中国究竟是强是弱?

发自加利福尼亚州欧文市——中国政府最近使用了不同寻常的强硬语调来宣示其对有争议的国际水域所拥有的主权。这导致了一系列紧张态势,尤其是在中美之间,对此美国国务卿希拉里强调说奥巴马政府正准备介入以确保对南中国海争端的公平裁定。而中方发言人则对此表示谴责,认为这无异于回到那个美国自以为可以,甚至应该尝试去“遏制”中国的年代。

其中一种解读中国不断升级的措辞——及其对美韩军演的强硬回应——的套路就是认为这显示出中国领导人目前极度自信并试图展示其实力。但事实其实更为复杂,通过更仔细的分析,我们会发现中国国家主席胡锦涛的言行举止其实是一种缺乏安全感以及骄傲自大的混合体,而中国官员则经常在夸大或是掩饰中国的崛起之间游移。

当然,有时候中国领导人确实看上去春风得意并且乐于四处炫耀。即便在最近的外交争端中,中国领导人也很喜欢将自己的经济刺激计划与奥巴马的相比较,显示自己在对抗金融危机方面效率如何之高。

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