Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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7

旧事重演

纽约——回顾2012年注定要关注世界三大区域:欧元区以及似乎无休无止的金融动荡;中东剧变,包括但不限于穆斯林兄弟会在埃及执政和已经夺去60,000多人生命的野蛮叙利亚内战;还有亚太地区,在经历数十年异乎寻常的经济增长和政治平静后,民族主义和政治紧张局势逐渐抬头。

但究竟什么能够成为2013年的主题?很大程度上正如法国人所津津乐道的那样,万变不离其宗。因此,我们可以准确地预测出欧洲仍将面临困难,特别是南欧国家为使财政政策与实际经济能力相匹配,不得不努力削减公共开支。

今年与去年不同的是,法国有可能取代希腊和西班牙成为风暴的核心。这可能给二战后一直处在欧洲核心地位的与法国对等的德国带来根本、甚至是生死攸关的问题。欧洲经济即使实现整体增长也将微乎其微,这一大概率事件将使政府、银行和地区机构官员面临更加棘手的问题。

同样,中东仍处在革命过渡阶段的初期。几乎可以肯定,未来一年埃及总统穆罕默德·穆尔西仍将在位,但他如何运用权力——以及由此造成的埃及政治经济局势却远没有那么清晰。最近在新宪法起草问题上的分歧显示了社会严重分裂,政府似乎将多数统治和民主制度混淆在一起。

相反,叙利亚总统巴沙尔·阿萨德的政权很可能在今年年底前被赶下台。但就像我们在该地区其他国家所看到的那样,事实证明建立起良性有效的制度要困难得多。教派内战可能成为主旋律,不同的反阿萨德团体之间也可能爆发战争。巴林和约旦也切实存在着剧变的可能性。

最后,亚太地区摩擦非但不可能减少,而且极有可能增加。我们不能忽视中国与某邻国(无论是日本、菲律宾还是越南)发生军事摩擦的概率,亚太地区外交是否能够承载这样的重压还有待观察。中、日、韩等国众多新领导人上任让未来更加变幻莫测。

2013年我们还能期待些什么?一种令人沮丧的可能性是促进贸易、减缓气候变化或管理网络空间的全球努力极有可能前功尽弃。全世界193个联合国承认国的绝大多数面对面谈判协议这种大规模多边主义已经很难实现。相反,我们可以期望的最多是特定政府达成小规模协议,或协议解决部分全局性问题。

如何对待伊朗核计划也许是世界所面临的最严峻的挑战。伊朗已经备齐了制造核武器所需的条件。与此同时,不少国家实行的制裁正严重影响到伊朗的经济。

有迹象表明伊朗国内在是否继续核武器研制问题上的争论越来越激烈。制造核武器在毁灭经济的同时还可能带来军事打击,为避免出现这种后果不如接受外交妥协。这样的协议将限制伊朗核活动,并促使它以开放的姿态接受前所未有的国际检查。

因此能否达成让伊朗可以承受、同时也不超过美、以和其他国家忍受限度的谈判结果很可能会成为今年的首要问题。但有一点可以肯定,那就是能否避免对伊朗采取军事行动将对2013年做出最根本的定义。

还有一个国家需要加入“不可测因素”列表,这个国家就是美国。这里的关键在于美国政治制度能否应对其所面临的挑战,这些问题曾因美国的参与而趋于恶化。美国仍然是全世界排名居首的经济和军事强国,但其偿付能力问题质疑了它的行动和领导能力。华盛顿最近发生的事件一直不太令人满意。今后一年,而且是未来十年甚至更长时间的全球发展将在很大程度上取决于美国能否很好地管理其国内挑战和分歧。

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  1. CommentedLeo Arouet

    Debe esperarse que más adelante se incrementen los conflictos debido a un mayor poder económico de las sociedades emergentes. En Asia, vemos que al poder económico le sigue el poder militar inevitablemente y que este poder es una forma de prestigio que eleva la autoafirmación nacional. Este camino ha seguido Japón, antes, a mediados y después de la segunda guerra mundial. Y ahora lo hace China.

    En Oriente Próximo, la cosas están en Stand By, debido a la lucha de ideas que se está produciendo; entre los valores e instituciones liberales y las formas tradicionales de vivir de cada sociedad y que están estrechamente ligadas con la religión.

  2. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    The problem of Iran is greatly exaggerated. Iran could and can be contained. The cost of a military attack by the US would be enormous and the benefits small. At any future "final" decision point, an "attack" will never pencil out.

    In contrast, Pakistan, with its 50 nuclear weapons, is always under-exaggerated by the international foreign policy community. The struggle between its Supreme Court and its premier, the struggle between its intelligence service and everyone else, the armed confrontations going on with India in Kashmir, the threat of another Mumbai -- and on and on, should say to any rational observer that the threat to the world community from Pakistan is somewhere between 100 and 1000 times the threat posed by Iran.

    So I suspect that by the end of 2013, the confrontation with Iran will be a non-event. The larger problem is that in the Middle East and South Asia, the possibility for very large unfavorable events is simply excellent.

    I would say that the correct strategy for the US and the world community at large would be to "contain and divide" and not let conflicts conflate into something larger, which would be most likely "world changing."

  3. CommentedCarol Maczinsky

    I think the doom mongering gets the situation wrong, the real trouble is in the US given the current debt figures. Europe seems pretty stable all drama aside, and tightens its ordo for the future.

  4. CommentedJoshua Ioji Konov

    The existing diversity in the European Union is not preventing it from economic growth, but the lack of economic structures to accommodate and expand business diversity (noise): the relying only on Productivity and Investment along the Transnationals to solve all economic issues the theory of trickle-down economics so much accepted by the EU as their guide line by which only by reduced public expenses and lowering corporate taxes plus reducing consumer and labor protection may bring investment and much expected economic growth, theory that does not perform at all. The wrong direction to where EU is heading has been well shown by the negative economic results... to improve it the direction must be changed... http://joshuakonov.wordpress.com/

  5. CommentedShane Beck

    Europe will probably delay things until the mid year German elections, but by the end of 2013, they will have to decide whether to cut the weaker members loose or integrate more fully, in effect running national economies from Brussels.
    The United States is a basket case. A dysfunctional political system, an aging baby boomer population that will fight to the death against any cuts to their welfare system, a national debt that is astronomical, the politicians will do what they have always done- kick the can down the road. The only question is how long will the Chinese bondholders let them? Probably as long as it is worthwhile to park their money in US treasury bonds, reduce their exposure to a US default or give them leverage with the US in Asian Pacific disputes over such issues such as the Spratlys and Senkaku Islands, or a combination of all three.
    The biggest issue in 2013 is the Chinese-Japanese relationship. The government sanctioned anti-Japanese sentiment in China has forced Japan to rethink it's economic relationship with China, increase its defence spending and seek closer diplomatic ties with nations such as the Phillipines and India.

  6. CommentedHamid Rizvi

    Frankly 2013 is going to remain a year of confusion and chaos. And sure the middle East will remain as turbulent as ever to include Israel. I am not sure of which political chaos you speak of in Asia, the run of the Mill Asian chaos is not Chaos this is how they get things done.

    The biggest challenge will not be Iran or its nuclear ambitions. The biggest challenge may come from China and Russia. However, the political and social instability in the US is going to rise and frankly continue to rise for years to come. I really think we will see an acceleration in reverse migration.

  7. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    Actually what I expect from 2013 that we stop thinking in terms of regions, nations, and individuals and start sensing a truly global, interconnected, common human network, wrestling with the same global problems, feeling any financial, economical, social, environmental influence, impulse cursing through the whole system from one end to the other affecting everybody.
    Humanity will finally start feeling like a school of fish caught in the same net, understanding that to escape they all have to work together, stop pulling in their individual or national direction and start working for the common goal, the well being of the whole system.
    Achieving such sensation is crucial for our future survival, as we exist exactly in such an interdependent system.

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