidedly not optimistic. Almost every responsible country in the world has age requirements for its top leader, usually requiring top leaders to be at least 40 years old. But North Korea is now under the control of a 30-year old young man. After taking office, this leader “lived up the the world’s expectations” — that is to say, he refused to follow China’s road of reform and opening up and refused to act according to common sense. He eliminated dissenters without a scruple, and will most likely continue to develop nuclear weapons.

And on top of that, add the problem of Japan.

On December 17 of last year, Japan passed its first National Security Strategy as well as revising its National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program. In these documents, it’s easy to see a posture of arms expansion and war preparation aimed at the “China threat.” A few days later, one of my Japanese friends from Tokyo’s Waseda University sent me a half-joking message: “Mr. Yang, the sleeping lion of Japan is finally awake. Thanks to China for waking him up.”

I didn’t think this joke was very funny. I replied to him that I had only heard of the Napoleon quote that China is Asia’s sleeping lion. Who said that Japan is another “sleeping lion”? Was it Hitler?

A war of words was inevitable after that. However, I have to admit that the “sleeping lion” of China seems to be “sleeping in,” or at least after waking up it’s still confused, thinking it’s still dreaming. Could little Japan actually be more worthy of the name “sleeping lion”? Since the Meiji Restoration, it has won almost every war it’s fought, and even Japan’s final defeat was grand in scale: Japan became the only nation to have been beaten by atomic bombs. After World War II, although oppressed by the U.S. military occupation and a “peace constitution,” it rose rapidly to become a world power, with the second largest economy. Over the past years, because of the end of the Cold War and the rise of China, Japan’s international status has been steadily deteriorating and economic achievements have been hard to come by. It’s no wonder that some Japanese believe Japan can only renew it power by developing its military, raising its political status, and becoming a “normal country.”

It seems that only the “China threat” can make the U.S. loosen its control of Japan, allowing Japan the “legitimacy” to once again embark on a militaristic road. Of course, it’s been a long time since World War II ended and Japan is a sovereign state — in principle, it has the power to abolish the constitution imposed on Japan by the United States and to strive for military strength and political influence equal to its economic strength. However, Japan’s military expansion has a clear-cut goal — to deal with the “China threat.” This is a phenomenon rarely seen in other countries’ decisions to expand military capabilities. China’s concern is justified.

The crisis in Northeast Asia on the surface is entangled with territorial and historical factors, but actually its deeper cause is ideology. The Cold War in Europe ended with the announcement of German unification, but in Northeast Asia it still continues. In today’s world, territorial and historical factors are unlikely to cause a major war. However, a war caused by religion and ideology won’t stay small. In this sense, it is necessary for China to be well-prepared for war. In my personal opinion, there are four things China must do to prepare.

1. Establish core values which can unify the Chinese people. Develop and promote our own culture. I’m listing this point first for a reason. Looking back at all of China’s foreign wars in modern and contemporary history, we can take a lesson from these defeats. It’s not hard to see that China’s defeats weren’t caused by a lack of national strength or military power. Rather, defeat came because China lacked a value system that could unite the country and the nation. Soldiers and the public must know what they are protecting when they take up arms, what they are fighting for. Only in this way can the war go on.

When I was young, I was a military buff. I once joined a top U.S. military think tank, the Atlantic Council, becoming the youngest senior researcher there. I was in contact with a lot of senior military talents and generals from around the world, especially the U.S. But after several years, my research on war can be summarized using a sentence from an earlier researcher: a small war replies on weapons, a medium war relies on power, and a great war relies on popular support. Because of this conclusion, my personal interest quickly turned from military affairs to politics, ultimately to the values system.

In this sense, at the 18th National Party Congress, when Xi Jinping stressed the need to establish core values with Chinese characteristics and to enhance and develop the Chinese culture, this wasn’t just a reform for the cultural, educational and political sphere. Xi’s idea could also be a great strategy that serves as the deciding factor in future wars.

2. Focus on the people’s livelihood and take human rights seriously. Modern war is different from previous wars, which relied solely on defending a country or on the call of “nationalism” to rouse the population and soldiers and win the war. Today, this is far from enough. Imagine that, on issues touching the people’s livelihood, a government is biased, or event acts unfairly and unjustly, violating the rights of citizens. In that case, it’s highly likely that its populace will help “invaders.” Actually, in recent years, whether the U.S. bombed Yugoslavia or sent troops to Iraq, it seems in almost all cases to have won a great deal of support from local people.

During the Sino-Japanese War, a large number of “traitors” appeared in China. Of course these traitors should be denounced and punished, but we still have dug deep to ask ourselves why there were so many traitors. At the time, the government was corrupt and busy with civil war. It didn’t treat the people as humans, but imposed excessive taxes and forced able-bodied men into the army. How was the government any different from the “Japanese devils”? For the people, did it really make a big difference whether they were bullied by the Japanese or by their own government? Mao Zedong said that people, rather than weapons, are the decisive factor in war. This saying it still valid today. If we do not remember this point, when war breaks out, there won’t be “traitors” but there could be countless “guides” willing to help the enemy.

In the decision from November’s Third Plenum, the government proposed for the first time paying more attention to citizens’ human rights. In the next round of reforms, the government promised to focus on justice and fairness, and I hope they can succeed. This is an important strategy.

3. Develop military equipment and modern weapons. I’m putting this point third, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Just as I said earlier, “a small war relies on weapons.” Right now, China’s conflicts in the East China Sea (with Japan) and the South China Sea (with the Philippines) would most likely only be very limited wars. These small-scale wars would rely only on weapons.

Currently, as Japan is supported by the U.S. military, China does not have any advantage in terms of weapons. In a small-scale conflict, it is possible that China would lose embarrassingly – in terms of the weapons that would be used in a small conflict, China is more than 20 years behind the U.S. By comparison, when it comes to weapons used in a large-scale conflict, such as cruise missiles, the gap between China and the U.S. is much smaller.

Certainly, the gap is smallest when it comes to strategic weapons, and we can say that there really is no gap — there’s no substantive difference between destroying something once and destroying it a hundred times. It’s no longer a question that China continues to develop modern weapons. The question is whether the soldiers using these modern weapons also have modernized their guiding ideology and management.

4. Make more friends in the international community. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to have a war only between two countries. Often, war involved many countries or is even a conflict between two alliance groups. Forming an alliance requires two conditions: values and economic interest. In terms of economic interest, China has the advantage. “He who has the gold makes the rules,” as the saying goes. However, in terms of values, China belongs to a distinct minority in the international community. In the past few years, there has been less emphasis on ideology, but we still must pay attention. China can’t get too close to international aberrations like North Korea, or else it will lose moral support from many countries. Also, to coin a phrase, “With friends like North Korea, who needs enemies?”

Personally, I do not support any type of war, and I also do not believe that war is inevitable. However, a proactive response and good preparation are often the most effective ways to avoid war. Modernized weapons and military management, as well as a well-trained army, are no doubt essential. But even more important factors are the unity of a country and support from the people.



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:


東北亞成火藥桶,中國準備好打仗沒有?


文 | 楊恒均


一個世紀里,世界熱戰的導火線從巴爾干延燒到中東,現在又不知不覺地轉移到中國身邊。如果五年前有人告訴我,東北亞會成為比中東還危險的世界頭號火藥桶,我肯定不會相信,但如今,這種說法越來越接近事實。


伊拉克被美軍征服后,中東、北非又迎來了“阿拉伯之春”,這個地區各國內部動蕩雖然有增無減,但地緣政治上的中東危機已經大大緩和。目前“麻煩制造者”就剩一個伊朗,孤掌難鳴不說,還根本不是美、以的對手。最近伊朗宣布放棄核子計劃,就是改弦易轍的前兆。


反觀東北亞,情況并不樂觀。一位三十歲的年輕人掌握了朝鮮大權——世界上幾乎所有負責任的國家對最高領導人都有年齡要求,一般不會讓40歲以下的人出任第一把手,此人上臺后果然“不負眾望”,不走中國改革開放之路,且不按常理出牌,肆無忌憚清除異己,并有可能繼續發展核武。現在又加上一個日本。


17日,日本通過戰后首個《國家安全保障戰略》以及《防衛計劃大綱》、《中期防衛力量整備計劃》,針對“中國威脅”的擴軍備戰態勢一目了然。今天上午,我在早稻田大學的一位日本網友發來一條半開玩笑的信息:楊先生,亞洲的睡獅日本終于醒了。感謝中國弄醒了他。


這玩笑可不怎么好笑。我回了他一條:只聽拿破侖說過中國是亞洲的睡獅,誰說過日本是亞洲的睡獅?難道是希特勒?


唇槍舌戰免不了,但不得不承認,中國這頭睡獅是睡過頭了,且醒來后還迷迷糊糊,以為還在夢中。也許小小的日本才更配為“睡獅”吧?明治維新后幾乎是無戰不勝,最后連失敗都轟轟烈烈:成為世界上唯一一個被原子彈打敗的民族。二戰后,被美國駐軍與和平憲法壓著,又迅速崛起為世界第二經濟強國。這些年,由于冷戰的結束與中國的崛起,日本的國際地位每況愈下,經濟難有大作為,難怪一些日本人認為,日本要重新崛起,非得發展軍事、提升政治地位、變成“正常國家”不可。


看起來,只有“中國威脅”才會讓美國放松對日本的控制,讓日本“名正言順”地重新走上武裝之路。當然,二戰過去這么久,日本作為一個主權國家,原則上說有權廢除美國強加給他的憲法,爭取與他經濟實力相當的軍事實力與政治影響力。但日本的擴軍具有鮮明的目標——應對“中國威脅”,這倒是各國發展軍備時少有的現象,中國憂心也是有道理的。


東北亞危機表面上看是領土與歷史因素絞纏不清,其實深層的原因依然是意識形態。冷戰在歐洲以東西德的統一而宣告結束,在東北亞其實依然在繼續。當今世界,領土與歷史因素很難爆發大戰,但宗教和意識形態之戰,一旦爆發,就不會太小。從這個意義上說,中國做好備戰準備,也是有必要的。以我個人之見,中國如何備戰,要做好哪些準備呢?


第一,樹立能夠凝聚國人的核心價值觀,發展、弘揚自己的文化。我把這點放在第一不是沒有原因的,回顧一下中國近、現代歷史上歷次涉外戰爭,總結一下失敗的教訓,我們不難發現戰敗的主要原因并不是國力不強、軍力不足,而是缺乏凝聚一個國家一個民族的價值理念。軍人和民眾必須知道拿起武器保衛的是什么,為何而戰,這場戰爭才能進行下去。


我年輕時曾經是個軍事迷,并且一度混進了美國最頂級的軍事智庫大西洋理事會,成為最年輕的資深研究員,接觸了來自世界各國尤其是美國的高級軍事人才與將領。但幾年下來,我對戰爭的研究最終只得到了一句前人早就總結出的結論:小戰靠武器,中戰靠國力,大戰靠民心。因為有了這個“結論”,我個人的興趣也迅速從軍事到政治,最終轉移到價值理念與制度上。


從這個意義上說,習近平在十八大中強調的要建立中國特色的核心價值觀與弘揚、發展中國文化,就不僅僅是文化領域、教育領域與政治領域的改革,而是可以決定未來戰爭勝負的大戰略了。


第二,關注民生、重視人權。現代戰爭已經同過去的有很大不同,僅僅靠保衛一個國家或者一個民族的“民族主義”號召已遠遠不足以動員民眾與軍人去打贏一場戰爭。如果一個政府在民生問題上有失偏頗,甚至不公、不正,侵犯公民權利,那么民眾幫助“侵略者”入侵的事很有可能發生。實際上,這些年美國人無論是轟炸南斯拉夫,還是出兵伊拉克,幾乎都得到了當地民眾大量的支持。


抗日戰爭中,中國出現了大量的“漢奸”,固然必須譴責并追責,但我們卻始終沒有深刻反省一下,為什么會出現那么多“漢奸”?當時的政府貪污腐敗、忙于內戰,不把民眾當人,還橫征暴斂、強拉壯丁,他們和日本鬼子有什么區別?被日本鬼子欺負同被自己的政府欺負,真有很大的不同嗎?毛澤東說過,決定戰爭勝負的是人,而不是武器。這個顯然沒有過時。不記住這一點,一旦開戰,“漢奸”沒有了,但“帶路黨”恐怕多不勝數。


十八大三中全會中決定中首次提到政府應更多關注公民人權,并在進一步改革中,關注公正、公平,希望能夠真正做到。這也是一項大戰略。


第三,我把軍事裝備與現代化武器放在第三位,并不是說它不重要,尤其是我前面說的“小打靠武器”,中國目前在東海(同日本)以及南海(同菲律賓等)的沖突很可能是非常有限的戰爭,而這種小規模的戰爭依賴的只能是武器裝備。


目前由于日本有美軍的支持,中國在武器裝備上并不占任何便宜。在一場小規模的沖突中,中國甚至有可能輸得很難堪——中國同美國在小沖突上能夠用上的武器上的差距遠遠超過20年。相比來說,在大規模的沖突武器——例如巡航導彈之類的,差距反而沒有這么大。


當然,差距最小的是戰略武器,可以說幾乎沒有差距——因為摧毀一次同摧毀一百次并沒有什么實質區別。中國繼續發展現代化武器應該不是問題,問題反而是我們使用現代化武器的軍人是否在指導思想與管理上現代化了。


第四,在國際上盡量團結多一些朋友。當今的戰爭,很難只是兩個國家之間的,往往卷入更多國家甚至是兩個聯盟之間的爭斗。結盟的條件一是價值理念,二是經濟利益。在經濟利益上中國占優勢,有錢能使鬼推磨。但在價值理念上,中國屬于國際上有特色的極少數派。這些年雖然比較淡化意識形態,可千萬要注意,不能同朝鮮這種國際怪胎走得太近,否則會失去很多國家道義上的支持。再說,有了朝鮮這種朋友,你還需要敵人嗎?


我個人不支持任何形式的戰爭,也不認為戰爭是不可避免的,但積極應對,準備好打仗,往往是避免戰爭最行之有效的辦法。現代化的武器與軍事管理以及訓練有素的軍隊固然必不可少,但更重要的是一個國家的凝聚力,是民心。


楊恒均2013.12.18北京


2015-08-23 08:53

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