“美国世纪”走进历史,“后美国时代”已经来临(中英文版)

2017-09-13 05:17

许多学者都在为今天我们到底生活在一个怎样的时代而辩论不休,其实答案是显而易见的。我们已经步入了“后美国时代”(Post-AmericanEra),这意味着所谓“美国治下的和平”(Pax Americana)与“美国世纪”已经走进历史。我们不仅在目睹一个新时代的到来,而且也注意到这一划时代的进程是加速进行的,这已经导致世界秩序发生了翻天覆地的变化。

 

习近平曾表示,站在人类历史的高度来说,这个世界正在进入“一个大发展、大变革、大调整时期”。这个新的历史时期以“美国治下的和平”和美国世界霸主地位的终结作为其开端,如果一定要明确这一新历史时期的确切起始时间的话,也许就是2008年,全球金融危机在这一年爆发,造成了灾难性的政治经济影响。

 

 

另外,2017年可以看成是全球向“后美国时代”加速前进的历史起点。随着世界各国进行调整以适应新时代的现实,未来国际关系又会呈现出哪些主要特点呢?

 

新自由主义秩序下的经济不平等造成民粹主义崛起

 

在21世纪的头十年里,美国被迫调整其战略目标,将“全球反恐战争”列为其国家任务的重中之重。这十年里爆发了阿富汗战争、伊拉克战争和2008年全球金融危机,美国的软实力和硬实力都受到严重削弱。基于这一原因,奥巴马政府提出了“亚太再平衡”战略。由于美国始终把中国作为其主要战略对手,对中国的遏制手段已经从被动的军事威慑逐渐演变为主动的介入,美国介入的涉华事务从南海到东海,从中印关系、中日关系到中国-东盟关系等不一而足。

 

第二,全球化正在经历前所未有的转型,“再全球化”(re-globalization)将成为“后美国时代”的另一个重要特征,支持全球化和反全球化双方的交锋将比以往更加激烈。

 

具有讽刺意味的是,美国逆潮流而动,为民粹主义和反全球化强力发声,特朗普决定退出事关气候变化解决进程的《巴黎协议》就是一个明证。“美国优先”原则本身并不值得批判,可一旦以牺牲其他国家利益为代价追求所谓的“美国优先”,就会给国际社会带来严重问题。

 

美国的这种“角色转换”进程与“后美国时代”同步开始,国际社会必须予以密切关注,因为美国的“角色转换”决定了这个国家将在世界秩序转变过渡时期发挥怎样的作用。

 

应当注意的是,这种“角色转换”不仅限于美国。2016年,英国通过全民公投做出将欧洲一体化进程置于险境的“脱欧”选择,此时民粹主义候选人也开始在欧洲大陆现身了。

 

上世纪50年代开始的这一轮全球化进程为全世界带来了长达70多年的经济繁荣,其核心理念是资本自由化,即资本应流向经济增长最需要的地方。可令人遗憾的是,资本总是流向利润更丰厚的领域,在这一过程中所造成的社会不平等被彻底无视了。

 

导致世界各地民粹主义泛滥的一个关键因素是贫富差距日益扩大。为了更好地分配全球化所带来的利益,必须在市场效率和社会公平之间保持良好的平衡。而政府和其他重要社会参与者必须将这一责任承担起来,市场本身是不足以实现这一功能的。在经济新自由主义者眼里,市场、资本和私有化高于一切,这导致以这一思路来指导经济发展的国家陷入了严重的困境。

 

 

“后美国时代”有哪些特点?

 

“后美国时代”最明显的特点便是全球力量平衡的重塑。“大汇合”(Great Convergence)这一国际货币基金组织基于购买力平价法创造的新词汇已经成为现实。

 

“大汇合”的含义是:从1990年到2022年,高收入国家GDP占全球的比重从64%将下降到39%,在同一时期,亚洲新兴经济体和发展中国家GDP占全球的比重从12%将上升到39%,这其中仅中国就将占到全球GDP的21%。在美国国内为其经济发展方向辩论不休时,新兴经济体却在持续成长。看来,“大汇合”这一概念将成为新时代的标志性特征之一。

 

此外,为全球经济增长与政治进步提供指导方针和社会思想环境的意识形态与理论正在发生根本性变革。随着经济新自由主义以及作为经济改革药方的“华盛顿共识”的破产,政治经济领域指导方针的缺位在过去10年里一直困扰着世界各国。人们渴望出现新思维、新范式、新思路和新的全球治理行动计划。在这一背景下,世界各国的目光日益转向东方,特别是转向中国。

 

在“后美国时代”,中国成为全球焦点并非毫无理由。不可否认,中国已经从上世纪70年代的一个贫穷国家发展成今天的世界第二大经济体,中国的GDP将不可避免地超过美国。但全球关注中国不仅因为中国创造了经济奇迹,还因为中国采取了而且至今仍然在坚持着的、独一无二的经济发展模式。

 

鉴于中国已经取得巨大成功,在全球治理过程中,中国更加积极主动地发挥了领导作用。中国对全球自由贸易的不懈支持,以及它在落实巴黎气候变化协定(无论是否有美国参与)过程中所起到的决定性作用,这两者便是中国在“后美国时代”扮演负责任、有担当大国角色的例证。

 

结合中国自身与全球化的实际情况,习近平主席将马克思主义思想的某些方面融入国家治理与全球治理的思考之中,这代表着全球治理的未来趋势。这一思路在世界各地获得了越来越多的支持,使美国和西方国家推行的基于资本主义的意识形态相形见绌。全球思潮的这种转变是“后美国时代”的另一个显著特征。

 

特朗普总统的前首席战略顾问史蒂夫·班农(Steve Bannon)在习近平主席达沃斯演讲以及特朗普总统就职演讲后表示:“比较两位国家元首的演讲,你会发现两种完全不同的世界观”。

 

亨利·基辛格(Henry Kissinger)博士更加概括性地指出当今国际体系正在经历400年未有之大变局,他认为上一次国际体系发生结构性巨变还是在1648年,那一年威斯特伐利亚条约(Treaty of Westphalia)签署生效,该条约结束了欧洲的“三十年战争”。

 

兹比格涅夫·布热津斯基(Zbigniew Brzezinski)呼应基辛格的看法并评论道:“全球力量中心已经从大西洋两岸转移到远东地区”。随着世界秩序持续改变,“后美国时代”将把世界带进美好的未来。同时,由于地缘政治风险随“后美国时代”到来有所增加,我们也将不得不面对不确定性和潜在的不稳定性。

 

虽然世界已进入“后美国时代”,但美国在未来数年内无疑仍将是全球最强大的国家。“美国治下和平”的终结并不意味着美国已经失去全球领先地位,只不过这个世界将不再是美国主导的单极世界了。美国对“美国世纪”终结以及“后美国时代”来临的反应与之前的霸权国家并无不同,这个国家对现实视而不见,继续挥舞“美国优先”和“美国例外论”的大旗,拒绝接受“美国治下的和平”正在走向崩塌。由于上述心态影响着美国的主流社会思潮,随着中国和其他新兴国家实力快速增长、影响力急剧上升,美国的战略焦虑感也日益严重,这促使美国政府使用更多战略资源以抗衡对自身主导地位造成威胁的国家。

 

中国将如何面对“再全球化”?

 

中国一直坚定不移地支持全球化和再全球化。过去几十年里,中国在这一方面体现了坚强的决心、付出了坚定的行动,而全球化也让中国受益良多。通过将市场规律与政府指导相结合,使市场和政府双方发挥不同但互补的作用,中国成为在市场效率与社会公平之间取得平衡的为数不多的几个国家之一。

 

能够说明中国致力于全球化与再全球化的最好例子来自过去5年里习近平主席提出的一系列关于全球治理的原则、理论、政策和思路。其中的“一带一路”倡议、支持构建以联合国为核心的多边主义和全球伙伴关系网络都说明中国希望构建一个更强大的国际社会。“共享”是表达共同发展与共同繁荣原则的关键词,这有助于解决全球化造成的贫富差距问题。

 

最后,在“后美国时代”,我们将面临维护世界和平与安全的挑战。这一挑战主要来自如下几个方面:地缘政治冲突、大国对抗以及全球安全架构整体机能失调。

 

日益增加的地缘政治以及大国之间可能发生的对抗需要所有相关国家以高超的政治智慧付出不懈的和平努力才能找到短期乃至长期的解决方案,这其中尤其应避免所谓的“修昔底德陷阱”(ThucydidesTrap)。基于这一思路,中美两国通过国家元首间的频繁对话以及举行不同级别的磋商在双方之间实现了基本的互相理解。

 

另外,美国及其盟国构成的全球安全体系发生了机能失调并有逐渐解体的迹象,这将成为新时代里一个特别严峻的问题。美国及其军事盟友数十年前设计并维持的这一军事联盟体系已经千疮百孔,而且已经与我们今天生活于其中的这个相互依存的全球化世界格格不入。在另一方面,虽然联合国安理会(the UN Security Council)是唯一在全球享有权威的维护世界和平与安全的机构,这个国际集体安全体系却时常被迫偏离轨道或遭到无视。

 

中国提出的构建全球伙伴关系网络的理念是建立在开放和平等前提下的,旨在通过政治、经济等各方面的全方位合作形成更加有效的集体安全维护机制。截至2016年底,中国共与97个国家和地区机构建立了各种类型的战略伙伴关系(strategic partnerships)。这一新的安全合作机制有着巨大潜力,已经受到众多国家的欢迎。

 

总而言之,“后美国时代”已经来临,而且这个时代将持续相当长一段时间。在当今这个世界上,我们面临着在逻辑上呈递进趋势的三重挑战:全球化危机、持续不断的全球经济危机以及地缘政治危机。这些挑战也许尚未发展到恶化的程度,但如果我们继续无所作为,它们也许将演变成人类无法承受的巨大灾难。世界秩序正在向更加平等公正的方向演变,而全球治理体系必须对此做出相应的反应和调整。现在是所有国家(尤其是大国)认真对待这些全球性挑战的时候了。

 

以下为英文版:

 

Arrival of the “Post-American Era”

 

Many scholars argue about what era we live in now, but the answer is clear and simple. Wehave entered a “Post-American Era,” meaning that the so-called “Pax Americana”and the American century is over. We are witnessing not just the arrival of the new era, but also a quickening pace of the epoch-making process. As a result,the world order is undergoing a dramatic metamorphosis. Chinese President XiJinping said that from a historical perspective, mankind is moving into a new era of great development, great changes, and great readjustments. This new era begins with the end of Pax Americana and its accompanying U.S. domination of the world. If we had to pin down a watershed year that points to the start of the new era, it could possibly be 2008, when the world financial crisis broke out with devastating economic and political consequences. 2017 could also be in the running as the point at which the on-going process of global transformation into the Post-American Era began. As the world adjusts to the realities of this new age, how did we get here and what are the major characteristics for future global relations.

 

A rise in populism due to economic inequality of neo-liberal order

In the firstdecade of the 21st century, the U.S. was forced to reprioritize its strategic objectives with the “global war on terror” on top of the list. With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a financial crisis all in one decade, America suffered huge loss in both hard and soft power. For this reason, the “Asia-Pacific Rebalance” strategy surfaced in the Obama administration. With China always asits main target, the U.S. stance changed from passive military deterrence to active involvement—from the South China Sea and the East China Sea, to China’s relations with ASEAN, Japan, and India.

Globalization has undergone unprecedented transformation, and “re-globalization” will be an important feature in the Post-America era, with forces both for and against globalization battling on a collision course with a higher degree of intensity than before.

Ironically, this time around, the U.S. has reversed course and become a strong voice for populism and anti-globalization. President Trump’s decision to dump the Paris Agreement on climate change is a typical case. “America First” by itself is nota problem, but when it is pursued at the expense of other countries, it will create a serious issue for the international community. This “Great Role Reversal” began at the start of the Post-American era and must be closely observed as it determines what sort of role America will play in the transitional period of a shifting world order. It is important to note that such a role reversal is not limited to North America; populist candidates have also emerged in Europe, beginning with the U.K.’s mid-2016 referendum to leave E.U., which placed the European integration project in jeopardy. 

This round of globalization, beginning in 1950s, has brought economic prosperity to the world for more than seven decades. The liberalization of capital is a center piece of this ideology where capital should be made available where it is needed most for economic growth. Unfortunately, capital invariably goes where profits are greater, ultimately disregarding the social inequality it creates along the way. 

One critical factor that has fueled populism all over the world is the widening gap between rich and poor. The balance of market efficiency and social justice needs to be maintained for a better distribution of benefits of globalization. That responsibility must be borne by governments and other important actors in society; it is futile to rely on market alone to do the job. Economic neo-liberalism places market, capital, and privatization above everything else and has caused extensive harm to the economies of many countries that adopted it as its guiding economic ideology. 

What are the characteristics of a Post-American Era?

The most obvious characteristic of a Post-American Era is a reconfiguration of the global power balance, with developing nations gaining strength year by year. The so-called“Great Convergence,” a phrase crafted by the IMF on the basis of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), is becoming a reality. IMF predicts that the GDP of high-income countries would drop from 64% to 39% of the world’s total. In the same time frame, the GDP of Asian emerging economies and other developing countries would rise from 12% to 39%, with China comprising 21%. As America continues to debate the direction of its economy while emerging countries grow,it appears the “Great Convergence” concept will be a defining aspect of this new era.

Moreover, the ideological and theoretical framework that typically provides guidelines and matrices for global economic growth and political progress is fundamentally shifting. With the collapse of economic neo-liberalism and its “Washington Consensus” recipe for economic reform, the ensuing void of overarching political and economic principles has been troubling countries for the last decade. Mankind is yearning for new thinking, new parameters, new ideas, and new plans of action in global governance. Increasingly, the world’s attentionis turning east, specifically, toward China.

There are many viable reasons for China to become the focus of the world in the emerging Post-American Era. It cannot be denied that China rose from a poor country in the 1970s to the second largest economy today, and inevitably could catch up to the U.S. in terms of its GDP. But global attention is not solely because of the economic miracle China created, but rather the unique model of economic development China adopted and still embraces.

Given this success, China has been more proactive in playing a leadership role in globalgovernance. China’s consistent support for global free trade and its decisive role in promoting the Paris Agreement on climate change—with or without American participation—are a few examples of China doing the heavy lifting as are sponsible power in the Post-American Era.

Offering profound insight into the future of global governance, President Xi’s thoughts on both domestic and global governance, developed with aspects from Marxism combined with the reality of China and globalization as a whole, have become increasingly popular in many countries over the capitalist-rooted ideology of the U.S. and the West. This shift in global thought is another salient feature of the Post-American Era.

Even Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Trump, noted after PresidentXi’s speech at Davos and President Trump’s inaugural speech that, “comparing[the] two Presidents’ speeches, you will find two entirely different worldviews.” Henry Kissinger said more generally that the international system is going through its most fundamental changes in 400 years, recalling the last structural change to be the 1648 signing of the Treaty of Westphalia that concluded the Thirty-Years War in Europe. The late U.S. national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski echoed Kissinger’s words, commenting that, “The center of global power has transferred from both sides of the Atlantic to the Far East.”

As the world order morphs, the Post-American Era holds the promise of a better future while also bearing uncertainty and the potential for instability due to a concurrentrise in geo-political risks.

The U.S. will nodoubt remain the most powerful country for years to come. The end of PaxAmericana does not mean the U.S. has automatically lost its top position in the world—only that the world is no longer unipolar. America’s reaction to thearrival of the Post-America Era is no different from previous hegemonic powers.It ignores the reality and continues to wave the banner of “America First” and“American Exceptionalism,” refusing to believe the Pax Americana is beginningto crumble. The U.S. anxiety over the growing power of China and other developing nations has prompted it to redouble its efforts to counter balance these rising powers.

How is China approaching“re-globalization”?

On both globalization and re-globalization, China will continue to provide steady and sturdy support. China has benefitted a great deal from globalization, and isone of the few countries that has successfully maintained a good balance between market efficiency and social justice, with the market and the government each playing different yet complementary roles.

The best example to illustrate China’s devotion to globalization and re-globalization is its series of principles, doctrines, policies, and ideas on global governanceproposed by President Xi Jinping in the past five years. Among others, “the Belt & Road Initiative,” multilateralism with UN at its core, and a global partnership network are designed to build a stronger international community.“Sharing” is at the heart of the idea of common development and common prosperity that can address the issue of the gap between rich and poor.

The Post-America Era will have to face the challenge of maintaining peace and security for the world. There are two main aspects defining this challenge: geopolitical entanglements and risks of major power conflict, and the overall dysfunction of the international security infrastructure.

The increasing geopolitical entanglements and possible confrontations among major powers require political wisdom and persistent peaceful efforts by all countries involved to find both short-term and long-term solutions. In particular, the so-called Thucydides Trap should be avoided. In this vein, China and the U.S.have reached a basic understanding through frequent dialogues between heads of state and other consultations at various levels.

Additionally,the slow disintegration and dysfunction of the global security system based on military alliances between the U.S. and its allies are posing problems. The system designed and maintained by the U.S. and its military allies decades ago has frayed and is incompatible with the globalized and interdependent world in which we now live. On the other hand, with the UN Security Council as the sole globally mandated organization to maintain world peace and security, the international collective security system as such has often been side-tracked orignored.

China has proposed the idea of knitting a network of global partnerships that is open andequal in nature in order to foster more effective collective security through cooperation on all fronts. So far, China has established different  kinds of strategic partnerships with other countries as well as regional organizations, totaling 97 by the end of 2016. This new vision of security cooperation offers great potential and has been welcomed by many countries.

In sum, the Post-American Era hasarrived and is here to stay. Our world of today facing triple challenges, on top of one another: geopolitical crises, the crisis arising out of globalization, and the continuing world economic crisis. They may not be dire yet, but if nothing is done in these areas, they could likely evolve into dramatic calamities. The world order is nevertheless shifting towards a fairer,more equal direction. The global governance system has to adjust accordingly.It is time for all countries, major powers in particular, to take these global challenges seriously and act carefully and forcefully.

 

本文英文版刊于8月21日“中美聚焦”网站,中文版刊于9月13日观察者网

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