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China: We need a consistent and pro-trade US president

In response to the news of American presidential candidate Barack Obama's stance on NAFTA, but prior to this week's round of presidential primaries, political blogger Michael Anti wrote a few words on his dusty MSN blog on what a President Obama would mean for China in ‘Meet Obama's America of (undpredictable) change‘:

本文执笔者并不是奥巴马的拥趸。事实上,如果是全世界选美国总统,中国选区的选举人票大概会投向希拉里或者麦凯恩。和路透中文网某美国专栏作者判断的不同,我们认为中国人支持奥巴马的可能性很小,更谈不上“应该”两字。

This writer is no fan of Obama's. In fact, if this were a global election for the American president, the electoral vote of the China constituency would probably be cast for Hillary or McCain. Unlike the judgment made by Alexander Brenner on Reuters’ Chinese website, we think the chance that the Chinese will support Obama is quite small, and never mind why we “should”.

虽然希拉里在选战中,也在严厉批评中国贸易,但正是她丈夫克林顿打开了中国加入世贸的大门、亲手制定了北美自由贸易协定,而希拉里本人也因和印度外包产业的关系被对手攻击成“旁遮普邦参议员”。在席卷全球的反全球化浪潮中,看不到中国人的身影,实在是因为无论是中国政府,还是民间自由力量,都深深从这个新全球游戏中获益。全球化带来的市场化理念、资讯自由实践,以及作为全球负责任的社区成员的荣誉感,也让这个有两千年专制传统的中国,开始不再抵触世界标准,和前辈相比,全球化中的中国青年一代,有了更多的享有世界标准自由的机会。从这个意义上,克林顿王朝,对于知恩图报的中国人来说,并不是什么负面的组合。

Even though Hillary has also been severely critical of trade with China throughout the campaign battle, it was none other than her husband Clinton who opened the door for China's entry into the WTO, who personally enacted NAFTA, and Hillary herself, for her ties to the outsourcing industry in India, who has been accused by her opponent as “the Senator from Punjab”. In the wave of antiglobalization which has swept the world, the Chinese are nowhere to be seen; in reality this is because, regardless of if it's the Chinese government or free civic forces, all have benefited greatly from this new global game. The ideas of marketization, implementation of freedom of information and the sense of honor of being a responsible member of the global community that globalization has brought with it, have let China, with its 2,000 year-old autocratic tradition, to start putting an end to clashes with world standards; compared to the older generation, the globalized generation of Chinese youth have far more opportunities to enjoy world-class freedoms. In this sense, for the Chinese, who repay kindness with kindness, the Clinton Dynasty is by no means a negative combination.

即便是麦凯恩这个共和党老兵,中国人在接受上也没有障碍。由于中国在中东地区,无论是经济利益和战略利益上,都没有欧美俄的那种相关性,因此方便地保持中立是明智选择。美国布什政府的伊拉克战争,虽然遭到很多国家人民的反对,也遭到美国人民逐步厌倦,但从始至终,也和中国的相关性不大。中国的外交观念,在告别毛泽东时期的革命战略观之后,一直保持了地缘政治的现实主义谨慎,恪守作为地区大国的本分,不过度抵抗美国的实际超级霸权,而是保持“负责任的利益相关者”义务。在布什共和党政府执政期间,中国国家利益和民族利益,并没有受到美国政策导致的损害,相反,很多学者认为,伊战牵制了美国国力,让中国可以在朝鲜问题上有所帮助,加强了中美的战略同情。而台湾问题上,布什政府对台独的明确反对,甚至超过了克林顿民主党政府的对中承诺。

Even though McCain is a Republican veteran, there are no barriers for Chinese people in accepting this. China's presence in the middle east region, be it in regards to economic benefit or strategic benefit, lacks the kind of interrelatedness that Europe, America or Russia there have. For this reason, conveniently maintaining neutrality is the smart choice. The American government under Bush's war with Iraq, although having been met with opposition by people in many countries, and with Americans themselves having gradually grown weary of it, has since the beginning had little relevance to China. In the period since Mao Zedong's ideas of strategic revolution were laid to rest, China's diplomatic views have been to consistently maintain a cautious and realistic geopolitics, and upheld its duty as the largest country in the region: not excessively resisting American pragmatic super-hegemony, and keeping to its obligation as a “responsible stakeholder”. During the Republican administration under Bush, neither China's national interests nor the interests of its people have suffered any harm as a result of American policy; on the contrary, many academics feel that the war in Iraq has tied up much of America's national strength, allowing China to be of help on the North Korea Problem and strengthening strategic sympathy between China and the US. On the Taiwan Problem, the Bush administration has explicitly opposed Taiwan independence, going as far as to surpass the Clinton Democrats’ commitment to China.

麦凯恩是反共的越战老兵,他一定会加强对中国政府人权方面的攻击。但在批评中成长,长远看对中国也不是什么坏事情。斯皮尔伯格因苏丹对北京奥运的批评,虽然在中国人眼中,实在是莫名其妙,这说明中国在具备全球化影响力的今天还是不太具备全球化的心态,不过当中国政府决定就此不断对苏丹政府施压之后,不能不说斯皮尔伯格的批评,也客观上促进了中国观念进步。相反,麦凯恩在贸易上,可以算是正宗的共和党人,拥抱自由贸易,希望取消中美贸易配额,这样的新鹰派总统,中国完全可以接受。

McCain is an anti-communist veteran of the Vietnam War, he'll certainly intensify attacks against the Chinese government for human rights issues. But for China, growing amidst criticisms, this might in the long run not be such a bad thing. Spielberg's criticism of the Beijing Olympics because of Sudan, although while in Chinese eyes is something quite inexplicable, just illustrates that while China today bears influence on globalization, it still doesn't quite possess a globalized mindset; although, when the Chinese government decided because of this to steadily increase pressure on the Sudanese government, it can't but be said that Spielberg's criticisms, objectively speaking, brought about progress on China's way of thinking. In contrast, McCain's views on trade are orthodox Republican: embracing free trade and hoping to eliminate trade quotas between China and the US. A new hawk president like him, China would have no problems in accepting.

民调越来越证实了这样一种趋势,奥巴马不但肯定会击垮希拉里,而且可能在11月的大选中战胜麦凯恩,写下新传奇,成为美国历史上第一个黑人总统。无论这给美国人民和世界其他地区人民带来什么,给中国带来的却是变化莫测。

首先是奥巴马一直以来对全球化贸易的反对。他反对中国贸易,认为中国不但对美国输出有毒产品,更是夺走了美国的工作。他反对印度外包,因此攻击希拉里。在他几乎确定党内胜选、毫无必要再骗选票的现在,抛出重新制定北美自由贸易条款的议题,让富裕邻国加拿大都感到惊诧。如果说全球化有几个肯定的赢家的话,显然美国是属于第一阵营的,赢家反对全球化贸易,不但是一种战略上的逻辑错乱,更是未来中美利益摩擦的主要来源。虽然完全可能在他当选之后,不得不延续旧政府的贸易政策,但这等于是巨大的跳票,奥巴马如何面对奥巴马神话的压力,现在还看不出端倪。

其次是寄托了美国人各种变化心理投射的奥巴马,必然会在全球外交上有所改变,虽然亚洲地区不会是首要改变的目标,但大国游戏规则一定会受到影响,而这种改变对于身在其中的中国意味着什么,还未可知。更严重的是,中国善于应对的美国,从克林顿到布什,都是战略清晰的美国。这样,中国也可以放心地战略清晰,大国之间才可以产生基本信任,求同存异,台海局面的缓解,就是和这种清晰以及信任有相当的关系。

Opinion polls continue to the confirm a trend; not only will Obama defeat Hillary, but come the general election campaign battle in November, possibly even McCain and a new legend will be written, that of the first African-American president in American history. Regardless of what this does for Americans and people from other places around the world, however, what it can do for the Chinese people remains unpredictable.

First off, Obama has always opposed globalization of trade. He opposes trade with China, believing that not only is China exporting poisonous goods to America, but also taking away American jobs. He opposes outsourcing to India, as a way to attack Hillary. As he comes close to securing a victory in the inner-party election, as he needlessly continues to play dirty to get votes, tossing out the idea of renegotiating NAFTA has surprised the well-off neighboring country Canada. If there could be said to be a few guaranteed winners from globalization, obviously America would be in the first camp. For a winner to oppose globalization, not only is it a sort of logically confused strategy, even more it's friction against the main source of both America and China's future interests. Although it's completely possible that after the election he'll have no choice but to continue with the previous government's trade policies, this would still be a broken election promise, so clues as to how Obama plans to deal with the pressure of The Obama Myth remain to be seen.

Next is the shifting psychological projection of Obama many Americans have, which will inevitably lead to changes in global diplomacy; although the Asian region won't be the primary target for change, the game rules for dominant powers are guaranteed to feel impact, and what these changes will mean for China also remains unknown. What's more critical is that China be good at dealing with a US with a clear strategy, as it has had from Clinton through to Bush. Only this way has China been able to relax and adopt a clear strategy and has trust been built between the powers, allowing them to get along despite differences. Easing of the situation along the Taiwan Strait, for example, is connected to this kind of clarity and trust.

但奥巴马从本性上就是一个战略模糊的高手,并不以原则底线清晰见长。这和他以一混血非洲裔美国人身份在主流社会成长的经历有关——他善于不得罪任何本身相互敌对的利益团体。在美国的政治框架下,总统和总统人马(行政当局),直接控制外交、外贸和战争政策。因此,奥巴马的美国,可能是中国极不熟悉的美国,也可能是世界极不熟悉的美国。当克林顿总统说,贸易和政治要分开的时候,中国人应该相信这就代表了未来长期的中美贸易蜜月;当布什总统说,不支持台湾独立的时候,中国人也有信心说这代表了此届美国政府在台海问题上不变的立场,甚至会到直接从华府国务院批评陈总统的地步。但未来的奥巴马总统说A的时候,我们是不是要看看,他在其他场合也说了B,其实他心里想的是C,但做出来的确是D?

作为中国人,我们在为美国人民取得黑人总统的历史进步叫好的同时,更关心中华民族的自身利益。民主在本质上是民族共同体的内部共识,他人的民主成就,不必然让我们受益。我们始终认为,中美关系,对中国人的繁荣幸福和民主发展,至关重要。在这个意义上,我们会谨慎地去观察这场发生在美利坚土地上的历史性选举。

But Obama by nature is a master at strategic ambiguity, and has yet to come clear on a principled bottom line. This is related to his experience of coming into his own in mainstream society while identifying as half African-American—he's good at not offending any inherently hostile interest groups. Within American's political framework, the President and the President's executive administration directly control policy on diplomacy, foreign trade and conflict. For this reason, an Obama's America could be the America with which China is extremely unfamiliar, and could just as much be an America with which the world is extremely unfamiliar. When President Clinton said that trade and politics need to be kept separate, China ought to have been able to believe that this represented the future longterm trade honeymoon between China and the US; when President Bush said that he didn't support Taiwan independence, the Chinese people were able to confidently say that this represented that period of American government's unchanging position on the Taiwan Problem, to the extent of seeing criticism of President Chen direct from the US State Department. When the future President Obama says A, will we need to be looking to see if on separate occasions he had said B, if what he's really thinking is C, and but what he really ends up doing is D?

As Chinese people, at the same time that we'd be applauding historical progress in America for having chosen an African-American president, it's more important that we look to the interests of the Chinese nation itself. Democracy in essence is the internal consensus of a national community, so the democratic achievements of others are not inevitably in our interest. We've always felt that in China-US relations are of the utmost importance for prosperity, happiness and democratic growth for the Chinese people; in this sense, we will be cautiously monitoring this historical election taking place in the United States of America.

3 comments

  • As usual, Anti is comprehensively uninformed. Jagdish Bahgwati, the top ranking economist, recently had an op-ed in which he argued that Obama is actually the more free trade of the two, based on actual evidence, instead of unsupported assertions about what Obama might or might not do. The Council on Foreign Relations, the neoliberal Establishment think tank, has a page with links

    http://www.cfr.org/publication/15653/

    Both Obama and Clinton are centrist neoliberals who are engaging in election rhetoric. Their main difference is that Obama has put together a convincing people-powered campaign, whereas Hillary remains the darling of the democratic establishment.

    I’ve read a number of things by Anti, and my conclusion from reading all of them is that he’d be nobody if his blog hadn’t been killed.

    Michael

  • Echoing Michael, I have to wonder about the selection of blog articles concerning in GVO these days–they’ve been uniformly poor and invariably involve some form of Taiwan-bashing or pro-China/KMT rhetoric. I’d like to see more posts by bloggers like Subing or similar on here.

  • c451

    哈哈~

    你翻译得几好哦~我系天涯睇到啦!

    by the way,我都系广州既,得闲出来饮茶啊~

    呵呵~see you

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