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Every US foreign intervention is a gift to China – ex-president of UNSC

聯合國安理會前主席:美國每一次對外干涉,都是給中國的一個禮物



The US trade war against China is putting the global economy and world order to the test. Which side has more to lose? We ask Kishore Mahbubani, former president of the United Nations Security Council.

美國針對中國的貿易戰,給全球經濟和世界秩序帶來考驗。哪一方會失去更多?我們詢問了聯合國安理會前主席Kishore Mahbubani。

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Sophie Shevardnadze: Mr. Mahbubani, it’s really great to have you in our show. Welcome. So lots to talk about. We’re going to start with your book. You believe that the Western global domination is over. Your latest book that we have displayed here is actually titled “Has the West lost it? A provocation”. I have a couple of questions regarding the title right away - why has the West “lost” it? To who has it lost it? And what has it lost - the knowledge, the understanding of the global processes, or the economic might and domination?

Sophie Shevardnadze:Mahbubani先生,很高興能邀請您參加我們的節目。歡迎。要討論的東西可真多。我們將從您的書開始說起。你認為西方的全球霸權已經終結。我們現在展示的這本書,《西方輸掉了嗎?一次挑釁》,是您的最新著作。根據標題,我現在有幾個問題:為什么西方“輸掉”了?輸給了誰?輸在何處?是對全球發展的知識、理解,還是經濟實力以及主導權?

ltaaaTxt

KM: I think, they can pay lip service, but they don’t understand it deep in their guts that the world has changed.

KM: 我認為,他們嘴上會這樣說,但在內心身處,他們并沒有理解這個事實,即世界已經改變。

SS: Are they in denial?

SS: 他們否認嗎?

KM: I’ll give you a simple example. The world’s two most important global economic organisations are the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Today you have a rule that says that to become the head of the IMF you must be a European. To become the head of the World Bank you must be an American. And Asians which make up the vast majority of the world’s population and which have the most dynamic economies in the world today don’t qualify to run the IMF and the World Bank. That’s a sign of resistance to the idea that they now have to share power...

KM: 我給你舉個簡單的例子。全世界最重要的兩個全球經濟組織,是國際貨幣基金組織和世界銀行。但如今,有這么一條規則,要想成為IMF的總裁,你必須是歐洲人。要想成為世界銀行的行長,你必須是美國人。而亞洲人口占世界絕大多數,擁有世界上最具活力的經濟,他們卻沒有資格管理國際貨幣基金組織和世界銀行。這是一個信號,表明必須分享權力的想法正在遭到他們的抵制……

SS: Resistance or snobbism and supremacy?

SS: 是抵制,還是勢利和霸權?

ltaaaTxt

SS: If you don’t mind we’re going to go through all of those Ms step by step. But we’ll start with Trump. You’ve mentioned the WTO - he wants to pull America out of WTO, he was sceptical of the organisation from the very beginning of his presidency. If that actually happens, if America is out of the organisation what would that mean for WTO and for the global economy?

SS: 如果你不介意,我們一步一步的討論那幾個M。我們還是從特朗普說起。你提到了WTO,而他想讓美國退出WTO,他從上任伊始就對該組織持懷疑態度。如果這真的發生了,如果美國退出了世貿組織,這對世貿組織和全球經濟意味著什么?

KM: Here I actually have some good news for you. The good news is that the rest of the world will carry on with the WTO with or without the U.S. Just a few days ago I had a conversation with Mr. Pascal Lamy, the former head of the WTO for many years. He said: “Kishore, the WTO can carry on without the United States, and the United States surprisingly will pay a prize if it leaves the WTO.” So this is where, I think, the United States should think very carefully because at the end of the day if you want to curb some of the unfair economic processes of China - and some of them are unfair clearly - then use the WTO to change China’s behavior.

KM: 實際上我有一些好消息要告訴你。好消息是,不管美國留下與否,世界其他國家都將繼續留在世貿組織。就在幾天前,我與世貿組織前主席帕斯卡爾·拉米先生進行了交談。他說:“Kishore,世貿組織可以在沒有美國的情況下繼續存在,如果美國離開世貿組織,美國將會付出代價。”因此,我認為,美國應該非常謹慎地考慮這個問題,因為歸根結底,如果你想遏制中國的一些不公平的經濟進程——其中一些進程顯然是不公平的——那就利用WTO來糾正中國的行為。

SS: You mentioned that your book will help the West, America to adjust to the changing world. But right now in the current American political climate everything is based on patriotism and the “America First” concept and that is causing so much traction. What would it take for the Americans to realise that they’re not No.1 any more?

SS: 你提到你的書將有助于西方、美國適應不斷變化的世界。但在目前的美國政治環境下,一切都是基于愛國主義和“美國優先”的理念,這帶來了很大的牽制力。美國人要怎樣才能意識到自己不再是世界第一呢?

KM: I’m not anti-American. I speak as a friend of America. And I want to help America adjust to the new world, and it’s the world that America could live comfortably in because Americans will continue to do well in this large globalising economy with rising Asian economies. It just has to give up it’s desire to dominate the world and dominate the planet. And I think, most Americans if you give them a sensible choice “Do you really want to continue domination and pay a heavy prize? Or do you want to have a good life for your citizens?” - in my book I give a very shocking statistics which is that two thirds of American households do not have 500 dollars in emergency cash. That’s crazy! Your population doesn’t have money and you’re burning money maintaining 13 aircraft carriers around the world! Why? Why don’t you change your policies and do something that is good for the American people in the long run?

KM:我不反美。我在以美國人朋友的身份說話。我想幫助美國適應新的世界,這是一個美國人可以舒適生活的世界,因為隨著亞洲經濟體的崛起,美國人也將繼續在這個龐大的全球化經濟中大顯身手。但它必須放棄統治世界和地球的欲望。我還認為,對于大多數美國人而言,如果你讓他們做出一個明智的選擇:“你是想繼續霸權,并付出沉重的代價,還是想讓你的公民過上美好的生活?”在我的書中,我列出了一個非常令人震驚的數據,那就是三分之二的美國家庭沒有500美元的應急現金。這太瘋狂了!你的人民沒有錢,而你卻在浪費錢,在世界各地維護13艘航空母艦!為什么?你為什么不改變你的政策,做一些從長遠來看對美國人民有益的事情呢?

SS: If you take the last two presidents, for example, Barack Obama which you mentioned, and he was a very peaceful president, he came with a message of peace but then he was obliged to do so many interventions. It’s because the president doesn’t always decide. It’s the establishment…

SS: 如果要以前兩任總統為例,比如你提到的巴拉克?奧巴馬,他是一位非常和平的總統,他帶來了和平的信息,但隨后他不得不進行許多干預。這是做決定的并不總是總統,而是美國當局……

KM: That’s right.

KM: 說得對。

SS: If you look at Trump he clearly became President on this new wave of people wanting to live better in America and not really caring that much about the rest of the world because that’s oversees for them and doesn’t take care of their problem of having less than 500 dollars in security cash. But then Trump came and he can't do the things that he wants to do because of the establishment. So when you say “Americans should realise…” - who are the “Americans”? The people clearly want what you’re saying, the last two presidents wanted a change, but it’s not like they were able to do much...

SS: 如果你看看特朗普,他成為總統,顯然是一股新的浪潮推動的結果,這股浪潮是由那些想要在美國獲得更好生活的人們形成的,他們并不真正在意全世界其他國家,對他們來說,那太遙遠了,而且與他們的“救命錢不到500美元”的困境沒有關系。所以你說“美國人應該意識到……”,那些美國人是誰?那些人明顯想聽你說的話,過去兩任總統想要做出改變,但他們似乎力有未逮……

ltaaaTxt

KM: I spoke to one of the leading trade economists of the world when I was in Harvard University in February this year. He said to me: “Kishore, Donald Trump doesn’t understand the basics of trade economics. He thinks like a businessman: a deficit is a loss, a surplus is a profit.” That’s rubbish. All countries live by the theory of international trade: even if you have deficit you’re benefiting because you’re buying a product at lower cost from somebody who can make it cheaper and better. If you do an objective audit and put all the factors in America is actually one of the biggest beneficiaries of the current trading order. It has a surplus in services, it doesn’t measure that. More importantly, the U.S. dollar is the global reserve currency. That means that Chinese workers have to work hard 24 hours a day to manufacture things to sell to America. How does America pay for that? It prints dollars. Come on, you’re having a very good trade! You print dollars, you’re getting hard workers’ products. America’s benefiting. Most sophisticated Americans know that America is benefiting enormously from the current system. And therefore the one dangerous thing that Donald Trump is doing is that he’s giving the rest of the world an incentive to move away from the U.S. dollar. And if the rest of the world moves away from the U.S. dollar the impact on America will be disastrous because you can no longer print dollars to buy products.

KM: 今年2月,我在哈佛大學與一位世界領先的貿易經濟學家進行了交談。他對我說:“Kishore,唐納德特朗普不懂貿易經濟學的基本知識。他像商人一樣思考——赤字代表損失,盈余代表利潤。”這純屬無稽之談。所有國家都根據國際貿易理論運作:即使有赤字,你也會從中受益,因為你可以從別人那里以更低的成本購買產品,而別人可以以把產品生產得更便宜而且更好。如果進行一個客觀的審計,把所有的因素都考慮在內,會發現美國實際上是當前貿易秩序的最大受益者之一。它在服務方面存在盈余,但它沒有衡量這一點。更重要的是,美元是全球儲備貨幣。這意味著中國工人必須每天24小時辛勤工作,生產產品銷往美國。美國為此付出了什么?不過是印刷的美元。得了吧,你們現在的生意已經獲利豐厚了!你們只需要印刷美元,就能得到勤勞的工人生產的產品。美國人從中受益。大多數老練的美國人都知道,美國從當前的體系中獲益良多。因此,唐納德特朗普正在做的一件危險的事情,他正在給世界其他地區一個動機,讓他們脫離美元。如果世界其他地區都不再使用美元,對美國的影響將是災難性的,因為他們不能再印刷美元來購買產品了。

SS: I don’t think he thinks in that light. I think for him the primary goal is to undermine China. He made no secret of that from day one when he came. I was actually reading this analysis from Barclays Capital, they are saying that this war on tariffs would actually be more detrimental for China than America because China’s economy is more dependent on exports than American economy. So maybe this strange tactics of Trump that many people do not understand is actually justified in the long term, if he wants to undermine China?

SS: 我認為他沒有那樣想。我認為他的主要目標是削弱中國。從他上臺的第一天起,他就對這一點毫不隱瞞。我讀了巴克萊資本的分析,他們說因為中國經濟比美國經濟更依賴出口,所以關稅戰爭對中國而言,比對美國更有害。所以,如果特朗普想要破壞中國,那么從長遠來看,這種很多人都不理解的奇怪策略或許是合理的?

KM: Well, you’re right, he might succeed. But believe me, it is a fact that there will be pain for America, there will be pain for China. Let me ask you a simple question: is it easier for a democracy to accept pain, or is it easier for an authoritarian government, like China, to accept pain? The Chinese population as far as I know (I’ve spent two months in China recently) are strongly supportive of the Chinese government, they say: “If America is trying to bully us we will pay the price, we will carry on.” So I think it’s a big mistake to underestimate Chinese resolve. Of course, China is going to pay the price, but in the long-run China cannot afford to be seen to be weak in the face of such pressure. China will stay firm by contrast. As you know, Donald Trump is going to face very difficult elections in November. And if he does badly in November he will be so distracted by the domestic issues that the trade war with China will be put aside.

KM: 你說得對,他可能會成功。但請相信我,美國和中國都將遭受痛苦,這是一個事實。讓我問你一個簡單的問題:民主國家更容易接受痛苦,還是像中國這樣的威權政府更容易接受痛苦?據我所知,中國人民(我最近在中國呆了兩個月)強烈支持中國政府,他們說:“如果美國想要欺負我們,我們會付出這個代價,我們將堅持下去。”因此,我認為低估中國的決心是一個重大錯誤。當然,中國將為此付出代價,但從長遠來看,中國承受不起在這種壓力面前顯露軟弱的后果。相比之下,中國將保持強硬。眾所周知,唐納德·特朗普將在11月面臨非常艱難的選舉。如果他在11月表現不佳,他將會被國內問題分心,以至于與中國的貿易戰將被擱置一邊。

SS: But do you understand where it’s coming from when he wants to undermine China economically and militarily? Because he feels threatened by China? Do you understand why he’s doing that? Is it justified in any way?

SS: 但是他想要從經濟和軍事上削弱中國,你知道這種想法是從何而來的嗎?因為他感受到中國的威脅嗎?你知道他為什么要那樣做嗎?這種做法存在某種程度上的合理性嗎?

KM: I would say in that sense, if you want to understand his thinking you have to read the writings of Steve Bannon. And Steve Bannon actually believes that America should be number one forever, and if China is about to overtake we must undermine China. And that is actually a strong school of thought in Washington DC who believe that America should undermine China and prevent it from overtaking it. But this cannot be done, it’s a mission impossible. China, just by the sheer laws of mathematics with the population that is four times the size of the United States of America, if you think that an average Chinese is even half as smart as an American, China will have the economy which will be twice the size of America. And as you now the Chinese are as smart as any Europeans. And the mistake that these American thinkers are making is thinking that these two last centuries of Western domination is normal. Actually, as I said it was an aberration, because from year one to the year 1820 the two largest economies were always those of China and India. So this aberration has to come to an end when you cannot fight.

KM: 要我說,從這個意義上說,如果你想理解他的想法,你必須讀史蒂夫班農的作品。史蒂夫班農實際上認為,美國應該永遠是世界第一,如果中國即將超越美國,我們就必須削弱中國。在華盛頓特區,這種思想流派實際上很強大,他們認為美國應該削弱中國,阻止它超越自己。但這是不可能完成的任務。僅通過純粹的數字計算,就知道中國的人口是美國的四倍,即使普通中國人只有美國人一半聰明,中國的經濟規模也將達到美國的兩倍。而你也知道,中國人與任何歐洲人一樣聰明。這些美國思想家所犯的錯誤在于,他們認為過去兩個世紀的西方統治是正常的。實際上,正如我所說,這是一種反常現象,因為從公元1年到1820年,全世界最大的兩個經濟體一直是中國和印度。所以當他們打不下去的時候,這種失常就會結束。

ltaaaTxt

SS: So talking precisely about that and another M from the three Ms you’ve written that the western elites do not understand that it is in their interest to be prudent and non-interventionist because every intervention comes with repercussions. You could have understood from the intervention of 2003 that the consequences were disastrous, you just shouldn’t do it any more over and over again. But the truth is that this course of action of Westerners interfering in other people’s affairs is still on the table and going pretty strong. I do not believe that is because the Western leaders are stupid or don’t have an understanding or reason. I just don’t understand why. I understand that they are smart people, I understand that this doesn’t work, and it’s been proven that it doesn’t work, but it is still happening and it is an official line of action. Why?

SS: 所以準確的說,你書中的三個M中的最后一個,就是西方精英所不理解的地方,他們不知道行事謹慎和不干涉主義是符合他們的利益的,因為每次干預都會帶來反響。從2003年的干預中他們就應該明白,干預的后果是災難性的,不能再一而再再而三的做這種事。但現實在于,西方國家干預其他國家事務的進程依然在持續當中,并且愈演愈烈。我覺得這并不是因為西方領導人愚不可及,不能理解或者毫無理智。我就是不理解為什么。我明白他們是聰明人。我明白這是行不通的,事實也證明這是行不通的,但它仍在發生,而且成為官方的行動方針。為什么?

KM: Well, it’s very hard to give up habits of two hundred years…

KM: 拋棄200年的習慣是很難的……

SS: Old habits die hard?

SS: 積習難改?

KM: Old habits die hard, exactly. For example, the British-French intervention in Libya was a disaster. The result of the British-French intervention in Libya was a flood of migrants into Europe, it led to the rise of far-right parties in Europe. It shows you the dangers of intervention. Why? It is actually very puzzling. I completely appreciate your question. This society that has produced the best thinkers for so long have completely lost the art of strategic thinking. And I can tell you one point that I make in my book that every time the United States intervenes and invades in another country, for example, its intervention in Iraq was a geopolitical gift to China. It gave China 10 years to keep growing while America was busy fighting a war. And in that decade something remarkable happened. In year 2000 the United States’ GNP (the nominal market terms) was eight times the size of China. By the last year it was only 1.6 times. So while America was busy fighting wars China was busy growing its economy. And that shows the strategic stupidity of the United States.

KM: 確實,積習難改。例如,英法對利比亞的干涉就是一場災難。英法對利比亞干涉的結果,導致難民涌向歐洲,進而導致歐洲極右翼政黨的崛起。這就向人們展示了干涉的危險之處。為什么?實際上很令人費解。我很感激你的問題。這個社會長期以來培養出最好的思想家,而現在它已經完全喪失了戰略思維的藝術。我可以告訴你們一點,我在書中也提出來,每當美國干預和入侵另一個國家,例如它對伊拉克的干預,就是給中國送上了一份地緣政治禮物。它給了中國10年的時間來保持增長,而美國卻忙于打仗。在那十年里發生了一些不同尋常的事情。2000年,美國的國民生產總值(名義市場價格)是中國的8倍。而到了去年,卻僅有1.6倍。因此,當美國忙于打仗時,中國卻忙于發展經濟。這顯示了美國在戰略上的愚蠢。

SS: But on the other hand, do you blame the Westerners for feeling so superior about their systems? The standards of living in Europe or in America are light years ahead if you compare it to any other country in the world…

SS: 但另一方面,西方人對自己的制度感覺如此優越,你會因此而責怪他們嗎?如果把歐洲或美國的生活水平與世界上任何其他國家相比,他們的生活水平都要領先好幾光年……

KM: Well, you haven’t been to Japan and Singapore then…

KM: 那么你沒有去過日本和新加坡吧……

SS: That’s right, I’m sorry.

SS: 你說的對,我道歉。

KM: No actually you’re fine. The most important thing a society needs is to provide hope for its young people. And it’s the societies where the young people are the most optimistic are the happiest societies on planet Earth. And trust me, if you looking for optimism in young people don’t come to Europe. And if you looking for optimism in young people today don’t even go to America because Americans are also very troubled about their future which is why they voted for Trump. If you want to find the most optimistic populations come to Asia, come to China, India, Indonesia, South-East Asia, and you’ll find incredibly optimistic young people. So clearly in terms of not where you’re today but where you will be tomorrow it’s very hard to beat the optimism of Asia.

KM: 不,實際上你沒錯。一個社會最重要的事情是給年輕人提供希望。年輕人最樂觀的社會是全地球最快樂的社會。相信我,如果你想在年輕人中尋找樂觀,不要來歐洲。如果你在今天的年輕人中尋找樂觀,甚至不要去美國,因為美國人對自己的未來也很擔心,這就是他們投票給特朗普的原因。如果你想找到最樂觀的人來亞洲,來中國,印度,印度尼西亞,東南亞,你會發現非常樂觀的年輕人。所以很明顯,如果不考慮你今天的位置,而是考慮你明天的位置,亞洲的樂觀情緒是很難戰勝的。

ltaaaTxt

SS: Thank you so much for this wonderful insight. I really recommend all of you to read this amazing book by this amazing man, and hopefully we’ll have you as a guest really soon again.

SS: 十分感謝你的精彩觀點。我真的建議大家都來讀這本精彩人物撰寫的精彩著作,希望我們早日再次邀請您來做客。

KM: Thank you, my pleasure.

KM: 謝謝,這是我的榮幸。