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2022.05.09 地缘政治从西方向东方的转移

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发表于 2022-5-10 08:15:17 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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By Invitation | Russia, Ukraine and China
Senior Colonel Zhou Bo says the war in Ukraine will accelerate the geopolitical shift from West to East
The more popular it becomes to join NATO, the more insecure Europe will be

May 9th 2022

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IF THE ENEMY of my enemy is my friend, is the enemy of my friend also my enemy? Not necessarily. Or so China’s thinking goes when it comes to the raging Russian-Ukranian war. On the one hand China is Russia’s strategic partner. On the other, China is the largest trading partner of Ukraine. Beijing therefore tries painstakingly to strike a balance in its responses to the war between two of its friends. It expresses understanding of Russia’s “legitimate concerns” over NATO’s expansion, while underlining that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected”.

Such carefully calibrated neutrality may not be what the warring parties really want, but it is acceptable to both. If China joins the West in condemning Russia, it will be much applauded in Washington and most European capitals. But it will lose Russia’s partnership. And it is only a matter of time before America takes on China again. The Biden administration’s policy towards my country is “extreme competition” that stops just short of war.


Obviously, the conflict in Ukraine has done tremendous damage to Chinese interests, including its Belt and Road initiative in Europe. But Beijing sympathises with Moscow’s claim that the root cause of the conflict is NATO’s inexorable expansion eastward after the fall of the Soviet Union. All Russian leaders since Mikhail Gorbachev have warned of the consequences of such expansion. Russia feels that it cannot allow its Ukrainian brethren to leave Russkiy mir—the Russian world—to join another camp. If NATO looks like Frankenstein’s monster to Russia, with new additions here and there, Vladimir Putin probably believes he must slay the creature.

The future of Europe is not hard to fathom. Mr Putin’s all-out war against Ukraine has failed. Precisely because of that, he will fight until he can declare some sort of “victory”. Presumably this will involve Ukraine’s acceptance that Crimea is part of Russia, its promise not to join NATO and the independence of the two “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk. The challenge is whether Russian troops are able to control Donbas after occupying it.

A protracted war looks probable, if not inevitable. The situation bears similarities to the one in Afghanistan during Russia’s war there in the 1980s. An American-led alliance sent endless weapons to the mujahideen who managed to bog down and exhaust the invading Soviet soldiers.

Thanks to the crisis, a brain-dead NATO has revived. In February Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, created a special €100bn ($105bn) fund for defence and announced that his country would spend 2% of its GDP on defence every year—a NATO guideline. It will beef up the alliance and bolster the idea of European “strategic autonomy” (little more than a French slogan until now).


The irony is that the more popular NATO becomes, the more insecure Europe will be. If Finland joins NATO, as looks likely, the alliance’s troops would be a stone’s throw from St Petersburg. The Kremlin has warned that such a move would end the “non-nuclear status of the Baltic Sea”. This could be a bluff. But who knows? If NATO’s worst fear is that Russia might launch a tactical nuclear attack, then why keep poking Mr Putin in the eyes? Europe’s security, now as in the past, can only be achieved with Russia’s co-operation.

In recent months speculation abounded that Beijing and Moscow’s “unlimited” partnership—announced during Mr Putin’s visit to China in February for the Winter Olympics—might usher in a military alliance. But the war in Ukraine has inadvertently proved that Beijing and Moscow’s rapprochement is not an alliance. China didn’t provide military assistance to Russia. Instead it provided humanitarian aid and money to Ukraine twice, including food and sleeping bags, and has pledged to continue to “play a constructive role”.

One reason behind the Sino-Russian non-alliance is that it allows a comfortable flexibility between two partners. And in spite of the fact that China and Russia both call for a multipolar world, a non-alliance suits them because they see such a world differently. Mr Putin’s Russia is nostalgic for the heyday of the Soviet empire. (He lamented its demise as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.) Russia sees itself as a victim of the existing international order. By contrast China is the largest beneficiary of the rules and regulations of global commerce and finance made by the West after the second world war. China has a huge stake in safeguarding the existing international order. This is why, despite ideological differences and even tensions sometimes, China has at least maintained robust economic ties with the West. Neither side wishes to sever them.

How America can focus simultaneously on two theatres—the Indo-Pacific and war in Europe—remains to be seen. Joe Biden had hoped to put Russia policy on a “stable and predictable” footing in order to focus on America’s Indo-Pacific strategy. The war in Ukraine undoubtedly will distract America’s attention and syphon away resources. It will further hollow out Mr Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which already has too many aims and too few tools and not enough supporters. The question is for how long Mr Biden will allow Ukraine to remain a distraction. In a region where China is the largest trading partner of most countries, even America’s greatest allies wouldn’t wish to sacrifice their relationship with China for the benefit of America.

Is the Russia-Ukraine war a turning point that heralds new global disorder? Rumour has it that when China’s Premier Zhou Enlai was asked what he thought of the French Revolution of 1789, he supposedly said that it was too early to tell. But perhaps it isn’t too early to say that the war in Ukraine will accelerate the geopolitical and economic shift from the West to the East. China standing in the centre matters all the more, and it should stand firm as a stabiliser.

Senior Colonel Zhou Bo is a retired officer of the People’s Liberation Army and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, Beijing and a China Forum expert.



应邀参加|俄罗斯、乌克兰和中国
周波大校说,乌克兰的战争将加速地缘政治从西方向东方的转移
加入北约越受欢迎,欧洲就越不安全

2022年5月9日


如果我的敌人的敌人是我的朋友,那么我的朋友的敌人也是我的敌人吗?不一定。或者说,当涉及到汹涌的俄乌战争时,中国是这样想的。一方面,中国是俄罗斯的战略伙伴。另一方面,中国是乌克兰的最大贸易伙伴。因此,北京在应对其两个朋友之间的战争时,竭力寻求平衡。它表示理解俄罗斯对北约扩张的 "合理关切",同时强调 "所有国家的主权和领土完整必须得到尊重"。

这种小心翼翼的中立态度可能不是交战双方真正想要的,但对双方来说都是可以接受的。如果中国与西方一起谴责俄罗斯,在华盛顿和大多数欧洲国家的首都会得到很多掌声。但它将失去俄罗斯的伙伴关系。而美国再次对中国下手也只是时间问题。拜登政府对我国的政策是 "极端竞争",仅止于战争。


显然,乌克兰的冲突对中国的利益造成了巨大的损害,包括其在欧洲的 "一带一路 "倡议。但北京同情莫斯科的说法,即冲突的根本原因是北约在苏联解体后不可阻挡地向东扩张。自戈尔巴乔夫以来,所有俄罗斯领导人都对这种扩张的后果提出了警告。俄罗斯认为,它不能允许其乌克兰兄弟离开Russkiy mir--俄罗斯的世界,加入另一个阵营。如果北约在俄罗斯看来就像弗兰肯斯坦的怪物,在这里和那里添加了新的成员,普京可能认为他必须杀死这个怪物。

欧洲的未来不难猜测。普京先生对乌克兰的全面战争已经失败。正因为如此,他将一直战斗到他能宣布某种 "胜利 "为止。据推测,这将涉及乌克兰接受克里米亚是俄罗斯的一部分,承诺不加入北约以及顿涅茨克和卢甘斯克两个 "共和国 "的独立。挑战在于俄罗斯军队在占领顿巴斯后是否能够控制它。

一场旷日持久的战争即使不是不可避免的,也是可能的。这种情况与20世纪80年代俄罗斯在阿富汗的战争期间的情况类似。以美国为首的联盟给圣战者组织送去了无穷无尽的武器,他们设法使入侵的苏联士兵陷入困境并疲惫不堪。

由于这场危机,一个脑残的北约已经复苏了。2月,德国总理奥拉夫-肖尔茨(Olaf Scholz)创建了一个1000亿欧元(1050亿美元)的特别国防基金,并宣布他的国家每年将把其GDP的2%用于国防--这是北约的准则。这将加强联盟的力量,并支持欧洲 "战略自主 "的想法(直到现在也不过是法国的一个口号)。


讽刺的是,北约越受欢迎,欧洲就越不安全。如果芬兰加入北约(看起来很有可能),那么该联盟的军队就会离圣彼得堡近在咫尺。克里姆林宫警告说,此举将结束 "波罗的海的无核地位"。这可能是一种虚张声势。但谁知道呢?如果北约最担心的是俄罗斯可能发动战术性核攻击,那么为什么要一直戳普京先生的眼睛?欧洲的安全,现在和过去一样,只有在俄罗斯的合作下才能实现。

最近几个月,人们纷纷猜测,北京和莫斯科的 "无限 "伙伴关系--在普京先生2月访问中国参加冬奥会期间宣布的--可能会迎来一个军事联盟。但乌克兰的战争无意中证明,北京和莫斯科的和睦关系并不是一个联盟。中国并没有向俄罗斯提供军事援助。相反,它两次向乌克兰提供人道主义援助和资金,包括食品和睡袋,并承诺继续 "发挥建设性作用"。

中俄不结盟背后的一个原因是,它允许两个伙伴之间有舒适的灵活性。尽管中国和俄罗斯都呼吁建立一个多极世界,但不结盟适合它们,因为它们对这样一个世界的看法不同。普京先生的俄罗斯很怀念苏联帝国的全盛时期。(他哀叹其灭亡是20世纪 "最大的地缘政治灾难")。俄罗斯认为自己是现有国际秩序的受害者。相比之下,中国是第二次世界大战后西方制定的全球商业和金融规则和条例的最大受益者。捍卫现有的国际秩序对中国有着巨大的利益。这就是为什么尽管有意识形态上的分歧,有时甚至是紧张关系,中国至少与西方保持了强有力的经济联系。双方都不希望切断它们。

美国如何能同时关注两个战场--印度洋-太平洋地区和欧洲的战争--还有待观察。乔-拜登曾希望将俄罗斯政策置于一个 "稳定和可预测 "的基础上,以便专注于美国的印太战略。乌克兰战争无疑将分散美国的注意力并吞噬资源。它将进一步掏空拜登先生的印太战略,该战略已经有太多的目标和太少的工具,没有足够的支持者。问题是拜登先生将允许乌克兰继续分散注意力的时间有多长。在一个中国是大多数国家最大贸易伙伴的地区,即使是美国最大的盟友也不希望为了美国的利益而牺牲他们与中国的关系。

俄乌战争是一个转折点,预示着新的全球混乱吗?有传言说,当中国总理周恩来被问及如何看待1789年的法国大革命时,据说他说现在说还为时尚早。但也许现在说乌克兰战争将加速地缘政治和经济从西方向东方的转移也不算太早。站在中心的中国更加重要,它应该作为稳定器站稳脚跟。

周波大校是中国人民解放军的退役军官,北京清华大学国际安全与战略研究中心高级研究员,中国论坛专家。
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