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At the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June, Secretary of Defense James Mattis explained the United States' Indo-Pacific strategy, evolving from the desire for “a free and open Indo-Pacific” and the reality of “geopolitical competition” between two types of world order.

上月,美国防长马蒂斯在香格里拉对话会上以美国政府的名义全面阐述了美国“印太战略”。特朗普总统入主白宫后,政府高层先是鼓吹以“印太”取代“亚太”,提出“一个自由与开放”的“印太愿景”,继而发表《国家安全战略》阐述当前印太地区不同“世界秩序之间的地缘竞争”。如今,马蒂斯的演讲标志着美国“印太战略”正式落地。

The Indo-Pacific strategy contains four elements: Strengthening maritime security; enhancing military cooperation with allies and partners; underscoring the rule of law, civil society, and transparent governance; and advocating for development of a market-led economy. The ultimate goal of US Indo-Pacific strategy is, through joint applications of political, economic and military means, to contain China's rise and undermine China's influence so as to consolidate the US' dominant position in the region. In essence, the Indo-Pacific strategy is the continuation and upgrade of the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, a policy which was devised to contain China's development.

美国“印太战略”包涵四个方面内容:加大海上安全;强化与盟友和伙伴国的军事合作;加强法治、公民社会和透明治理;提倡市场引领的经济发展。美国推行“印太战略”的目标,是要在该地区采取政治、经济、军事等综合手段,遏制中国的崛起,削弱中国影响力,以巩固美国的霸主地位。从根本上来说,美国“印太战略”与“亚太再平衡”一脉相承,前者是后者的延续和升级,企图在更大的范围内遏制和堵截中国发展的势头。

It's natural for people to ask: Could the US Indo-Pacific strategy succeed? After a close examination of the strategy, it would be natural to say: It's easier said than done, and there are numerous obstacles ahead.

人们不禁要问美国“印太战略”能走多远,是否会达到预定的目标?仔细审视美国的“印太战略”不难发现,设想很美好,但现实很无情,前行的路上障碍重重。

First, each of the four core members of the Indo-Pacific strategy, namely, the US, Japan, Australia, and India, have different priorities in the region. So it's impossible for them to be devoted wholeheartedly to the US' strategy to contain China.

首先,核心队伍心不齐。在美国“印太战略”的四个核心国家中,日、澳、印与美不是一条心,各有各的利益诉求,很难拧成一股绳,实现美国遏华抑华的目标。

For Japan, its priorities are to underscore economic cooperation, to promote the connectivity of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa through free trade and infrastructure construction, and to a highlight rule-based order and respect for international law. Together with the US, it also wants to influence and interfere in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. It's pretty obvious that the Japanese also want to contain China. After the Trump administration implemented the “America First” policy, however, discord in US-Japan relations began to grow. At the beginning of this year, Japan moderated its anti-China policies and proposed promoting the Indo-Pacific strategy along with China's Belt and Road Initiative as the new foundation for China-Japan cooperation.

日本“印太战略”侧重于经济合作,意在通过自由贸易、基础设施建设和发展,促进亚洲、中东和非洲的互联互通,强调“基于规则的秩序”和“对国际法的尊重”。此外,还包括配合美国,对朝鲜半岛事务和中国南海问题施加影响与干涉。针对中国的一面不言而喻。然而,由于美国政府推行“美国优先”,美日关系出现龃龉。今年初日本调整其“逢中必反”的对华政策,提出要将其“印太战略”与中国主导的“一带一路”倡议联系起来并加以推进,使其成为中日两国新的合作基石。

Australia, saddled between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, has recognized the Indo-Pacific idea ever since the Julia Gillard government (from 2010 to 2013). The concept was even elevated to a national strategy, and has been referred to in its white papers on national defense and diplomacy since 2013. To some extent, the Australian foreign policy was guided by its own version of the Indo-Pacific strategy. For Australia, this is a two-sided strategy. On the one hand, it calls for strong and constructive relations with China, but on the other hand, it claims that China's rise poses challenges and calls on the US to maintain a presence in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia's diplomatic goal is to seek a balance in relations with both China and the US. As for the US version of the Indo-Pacific strategy, Australia, while showing its support, has also stressed China's role in solving global challenges and problems. Any move that might damage relations with China would not conform to the fundamental interests of Australia; therefore, room for Australia to adopt the US Indo-Pacific strategy is limited.

澳大利亚位于印度洋和太平洋两大洋之间,从吉拉德以来历届澳政府都认同“印太”概念,并将其上升到战略高度的层面,写入从2013年以来的所有国防和外交白皮书中。从一定意义上说,澳大利亚外交政策就是澳方的“印太战略”,它带有强烈的两面性:一面“致力于同中国发展强大和建设性的关系”,一面又渲染中国崛起带来的挑战,呼吁美国维持在印太地区的存在。在中美之间搞平衡是澳大利亚外交的最大公约数。对于美国“印太战略”,澳方的做法是在拥抱的同时,又强调“解决全球性挑战离不开中国作用”。搞坏对华关系并不符合澳大利亚的根本利益,澳方配合美国“印太战略”的行动空间有限。

In his keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that the Indo-Pacific is more of a geographical concept than a strategic one. He said, “India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country.” It was obvious that Modi's speech did not toe the line of the US Indo-Pacific strategy. India did not want to be the US' pawn and wanted to maintain its “strategic independent” policy so that it could maneuver among the big powers and maximize its interests. After his watershed meeting with President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, Modi adjusted its previous confrontational policy towards China and the two nations returned to the road of friendship and cooperation.

印度总理莫迪在香格里拉对话会发表主旨演讲,强调“印太”是一个地理概念而不是一个战略概念。他说,“印度不把印太地区视为一个战略、一个排他性的俱乐部或者一个寻求主导权的集团。我们也绝不会认为它是针对任何一个国家的。”显然,莫迪讲话与美国“印太战略”并不合拍。印度不可能被美国收编,成为其马前卒,印度仍将继续维护其“战略自主”政策,游走于大国之间,从各方得到好处。以习近平主席与莫迪武汉会晤为标志,印度政府调整了前一阶段与中国对抗的做法,两国关系重新走上合作友好的道路。

Furthermore, the US does not have convincing reasons to pursue its Indo-Pacific strategy. Mattis repeatedly mentioned the militarization of the South China Sea islands in his speech as a reason for the need to contain China, even as all countries with claims in the South China Sea remained silent about it. When the Obama administration started to pursue the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, it also used the South China Sea as an excuse to sow discord and raise regional tensions. Now, it's completely different. Tensions relating to the South China Sea have been eased, calm has returned to the region, a trend of positive development has emerged, and all parties concerned have returned to the correct track of settling disputes: through consultation and negotiation. The US attempted to rope Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia into its Indo-Pacific strategy, but few responded positively. Interestingly, the US, Japan, Australia, and India all stressed that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations play the central role in effectuating the Indo-Pacific strategy, but ASEAN has never actively supported it. The main reason behind this is the waning creditability and leadership of the Trump administration.

此外,美国推行“印太战略”缺少抓手。尽管马蒂斯讲话中屡屡提及南海军事化,但是南海争端声索国家对此集体失声。奥巴马政府推行亚太再平衡,以南海争端为抓手,挑拨离间,导致地区紧张局势高烧不退。而现如今,南海地区形势已明显降温趋稳,并呈现积极发展的态势,有关各方回归通过谈判磋商解决争议的正轨。美国积极拉拢越南、菲律宾、印度尼西亚参与“印太战略”,但应者了了。有意思的是,美日澳印都强调要发挥东盟的中心作用,但东盟对美国“印太战略”却三缄其口,关键原因是特朗普政府公信力和领导力下降,有关各方意见不一,对美国“印太战略”很难形成一致看法。

Lastly, the Trump administration's “America First” policy has added uncertainty to the United States' application of its Indo-Pacific strategy. It believes that the US has been treated unfairly and ripped off by other nations. Under the “America First” principle, therefore, the Trump administration aims to ensure that defense spending is be shared by its allies; to impose extra tariffs on all, including its allies; and to impose “secondary sanctions” relating to the Iran nuclear issue and the purchase of Russian weapons. The “America First” policy not only harms the world, but also makes its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region concerned and worried. This would fundamentally disrupt the US plan for the implementation of the Indo-Pacific strategy, and make the debut of the strategy difficult.

更重要的是,“美国优先”增加了美“印太战略”实行的不确定性。特朗普执政的主基调是,在“美国优先”原则下,聚焦美国遭受不公正待遇,被别国占了便宜,要大幅度提升盟国军费份额;不分亲疏征收高额关税;就伊核问题和采购俄制武器实施“二级制裁”等。“美国优先”不但令世界很受伤,也让印太盟国和伙伴国忧心忡忡。这从根本上搅乱了美国“印太战略”部署,使其陷入了起步难的困境。

In a word, the future of the Indo-Pacific strategy is dim, and it will not be able to successfully disrupt peace and development in the Indo-Pacific region. However, all should be on alert and be prepared for any arms race instigated by the US in the region.

综上所述,美国“印太战略”前景暗淡,改变不了印太地区和平与发展的大势,但对于美国在本地区扩军备战,必须保持警惕并有所准备。

文章来源:中国日报英语点津

图片来源:视觉中国

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