Sunday, November 23, 2014
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再筑欧洲之梦

普林斯顿——欧元危机似乎和最近伊丽莎白女王的即位五十周年庆典没有关联。事实上,这两件大事共同给世人上了重要的一课:正面故事的力量——失去两者中的任意一个都不可能成功。

历史学家西蒙·莎马在评论五十周年庆典活动河选美和马巡游时,在BBC采访中谈及到“小船只大想法”。最具意义的想法是英国王室摒弃过去繁琐的仪式和以往丑陋的政治色彩,将国家的过去与未来接轨。国王和女王的传统恢复到一千多年前的水平——一贯的皇冠和马车象征,曾经作为文字上化身而现在成为英国化身的英语,通过这次平民化的旅行把英国人联系在一起。

犬儒主义者或许会把这称作陈旧的面包与马戏俗套。但重点在于把大众的眼球和注意力吸引到有关希望与目标的故事上——去提高公众的意识,而不是分散他们的注意力。希腊人,西班牙人,葡萄牙人和其他欧洲国家真的应该去开展强加于它们身上的节俭计划,仅仅因为德国遍国的智者和其他北方国家认为它们国家的人既放荡又懒惰?那些只是攻击性的说话,只在需要团结和分担责任是才会说出,以产生对对方的憎恨和分歧。

尤其是希腊,如今需要从过去步入到未来,但这个国家没有现成的王室。作为世界上首个民主发源地,希腊需要的是其他表示振兴国家的象征,而不是权杖和长袍。是荷马让西方的读者首次接触地中海世界的:它的岛屿和海岸,人们由外交,贸易,婚姻,食油,酒和大船联系起来。希腊可以用它现在面临的危机去开拓新未来,再次成为上述世界的支柱。

这样的构想是貌似是最为可执行的。在东地中海的天然气田估计有高达122万亿立方英尺的蕴藏量,这足够供整个世界使用一年。在希腊的爱琴海和爱奥尼亚海海岸发现更多的天然气和油田,足够改变希腊的财政收入和整个地区的经济状况。以色列和塞浦路斯正计划联合开发:以色列和希腊正讨论建管道,土耳其和黎巴嫩正在勘探;埃及正计划申请批准勘探。

但政治,往往都会干涉经济。所有涉及到的国家都面临海事争端和政治分歧。土耳其人正和北塞浦路斯人合作,成为塞浦路斯主权独立的唯一承认者,并时不时就以色列与塞浦路斯共和国希腊族塞浦路斯人政府进行军事演习作出威胁。希腊族塞浦路斯人定期在于土耳其交易时劫持欧洲人质,希腊也这样做。土耳其人则不会让塞浦路斯的船只驶入他们的海港,自从九个土耳其公民在试图冲破以色列对加沙地带的封锁的船只上被杀,土耳其再没有和以色列进行口头上的条件谈判。黎巴嫩和以色列并没有建立外交关系。

总的来说,富人,工作,以及会从各国负责的能源勘测带给该地区所有国家的发展机遇,可能会被封锁,因为就公平分配和否认敌国勘测渠道问题各方存在固执立场。

地中海能源共同体因此作出似乎仍然注定是白日梦的构想。然而六月份迎来了巴黎公约的六十周年纪念日,当时在法国,德国,意大利,比利时和荷兰之间建立了欧洲煤矿和钢铁共同体(ECSC),卢森堡在二战结束仅仅六个月之后也加入了该组织。在之前的70年间,德国和法国在三个毁灭性战争中共同作战,其中后两场站在摧毁了欧洲的经济,大幅减少了其人口。

这些国家之间的相互憎恨和猜疑绝不逊于折磨东地中海的国家憎恨和猜疑。但法国外交部部长罗伯特舒曼在他的参赞让·莫内的辅佐下,在德国军队撤离巴黎仅仅五年之后,宣布ECSC在1950年的计划,目标是让“不仅仅要消灭发起战争的念头,还要在物质上让战争变得不可能”。舒曼提议法德煤矿和钢铁生产都在共同高级公署的管理下开展,借此阻止双方利用原材料相互发起战争,并借此让两国的共同工业经济体繁荣。ECSC成为了欧盟现今的核心。

现在,欧盟岌岌可危,但在欧洲各国领导人采取的具体措施中,只有小部分有可能打开相对大胆的外交政策之门,让欧盟和地中海经济体恢复经济以及转变欧洲和亚洲的能源政策。如果欧洲国会和欧洲理事会准备采取行动让欧盟和遵循多数投票方式而非讨论达成一致(因此被塞浦路斯否决)的北塞浦路斯交易,欧盟将可以和北塞浦路斯开始通商贸易,土耳其总体上也会跟塞浦路斯开展贸易。这些措施会促进土耳其,塞浦路斯和希腊的能源合作伙伴关系形成,从而让此关系积极鼓励土以双方的和解。

舒曼计划花了两年时间才成型,经历了十年时间去执行。但它带给了被战争撕裂和贫穷到让人绝望的欧洲一个对新未来积极构想,这都是希腊,塞浦路斯,更不用说中东和北非国家所急切需要的。欧洲领导人若通过冷酷无情地要求公民一味节俭,是不可能克服此次危机的。他们必须采取具体措施,全心全意,平等地对待希腊这位伙伴,创造一个真正能从恢复活力的欧盟中获得收益的展望。

欧盟没有伊丽莎白女王。它需要的是另一位舒曼和莫奈。

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    1. CommentedAndré Rebentisch

      "Are Greeks... really supposed to embrace an austerity program imposed on them.." - What is so difficult to get when financial markets grant bonds junk status? "Carrots without stick" would be irresponsible for all sides, as is biting the hand that still feeds.

    2. CommentedGary Techentien

      This lady of Princeton, this former Director of Policy Planning for the Department of State at the Obama White House, writes blithely of how the traditions of a thousand year monarchy in Britain as manifested in the Queen’s recent Jubilee enables the people of Britain to form a vision of the future and to, as she puts it, “fix eyes and hearts on a narrative of hope and purpose – to uplift, rather than distract.” Without belaboring the point that, from where I sit, parties like the Queen’s Jubilee are very much intended to distract every bit as much as they are meant to uplift, Professor Slaughter gives the illustration to reinforce the point that to lack such a positive narrative, makes “winning” impossible. She doesn’t say what kind of winning she’s talking about, although I find her choice of operative verb to be intriguing. She chooses “winning” instead of, say, “advancing” “developing” “becoming” “building” or “succeeding”. More on the curious word choice later.

      The upshot on her characterization of the Queen’s party as inspirational is that not only does she choose not to call it the obvious propaganda that it is, she writes as if oblivious of the fact that she is invoking a symbol of empire. It never apparently occurs to her that the august monarchy she sees as providing that “uplifting…positive narrative” was—particularly during the years of empire from the late 15th through the mid 20th centuries—wont to beat untold wealth out of its colonial possessions like a brute master beating work out of a listless slave, while on the home front, the people wearing those very crown jewels and riding in those very carriages Professor Slaughter extols colluded with their captains of industry to ruthlessly exploit the labor of the lower classes throughout the dark and smoke palled industrial revolution. By pointing this out I don’t mean to contend that the British people didn’t wind up loving their monarchy. They did and do, the damn fools. So yes, I appear to be one of those cynics Professor Slaughter anticipated might call the Queen’s Jubilee the “old bread-and-circuses routine.”

      I don’t think she’s so naïve as to think the Queen’s party wasn’t propaganda. But I do understand why she doesn’t want to seem so cynical herself. She’s held an important office in the U.S. empire and so she must not mention such things if she wishes to retain her privileged position.

      Still, she says something that it seems might get her into hot water with her official connections at State. She asks, “are Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, and other Europeans really supposed to embrace an austerity program imposed on them because prevailing wisdom in Germany and other northern countries considers them profligate and lazy?” This is a radical thought because, as the Germans are quick to point out, the Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and others borrowed the money and they need to pay it back and the interest too. Hence, Professor Slaughter’s statement seems a little rad for two reasons: First, she thinks the obligation to pay arises from how the Germans see the southerners as profligate and lazy; second, she thinks the debt ought to be forgiven for that reason. If you’ll pardon me, her take on this seems a little naïve, maybe even a little disingenuous. The German cultural impressions of the debtor countries is irrelevant to what the German's see as the duty of those countries to pay and the debt ought to be forgiven because to enforce its payment would press the debtor countries into too much misery.

      Next Professor Slaughter gets to the point of her article: the Greeks, Turks and Cypriots could all get a mojo going for the future if they got together and developed their common offshore natural gas reserves. The upshot is that these countries could all profit if they’d find some way, through good faith and diplomacy, to work together in their common interest, and who can disagree with that? Not me.

      Still, the essay bugs me. From its tortured imagery through its obliviousness to presence of EMPIRE in everything it discusses to the choice of the word “winning” to describe what the article assumes in the opening paragraph we all want to do. The type of international cooperation the article suggests is essentially the process of working together toward a common good, which I like, and yet Professor Slaughter chooses to characterize that process by applying the word “winning” to it.

      What is being won? A positive outcome. If such an outcome were to happen, wouldn’t the process really be more one of a building, a creating, a crafting? While the word “win” now is often used as a kind of synonym for things like creating, building or crafting something in the sense that the thing created was won from alternative outcomes that were not so positive, it nonetheless has its roots in contests where entities compete and some win while others lose. Professor Slaughter paints a scenario of Greek-Turkish-Cypriot gas development as a win-win situation, although she ignores the obvious environmental costs of extracting and consuming any fossil fuel.

      I can’t help but be made uncomfortable by our culture’s overweening worship of the idea of “winning” and of Professor Slaughter’s use of it in this essay when there were other better words available. It says something about what the deeper problem is in our society, that we compete too much, that we preserve the perquisites of the winner and, to greater or lesser degrees, ignore the difficulties that result to the loser. As a result of that, we get wealth flowing like rivers to the top of our hierarchical society while the lower levels grow pale and anemic.

      Professor Slaughter occupies a position high in the hierarchy, close to the headwaters of power. And yet, she would forgive the Greek and Spanish debt. She probably wouldn't be making statements like that if she were still at State. But maybe so. It’s enough to suggest some hope.

    3. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

      A brilliant article and the reference to building partnerships as opposed to playing the same 'austerity' melody harmonized by a 'bail-out' movement looming at large.

      Eastern Coal and Steel Community and the vision of the Mediterranean Energy Community have a lot in common and deference, but a lot to differ as well. The stumbling block for this to succeed, is the lack of vision itself and common sense, which is left in the lurch, for good reason that only time will tell.

      The success of ECSC happened at a time when the world of finance and bond markets had not taken shape and speculation was yet to take root in the annals of forex transactions or even the word 'GDP' was unknown in common language; leadership brought down barriers, whether in trade or in homes and the rules of the market was not hijacked by the powerful for an uncommon good.

      A brilliant attempt to recast our thoughts.

      Procyon Mukherjee

    4. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      Although I do not think the British monarchy works the way the writer describes, this historical connection probably working for a day or two around celebrations, or soccer World Cups, but I agree with her conclusion that only positive motivation is capable of providing people with the drive that is sustainable, requires no trickery or coercion.
      Moreover the motivation has to come from ground up, and not top down as before, in the forms of "great speeches", great leaders urging their masses into something, but we need a motivation everybody understands, feels, and lives through.
      Otherwise it will not work, but we will continue stumbling from crisis to crisis.
      And such positive, general motivation could unite people and drive them to build a fundamentally different human system, that is moving away from excessive consumerism, making decision only based on self calculation, self profit, where people become capable of considering the whole above the fragmented, polarized details, above individual priorities.
      So what can give us such motivation?
      A global, integral education/information sharing program for all, helping all of us understand that the system we evolved into, this global, interconnected network, where a small change on one end of the globe shakes the whole as one, and that we live on top of finite resources and within a fragile natural system, so based on the general understanding with our undisputed talent and ingenuity we could build our new structure that adapts to our 21st century conditions.

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