Tuesday, October 21, 2014
17

即将到来的大西洋世纪

普林斯顿—美国正在崛起;欧洲正在稳定;两边日益密切。这是本月举行的一年一度的慕尼黑安全会议(MSC)放出的主要信息。MSC是各国国防部长、外交部长、高级军官、议员、记者和各领域国家安全顾问参与的高规格会议。

与会者主要来自欧洲和美国;事实上,这一始于1963年的会议一开始完全是北约成员国的内部会议。不过,今年巴西、中国、印度、尼日利亚、新加坡、卡塔尔和沙特的高级政府官员也参与其中,这是一个重要的时代信号。

美国参议员、2008年总统候选人麦凯恩(John McCain)一直是慕尼黑会议国会代表团领袖。通常美国政府还会派出国防部长或国务卿前去发表礼节式演讲,对欧洲人强调跨大西洋同盟的重要性。今年,副总统拜登亲自出马,使美国的阵容又升了一格。

此次MSC的另一特征是出现了一个非常规问题专家讨论会。这一问题便是“美国石油和天然气好运:变化中的能源地缘政治”。美国国籍能源事务特使兼协调员帕斯奎尔(Carlos Pascual)描述了“美国内部的能源革命”:天然气产量增加25%(这将拉低美国气价),石油产量足以将进口量-消费量比从60%降至40%,此外还将有10%的预计增量。

帕斯奎尔预测,到2030年,美国的所有能源需求都将在美洲内部解决。德国情报局(German Intelligence Agency)的一份最新机密研究认为,事实上,到2020年,美国便可能成为石油和天然气出口国,而目前它仍是世界第一大能源进口国。第一进口国的头衔可能会落到中国头上,后者将日益依赖中东。这还有一个额外的好处:美国天然气使用比重的增加将让美国碳排放量降至1992年水平。

专家组大谈美国制造业能源价格的下降如何会对美国经济的竞争力产生全面的积极影响,对美国前景如此看好,这在近来实属罕见。于是,美国的能源储备也变成了一块投资磁石。德国经济和技术部长罗斯勒说,许多德国公司已经转向美国,原因就是能源价格的下降。

同样重要的是,专家组还报告说,液化天然气将相对管道天然气变得更加重要,这将带来巨大的地缘政治效应。简单讲,如果天然气以液态方式出口,则将成为可替代的。换句话说,如果俄罗斯出于政治原因限制流向乌克兰的天然气量,但欧洲其他国家可以从别处获得天然气,那么它们就可以把自己的天然气通过波罗的海出口给乌克兰。

皇家壳牌公司主席奥利拉(Jorma Ollila)描述了页岩油气的全球储量分布图。乌克兰本身拥有欧洲第三大储量;其他拥有庞大储量的国家包括波兰、法国、中国、印尼、澳大利亚、南非、阿根廷和墨西哥。而美国已经超过俄罗斯,成为世界第一大天然气生产国。

所有这些数据引起了巴西外交部长帕特利奥塔(Antonio de Aguiar Patriota)的注意。在“崛起势力和全球治理”专家讨论组中,帕特利奥塔提到了这场能源讨论,并评论说崛起势力应该记住,“老牌势力并不是衰落势力”。简言之,西方崛起的流行观念一夜之间自我反转了。

欧洲一侧的前景似乎也更加光明了。在开场专家讨论组“欧元危机和欧盟未来”中,谨慎乐观随处可见。没有人认为欧元的麻烦已经得到了解决,但也没有人认为欧元区正在分裂。相反,德国财政部长朔伊布勒(Wolfgang Schäuble)明确表示,德国帮助欧元区走出困境的决心是坚定地。听众席上的一位经常预测欧元区解体的著名经济学家也很快更改了口风。

除了美国崛起(尽管财政乱象未除)和欧洲稳定(尽管共同货币危机尚在),此次MSC的另一特色是拜登的演讲。拜登所说的内容远远超过了美国决策者向欧洲各国做口头承诺的程度。拜登告诉听众,他和美国总统奥巴马认为“欧洲是我们参与世界其他事物的基石”,也是“我们全球合作的催化剂”。

拜登指出,“欧洲是美国最大的经济伙伴”,他提及专注于亚洲的奥巴马政府经常忘记的数字:“年贸易额6000亿美元,创造并维持了欧洲大陆和美国数百万个工作岗位;商业关系的总价值更是高达5万亿美元。”拜登继续指出,一周后,在国情咨文中,奥巴马将宣布开始“全面的跨大西洋贸易和投资协定”的谈判。

拜登的结论非常吸引眼球。“欧洲仍是美国不可分割的第一伙伴,”他说,“如果你们不介意我有些专横的话,我相信我们也仍是你们不可分割的伙伴。”如此强音反映了华盛顿的新态度。正如前国务卿希拉里·克林顿在其最后一系列外交政策演讲之一中所指出的,美国并未准备把重点从欧洲移向亚洲,而是联合欧洲面向亚洲。

西方前景正在转好,虽慢但是事实。欧洲和美国合起来占据世界GDP的一大半,拥有令其他势力望尘莫及的世界上最庞大的军队,还控制着不断上升的全球能源储备比重。它们还拥有可怕的外交和发展援助能力,代表着在权利、命运和全人类潜力方面存在共同目标的和平民主国家。

想象一下这一和平民主国家集团在拉丁美洲东海岸和非洲西海岸的扩张。说到底,这将是一个大西洋世纪。

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  1. Commentedhari naidu

    This lady is of course US centrist-mind and there is no way one can re-educate her at this point in time.

    Those of us who follow annual Munich Security Conference understand the focus is finally but slowly moving away from an Atlantic-centrist view of the world...to embrace emerging markets, and mainland China and India, in particular.

    Having retired as a global trade and development (EU) expert, I must remind her the next WTO boss will be a Brazilian (BRICS). Times are really changing and US and EU will have to focus on their (own) priorities while watching WTO take on issues which they might not necessarily desire at this international economic and financial cycle.

    Mind you US opposed the Brazilian candidate to replace Pascal Lamy.

  2. CommentedJacque Vilet

    She must be smoking funny cigarettes. How anyone can think that U.S. and Europe will become the economic power of the 21st century is not in the real world.

    U.S., Europe and Japan are mature markets --- and as consumer demand makes up majority of GDP I don't see how her prediction comes true.

    She sounds more like a politican then an economist. Why on earth was this published?

  3. CommentedOle C G Olesen

    Seldom it is to read such nonsense and political rhetoric !
    Talking sweet to the sick Auntie
    Recent events underline this ...

    But ofc the article represents the finest traditions of Mr Brezhinsky :
    http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/9709brzezinski.html

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0465027261/theatlanticmonthA/

    and the onslaught on individual and national freedom instituted by Global Megacorporations ... and their OWNERS

    I as a European do NOT want to be part of the diabolic imperialistic actions of a megalomaniac and fascistoid USA
    only acting for the PROFIT af a few persons ..who already OWN somewhere between 50 to 75 % of all there is to own in this world ... in spite of this STEALING the remaining wealth of citicens ... as we have wittnessed during the later years .... in order to ...DIS-EMPOWER the COMMON PEOPLE !

    These Companies :

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

    WHO .. are the owners ?
    WE KNOW !

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-federal-reserve-cartel-the-eight-families/25080

    Curiously above owners of the american dollar also are the majority shareholders in previously mentioned Mega-Corporations.. who own ...THE WORLD !

    And their Front-organisations ?
    We also KNOW :

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/03/naming-names-your-real-government.html

    The Hudson Institute was not on above list .. here a bit Info on WHO ..the Hudson Institute represents :

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hudson_Institute

    I as a European do not want to have the blood of Millions of Innocents on my hands ... as is the case for The UNITED STATES of AMERICA and the MULTINATIONAL MEGACORPORATIONS ...

    I have NOTHING in COMMON with these SATANIC ENTITIES !

    Geographically and Culturally I as a European have far more in common with RUSSIA and CHINA than a VULGAR and GREEDY MEGALOMANIAC UNITED STATES of AMERICA !

    China and Russia are also NOT BANCCRUPT as is the case for the USA where the latter only survives by STEALING the WEALTH of OTHER NATIONS including those of EUROPE
    and as a Nation IS the MAIN REASON behind the current European financial Woes .. by DEFRAUDING European Capital into buying WORTHLESS Ameriacan Financial debt instruments

    SO ..I say ... NO ... to an "Atlantic Century " .. we already have tried that .. to our DETRIMONY ... I prefer a EURASIAN Century .. which for any EUROPEAN who still can THINK ... is the only future worth considering

  4. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I really would like to believe in this fairy tale, as if it was true, it would bring good fortune to all, since in today's global, interconnected world if the main engines of growth, development found their direction and fuel again it would propel the whole system with them.
    Unfortunately though the fairy tale looks very much like the "Emperor's new clothes", and the truth is the emperor already looks naked if we look at the picture honestly.
    The "rising" in the US, and "stabilization" in Europe only happens on paper, and in those high powered meetings, nothing of it is felt on the streets, or in the homes of the actual population living in those countries.
    Unemployment, especially youth unemployment is rising, living costs, social inequality is rising, the previous social net supporting the weaker layers is disappearing, the debt burden is burying layer after layer, people in general are more depressed and empty than ever, and there is absolutely no sign of any change from their point of view.
    Only the cash flow, the financial infrastructure that is dealt with, but it has very little relevance to people, and it is cosmetic in nature, unable to change the fundamental system crisis.
    The significance of the "mighty military force" of the west is also becoming irrelevant in the age of long range missiles, defense shields, remote control drones and virtual warfare, none of the recent western lead wars, putting troops on the ground achieved any meaningful success, in truth they were all failures.
    The "newly found energy independence" has only relevance in terms of the over consumption, over production, constant proliferation, exploitative economic model, but this model is unsustainable and is collapsing, in truth for a normal, modern human life we do not need even the fraction of the energy we consume today, thus this hysteria about energy independence will lose its meaning very soon.
    In short there is no "coming Atlantic century" for multiple reasons. Most of the "signs" the article is based on are irrelevant, meaningless, moreover the world is a single, interconnected and interdependent network, either all of us pull through, by fundamental changes to our lifestyle and interrelations, mutually working together complementing each other, or we all sink deeper ad deeper into crisis until the suffering will force us to change.

  5. CommentedAndré Rebentisch

    Exactly that phrasing of Mme Clinton was quite alarming. As well as the patronizing tone of Mr. Biden. The phrase "remains" indicates withdrawal in the defense context.

  6. CommentedRobert Upshaw

    The growing trade and energy routes are on the Indian and Pacific rim. That's where the action is. R. Kaplan detailed this in his book Monsoon. Europe's position is the weakest of all.

    More: http://thepondsofhappenstance.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-hubris-of-europhiles.html

  7. CommentedAvraam Dectis

    .
    "have the largest military force in the world by many multiples"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It should be noted that while these Democracies are well armed, the USA, at least, is reduced to allowing large stalker gangs to openly poison people, some of whom have been openly poisoned for over 15 years while the police and government just watched.

    A Democracy that cannot use its millions of men under arms to protect its citizens or arrest its worst criminals is a Democracy in name only. It is really just a figurehead providing a pleasant illusion to cover up the fact that it is really a fractured entity with each splinter operating under rules and penalties that are unwritten and enforced by fear.

    See "gang staking" if any of this is news to you.

    In the USA, crime pays.
    .

  8. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    This essay is in sharp contrast to the forging reality that the center of gravity of the world's economic engine is slowly but steadily moving East.

    The gas bonanza has not seen gasoline prices move South, which is what the fundamental fallacy is that is yet to be explained, although natural gas prices have continued to move in the downward trajectory.

      CommentedAvraam Dectis

      .
      There is conjecture that speculation is artificially supporting energy prices.
      .

  9. CommentedAndrés Vallejo

    Buttressing all this optimism is only possible by relegating what should be our most pressing concern to a passing comment: "As an extra bonus, the higher US proportion of gas use has reduced US carbon emissions to 1992 levels." Even this cheer should be handled with care, as this interesting note explains: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/05/1275811/why-claims-about-reductions-of-us-carbon-dioxide-emissions-are-misleading/?mobile=nc

  10. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    The US will be completing a transition in Obama's second term from being the biggest dumb government in the world under Bush to a pretty sensible steward of a very strong private-sector dominated US economy. All the job growth in the US since 2009 -- five million jobs -- has been in the private sector. The US has rebalanced towards a more productive economy in a very strong way.

    A truly enhanced free trade area with Europe would integrate half the world's economy and probably contribute towards many European countries moving towards a more productive future.

    So there are two win-wins out there for Europe: integrate within Europe and integrate across and around the Atlantic.

  11. CommentedStepan February

    There has been lots of cheerleading by the Syndicate recently. First the rise of the robots, now this. Its like our public intellectuals are not the drivers of our destiny but just the headlights illuminating the next few yards of the road.

  12. CommentedMike Chu

    Isn't the West bankrupt and East the creditors? Or, does Biden know something we don't.

  13. CommentedShane Beck

    Demographics say otherwise- both the US and Europe have ageing populations, which do not bode well in welfare states. Of course Russia, China and Japan have the same problem so it will be interesting to see how each nation copes....

  14. CommentedJosé Luiz Sarmento Ferreira

    Maybe so, but the European Union is the only political entity in the World to have made Keynesian economic policies illegal. Member-States can be fined heavily for not inscribing anti-Keynesian rules into their Constitutions. This blatant ideological bias doesn't bode well either for Europe or for its partners.

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