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特朗普先生去中国

纽约—美国总统特朗普正在进行为期近两周的亚洲之行,访问日本、韩国、中国、越南和菲律宾。将中国放在整个旅程的中央很有意义,因为不管从战略上还是经济上,中国都是其中最重要的一站。

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朝鲜将是特朗普在华对话的一个重要主题,这主要是因为他指望中国领导人为美国解决朝鲜问题。这样的方针可以理解,因为朝鲜的大部分贸易都经过中国进行,而中国如果愿意的话,可以给朝鲜施加巨大的压力。

但特朗普可能会失望而归。中国不会同意尽全力施压朝鲜,担心这样会破坏朝鲜稳定,从而带来更糟糕的结果。讽刺之处是,中国的立场可能带来一个悲剧,放任朝鲜增加和提升其核和导弹武器可能加速奔向战争,或导致韩国、日本或两国均重新考虑无核立场。这些结果的任何一个都有悖于中国的战略利益;但和许多政府一样,中国领导人将避免短期的艰难决定,即使这会导致长期的不利结果。

朝鲜问题只是中美日程中诸多问题之一,此外还包括其他地缘政治问题(最主要的是南海局势和台湾的地位)。还有一些经济问题也需要解决,如中国不尊重知识产权、对出口导向型企业进行大规模政府补贴、限制市场准入、要求在华经营的外资企业向中国企业转让先进技术等。

因此,让这两个重要且强大的国家产生分歧的问题清单又长又难,预测双边关系将继续恶化的人的悲观态度又深了一层。悲观派所宣扬的观点之一是历史模式:崛起力量和老牌力量难免会互相竞争甚至打起来。

哈佛政治学家格雷厄姆·艾利森(Graham Allison)的新书聚焦于所谓的“修昔底德陷阱”。修昔底德是古希腊历史学家,他撰写了当时的超级大国——雅典和斯巴达之间的竞争关系编年史,两个城邦之间最终爆发了伯罗奔尼撒战争。艾利森将中国和美国代入其中,并将书起名为《注定的战争》(Destined for War)。

这些预测并不靠谱。它们低估了核武器的遏制效应,四十多年来,这一效应让美国和苏联之间的冷战没有变成热战。它们还忽视了美国和中国巧妙解决在台湾问题上的分歧的能力。外交能够、也必将产生作用;在国际关系中,没有什么是不可避免的。

事实上,美国和中国成功地保持着关系的相对平稳,尽管保持这一关系的原始理由——对苏联的厌恶——已经随着四分之一个世纪前冷战的结束而不复存在。此后所产生的深远的经济关系让两国都有能从保持良好关系中获益。考虑到中国需要外部稳定来追求经济发展,其领导人应该会保持相当的克制。

尽管如此,悲观派的关注点也不可等闲视之。毕竟,国家常常会做出不符合自身利益的事,或者自己无法控制的事。比如,中国领导人可能会因为经济放缓而表现得更加独断,以安抚国内民情,并利用美国从地区贸易协定退出所创造的机会。

兹事体大,二十一世纪的历史必将受到中美关系的性质的巨大影响。特朗普对中国的态度在批评贸易问题和赞美习近平主席之间摇摆,他需要在强调对贸易的合理关切和避免启衅贸易战之间实现平衡。而习近平需要判断他可以做出什么让步,即让美国来访者感到满意,又不会有损于他和中共在中国人民心目中的形象。

但朝鲜将是最大的考验。特朗普和习近平必须找到办法化解朝鲜半岛的危机——或者在外交努力失败、战争爆发的情况下,做好后果管理。如果发生了后一种情形,保证第二次朝鲜战争不会像第一次那样演变为中美直接冲突至关重要。此外,在保持控制朝鲜核材料方面,合作至关重要。所有这些都需要高超的外交技巧。真心希望特朗普和习近平能够尽快为此打下良好的基础。

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