现阶段改善中美关系的三点建议

2021-07-12 07:34
中美关系40多年来历经了巨大变迁。最近几年,随着战略竞争加剧,两国关系不幸降到了历史低点,这一现实是当今任何人都不能忽略的。

中美关系如今的状态,源自美国在回顾多年双边关系基础上做出的错误判断,今年新总统拜登的上任也不会在短期内改变这种情况。
因此,现在最紧迫的任务是重新定义和承认两国不断发展的新关系,并设计一条新路径。毫无疑问,当前关键是双方都要加以管控,特别是通过理解,逐步克服或暂时搁置多方面分歧,同时通过对话和强化信任,争取两国可能的合作,把两国的战略竞争控制在一个可以被广泛接受的范围内。最近举行的中美战略对话是朝这个方向发展的一个良好起点,尽管开始可能是艰难的,但是却象征着未来进一步交流的可能。
1971年4月13日,中华全国体育总会举行欢迎仪式,欢迎前来中国进行访问的美国乒乓球代表团。中美两国乒乓球运动员在北京首都体育馆进行了友谊比赛。
在设计和磋商该框架时,双方都要冷静思考初心。“乒乓外交”就是中美关系发展历程的一个很好的标志性事件。正如今年除夕习近平主席与拜登总统通话时所强调的那样,双方应尽一切努力避免新冷战或热战。在利用一切可能条件寻找和扩大合作机遇与空间时,我们也需要清醒认识到,盲目地假定美国新政府将立即改变一切是没有根据的。
在如今中美关系恶化的背景下,两国寻求转机所需的举措是相同的,那就是勇气和战略愿景。从毛泽东、周恩来、尼克松和基辛格等两国老一辈政治家身上也可以找到这些特质。
习近平主席在谈到中美关系的未来时说:“我们有一千条理由把中美关系搞好,没有一条理由把中美关系搞坏。”历史是我们的老师,中美关系史一再告诉我们,这是千真万确的。两个大国全面对抗的代价将是灾难性的,不仅对双方是如此,对全世界而言也是一样。
不难想象,拜登政府在因调整美国外交政策而需解决各种问题时,将面临来自国内外的双重挑战。同样的,中美关系的调整也将受到美国国内因素的制约,如民粹主义、身份政治,以及著名日裔美国学者弗朗西斯·福山所说的“政治衰朽”等。
我认为,最重要的是,两个国家都要冷静下来,重新评估以下问题:我们现在正在哪里?我们如何走到这一步?如果不加以控制,我们又将走向何方?
在中美三四十年竞争与合作交织的历史进程中,合作始终占据主流。这一事实也在提醒我们,在历史上任何一个时间段,无论过去、现在还是未来,两国各自的战略总是,并且也将继续拥有很多重合之处。
例如,两国都希望解决紧迫的国内问题,不断改善人民生活。为此,两国都需要世界的和平与繁荣。中美都是世界大国,肩负着《联合国宪章》所规定的责任与义务,任重道远。随着国际力量对比更趋均衡,这种演进对中国等发展中国家有利,一种新的大国关系格局终将形成。
当然,最终的结果不是由一个国家来决定的,它必然会受到大国的战略愿景和相互作用的影响。如果中美两国对世界和平与经济发展拥有共同的战略远见,携手合作,世界的未来就会更加美好;而如果他们对彼此的战略和行动做出了误解误判,灾难将不可避免。
鉴于此,当务之急是正确认识到正在进行的竞争,并建立一个有底线的和可接受的规则框架,对这一竞争加以控制,以防止两国竞争演变为零和游戏,最终失控。对此我将提供三个建议:
首先,从底线思维出发,承认和厘清两国的竞争关系。未来是“竞争性合作”还是“合作性竞争”,能否找到并扩大合作空间,实现和平竞争,取决于双方对各自战略的重新评估,也取决于双方在现实中的政策互动。因此,零和战略不符合任何人的利益,只会把两国拖进一个容易发生冲突的“死胡同”。
在这个意义上,正如中美在阿拉斯加安克雷奇所展开的战略对话,无论多么困难,对话必须尽可能地经常举行。这正是习主席在致拜登的贺电以及随后的谈话中阐述的“希望双方秉持不冲突不对抗、相互尊重、合作共赢的精神”的内涵。我认为,双方应该尽量避免全面对抗,把重点放在可能合作的领域,其关键是管理好竞争的限度,这样才能使两国为促进双边关系健康发展而共同努力。
避免战争,就是对竞争加以管控的底线。
第二,正确认识两国的文化和意识形态差异,减少敌意,避免陷入意识形态之争的泥潭。目前,两国越来越多的民众对对方持负面看法。今年美国有民意调查显示,对中国持负面看法的人占比高达74%。由于受美国的单方面限制和疫情影响,两国人才往来和人文交流中断,甚至影响到想去对方国家留学的学生。
按意识形态区别,给不同国家贴上“自由民主国家”或“非自由民主国家”等标签的做法是完全错误的,没有任何实际意义。在美国两党精英中,有不少人习惯于戴着“有色眼镜”来看待与美国文化和政治制度不同的国家,他们对中国文化的无知,和犹太-基督教的文化“优越感”,往往导致对中国政治和社会制度的偏见。
1989年,时任美国总统里根称美国为“山巅上的闪耀之城”,言下之意是说美国是全世界的榜样。而如今,如果这一思维不做出改变,美国对中国的认知就会一次又一次地出现偏差,不可避免地走向误判和误解。零和博弈逻辑加上意识形态偏见,导致特朗普政府和拜登政府均在高科技领域排斥和压制中国。同时我们也注意到,美国、日本、印度和澳大利亚四方会谈机制演变成了一个针对中国的“印太四方联盟”,这是一条十分危险的道路。
最后,中美双方应就共同关心的问题或共同面临的挑战进行对话,并尽可能同时采取建立信任的务实举措,从而弥补信任赤字,寻找合作机会。这将在某种程度上为有序和平的竞争和可能的合作循序渐进地创造条件。
从中美关系几十年的稳步发展可以看出,中美不像一战前的英国和德国,也不像冷战时期的美国和苏联。面对快速而重大的变化,两国在以合作为基础,寻求战略契合点上也有许多成功经验。
没有人认为未来的道路会很平坦,但我们真的迫切需要两国的卓绝努力,管控竞争,相向而行,共同推动中美走向合作轨道。

以下为英文版

Caging Their Competition

By Yafei He

The Sino-US relationship is at a critical juncture now. It has witnessed huge vicissitudes over four decades and reached a historical low in the last few years, with the rising of strategic competition unfolding before our eyes. The misjudgment based on the United States retrospection about Sino-US relations over the years is not what China expects. However, it is not going to change any time soon.
The most urgent thing now is to redefine and recognize the ever evolving new relations of the two countries and design a new path forward. The key for both sides is to cage their strategic competition in a broadly accepted framework, by understanding and gradually overcoming or shelving their differences and striving for possible cooperation via dialogue and confidence-building measures. The Sino-US high-level strategic dialogue in Anchorage proved to be a good starting point in the direction of further dialogue, though the opening session was quite rough and tough.
In designing and negotiating a framework to constrain their strategic competition, both sides need to display cool heads. They should make every effort to avoid a new Cold War or worse a hot war, as emphasized by President Xi Jinping in his phone conversation with President Joe Biden. While finding and expanding the space for cooperation whenever and wherever possible, we need to be clear-headed that the new US administration will not and cannot instantly change everything.
What is needed to turn the tide in the worsening Sino-US relationship is courage and a strategic vision. On the future relations between China and the US, President Xi said there were a thousand reasons for better Sino-US relations and not a single reason to destroy it. The history of Sino-US relations has repeatedly told us that it is true. The cost of a full-scale confrontation between the two major powers would be catastrophic, not only for both countries, but also for the world.
It is understood that the Biden administration faces daunting challenges domestically and internationally in resolving all of the issues it faces in adjusting US foreign policy. Adjustments to Sino-US relations especially will be subject to US domestic constraints, propelled by populism, identity politics and the political decay as described by the US political scientist Francis Fukuyama.
However, it is worth remembering that over the past 30 to 40 years of Sino-US relations, cooperation has been the mainstream trend, and reviewing that trend offers reminders that there are and will be overlapping points in their respective national strategies. As the balance of power keeps evolving in favor of developing countries, a new pattern of major power relationships will eventually emerge. It is not up to one country to decide what it will be.
Should China and the US work together sharing the same strategic vision for global peace and economic progress, the future of the world will be much better. Should they miscalculate with misperceptions about the other's strategies and actions, disasters will be unavoidable. Given that, the present imperative is to recognize the ongoing competition and "cage" it in a framework with bottom lines and acceptable rules to prevent competition getting out of hand. As China often advocates countries "find commonalities while putting aside differences", I will offer three suggestions on how to proceed.
First, proceeding from the bottom-line thinking, the Sino-US competitive relationship should be acknowledged and clarified. Whether their future will be competitive cooperation or cooperative competition, and whether they can identify and enlarge the space for cooperation and realize peaceful competition hinge upon their reassessments of the other's strategies and on-the-ground policy interactions.
A zero-sum strategy serves no one's interests, as it will only lead the two countries into a conflict-prone dead-end. In this sense, strategic dialogue should be conducted as often as possible. This was precisely what President Xi meant when he emphasized in his congratulatory telegram to President Biden and during their conversation later, that China and the US must proceed in a spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. The two sides should focus on possible areas of cooperation. The key is to manage competition well so that the two countries can put efforts to promote a healthy bilateral relationship. The bottom line is avoiding war.
Second, the two countries need to have a correct understanding of their cultural and ideological differences to reduce hostility, and avoid sinking into an ideological quagmire. Currently, a growing number of people in both countries view each other with negative feelings. Unilateral restrictions by the US as well as the pandemic have brought bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges to a halt. It is simply not going to work by lining up countries in ideologically delineated camps with labels such as "liberal democracy" or "illiberal countries." Ignorance about Chinese culture and the sense of cultural superiority among some elites in both US political parties have often led to prejudices against Chinese political and social systems.
A zero-sum logic combined with ideological bias has led the US administrations of Trump and now Biden to exclude and suppress China in the field of high-tech. We have witnessed efforts to elevate the US, Japan, India, Australia - a dialogue forum - into an Indo-Pacific quadruple alliance against China. That is a dangerous and slippery path to follow.
Lastly, the two sides should start talking on selected issues of common interests or common challenges, while taking pragmatic confidence-building measures wherever possible, so as to patch up trust deficits and look for cooperation. This will create conditions one step at a time for an orderly and peaceful competition.
One lesson that can be drawn from the progress of Sino-US relations over the last several decades is that the two countries are not like the United Kingdom and Germany before World War I, nor like the US and former Soviet Union during the Cold War. The two countries certainly have many successful experiences in seeking points of convergence based on cooperation in the face of fast and fundamental changes.
The way forward will not be easy. China and the US need to make urgent and strenuous efforts to cage their strategic competition and promote further dialogue.




本文转载自微信公众号:人大重阳

作者:何亚非


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