Sunday, November 23, 2014
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奥巴马的中东之误

巴黎—美国总统奥巴马欢迎美国驻伊拉克军队回国、盛赞伊拉克实现了稳定和民主的话音未落,那里就出现了前所未有的暴力——不管是巴格达还是别的地方——表明伊拉克陷入了严重的政治危机。这场危机是一个不幸的意外,还是奥巴马的中东外交政策——从埃及到阿富汗——的大溃败的表征?

奥巴马甫一上台,就提出了关于中东的四大目标:在撤军前稳定伊拉克局势;在于巴基斯坦达成最低限度的政治一致的情况下以优势地位从阿富汗撤军;敦促以色列总理内塔尼亚胡冻结定居点计划从而取得中东和平进程的重大突破;以及与伊朗就其核计划展开对话。就这四大目标而言,奥巴马所取得的成绩不可不谓微小。

在伊拉克,自乔治·W·布什上台以来,美国就一直在努力对什叶派势力施加影响,从而让伊拉克能够建立更加包容的政治体系——特别是通过一项新的法律,在什叶派、逊尼派和库尔德人之间分享石油出口收入。不幸的是,事情的进展与美国的初衷正好相反。

库尔德地区在朝自治的方向前进,而逊尼派受到宗教色彩强烈的、由什叶派主导的威权中央政府的排挤,日渐被边缘化。这对地区实力平衡产生了影响,因为伊拉克为了对抗被视为逊尼派保护者的土耳其而与伊朗越走越近。

伊拉克总理马利基最近在访问华盛顿时说,比起伊朗,他更担心土耳其,这显示伊拉克和美国之间存在巨大的分歧,而美国现在已经在伊拉克事务上不再有重大的政治影响力了。事实上,由于进展不尽人意,美国已决定不动用对付马利基的底牌:军售。

事到如今,毫无疑问占领伊拉克是美国的重大战略失误,因为其最终效果只是坐大了伊朗。但奥巴马并没有处理这一严重情况的中期规划,而迟早会给美国带来沉重代价。

对以石油出口制裁为手段牵制伊朗将产生积极效果并削弱伊朗,或者牵制手段失败,让美国不得不在中东开展,两者必居其一。或许美国外交政策圈中有人把伊拉克危机的深化视为军事干预伊朗的借口。

但奥巴马还没有愚钝到如此程度。他已经注意到了美国国会对伊朗的敌对态度和对伊朗伊斯兰共和国采取军事手段的意图。但是,他认为,他可以避免极端手段;在外交上,什么都可能发生,最坏的情形未必就是唯一的可能。

问题在于,奥巴马总是有高估美国对弱势行动者施加影响的能力的倾向。在伊拉克发生的事情同样适用于阿富汗:清除本·拉登足以成为奥巴马引以为傲的功绩,毫无疑问,这是一项成就,但这项成就并没有除掉问题的根源。美国入驻阿富汗整整十年,派出了超过10万的军队和花掉了5 500亿美元,仍然没有打造出受人信任的塔利班替代者,反而丢掉了政治盟国巴基斯坦。

事实上,美巴关系已经退回了2001年9月11日之前的水平,当时,两国之间弥漫着相互不信任的情绪。巴基斯坦领导人显然对这一状态负有重大责任。但美国无法将巴基斯坦纳入解决阿富汗冲突的方案中,其失败是美国拒绝满足巴基斯坦要求的明证:牺牲印度,改变地区实力平衡。

相应地,巴基斯坦冻结了与美国的合作,因为其领导人看不到与塔利班打仗的好处。问题在于,当美国开始从阿富汗撤军时——该进程将在明年提出,从2014年开始实施——它将重新开始对巴基斯坦采取制裁,因为巴基斯坦是一个不可靠的有核国家,可能倒向中国并开展伊斯兰恐怖主义作为回应。

奥巴马还寻求利用美国的影响力解决以色列-巴勒斯坦冲突,作为其大中东战略的一部分。一开始,他认为向内塔尼亚胡施压,要求他冻结定居点计划就可以让和平进程重现生机。但是,他的盟友很快便巧妙地算计了他,因为内塔尼亚胡知道,以色列问题在美国国内政坛属于不可承受之重。内塔尼亚胡把奥巴马置于美国其他势力的对立面,迫使他让步。

2009年,奥巴马认为可以通过国际社会的强力承诺解决冲突。2011年,他宣称只有双方又有意愿,才能保证出现成功的结果。显然,美国对于解决冲突并无多少办法。

奥巴马在中东问题上一再失策,其原因不一而足,但其中有几个因素值得关注:不对称冲突数量上升,传统军事干预已不再奏效;盟友越来越难对付,敌人越来越强硬,两者之间的界线越来越模糊;中间派的美国总统和史上最极端国会之间存在重大政治分歧,等等。

但奥巴马本人也颇有失策之处。与人们所设想的相反,他并没有一幅关于全世界的战略图景,这一短板可以从他一碰到反对的声音便迅速妥协一窥端倪。奥巴马总是能拿出方案,但永远不会有备选方案。但要在外交政策上获得成功,只做一手准备是不够的。

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    1. CommentedPaul A. Myers

      Obama is not and has not failed. Bush failed. As a consequence, Obama is engaged in a major foreign policy reconfiguration in the Middle East and South Asia that will last well into the middle of the decade.

      First, to "contain" requires that active military forces be disengaged from the region. You "contain" from the periphery. When you get your conventional land forces out, then your sea and air power have greater leverage.

      As to a so-called Middle East peace process concerning Israel, that was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future simple political theater. Israel thinks that it can contribute to Obama's defeat in the presidential election and that its reward will be continued de facto control of the West Bank. This will probably set up some future crisis of unknowable proportions and consequences. But that decision is being made by the Israeli government, not Obama.

      The United States has a lot fewer "vital interests" in the region than its previous commitment of forces and money would indicate. Once its commitment is scaled to the level of its real interests, then the United States will be in a better position to protect those interests.

    2. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      I would take the last paragraph as an example:

      "...But Obama himself bears a large part of the blame. Contrary to what one might think, he does not have a real strategic vision of the world – a shortcoming reflected in his quick capitulation in the face of opposition to his proposals. Obama often has a plan A, but never a plan B. When it comes to conducting a successful foreign policy, plan A is never enough..."

      It is true not only about Obama, but about everybody. That Obama is less successful than his predecessors is not his fault, but it is due to how the world has changed.

      Every leader and in fact every human being only examines each situation from a subjective, self calculating point of view, we only allow in information about any situation that interests us, that we can profit from. Each personal, national and international conflict is assessed and solved this way, the only time people, or nations connect is when they have some mutual benefit from the connection.

      Previously this very short sighted, subjective vision could be partially successful as the world was still fragmented, polarized and those temporary alliances, double crossings could yield some benefit for the big players.

      But today the world has become completely round, interconnected and interdependent. If I touch one part of the network that brings immediate changes on the other side, and if my initial action is negative the negative action comes back to me multi fold.

      Today the only way we can achieve success in anything from diplomacy to economics is if before any planning or action we take into consideration the whole system with all of its elements, and their weaknesses and strength. Whether we like it or not we are mutually responsible for each other not because or morality or ethics, or because we are such angels, but in an integral system my success and prosperity depends on the well being of everybody else.

      When diplomacy starts to resemble such a scenario, when leaders will have such "strategic vision" than we will have a true chance for lasting peace all around the world.

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