Sino-American Struggles and Asia’s Resurgence 中美困难以及亚洲复兴

Daniel Mikesell

大牛

NANJING, China — The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to recalibrate the geopolitical order. Which countries will take advantage and push themselves forward?

新型冠状病毒具有重新调整全球政治秩序的潜力。哪个国家能趁机把自己推出来?

As the United States struggles to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, its hegemonic status continues to erode. China hopes to use this crisis as an opportunity to bolster its global leadership credentials, but many countries outside the Great Wall are hesitant to look to China for leadership. While the U.S. and China engage in tit-for-tat blaming and shaming, unforeseen actors across Asia are showing their merit in public health. Successful strategies employed in Asia cannot be easily replicated throughout the world. Nevertheless, the pandemic and its aftermath will hasten Asia’s return to the forefront of global affairs.

随着美国在控制COVID-19蔓延上的艰难应付,它的霸权地位又削弱了。中国期望将这一危机作为增强其全球领导才能的机会,但长城外的国家还是对是否指望中国做领导而迟疑不决。在中美两国以牙还牙地责备和羞辱对方的同时,亚洲意外的政治行为者也表现出他们在公共卫生上的优势。亚洲国家执行的有效办法不能被所有国家轻易模仿,但这一大流行病及其后果会促使亚洲回到全球事务的最前锋。

The COVID-19 crisis has further strained U.S.-China relations. (Photo Credit: @kaltoons1)
COVID-19的危机使中美关系更加紧张。

The notion that the U.S. botched its initial response to COVID-19 is hardly controversial. American data has been called into question and the CDC’s initial diagnostic tests didn’t yield reliable results. In addition to the advantage of time, which China did not have, the U.S. has more resources than most countries, but did not use them on a large scale until the epidemic became a domestic crisis. Frequently at odds with epidemiologists, President Trump simultaneously deferred responsibility and prematurely declared victory over the virus. Instead of earning respect, the White House is being accused of irresponsibility and racism.

毫无疑问的是,美国对COVID-19的最初反应很拙劣。美国数据被质问,美国疾病控制中心最初的诊断性测试也没有得到可靠的诊断。除了中国没有的时间优势以外,美国的资源比大部分国家都多,但一直到传染病变成国内的危机时,这些资源都没有在大规模上被充分发挥。时常与流行病学家不和,特朗普总统既推诿了责任,又过早地向病毒宣告胜利。不仅没有得到尊敬,白宫还被指控不负责任以及种族主义。

China aims to capitalize on the United States’ mistakes. However, even if the world is witnessing the U.S.’s “Suez moment,” China is unlikely to harness the opportunities provided by these events to fully take up the mantle. China has been criticized for posting questionable data, prematurely declaring victory over the virus and promulgating conspiracy theories. The death of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang and the disappearance of citizen-journalist Chen Qiushi and property tycoon Ren Zhiqian are highly troubling and derided both inside and outside China. According to an American professor who works in China and therefore chose to remain anonymous, “If China ends up actually improving their international image after this [epidemic], it will be the greatest public relations feat of the 21st century because they will have succeeded in turning truth on its head.”

中国试图将美国的错误作为机会。但就算世界是美国“苏伊士时刻”的目击者,中国不可能利用这件事带来的机会来争取主动、挑起这责任。中国已经因为宣布了可疑的数据、过早地宣布了向病毒胜利以及发布了阴谋论而被批评。“吹哨人”李文亮医生的死亡以及陈秋实拍客、任志强房地产巨头的失踪都令人不安,引起了国内和国外的谴责。据一位在中国工作的、愿意匿名的美国教授所说,“如果[疫情]以后中国竟然能改善它的国际形象,这将是21世纪最好的公关壮举,因为它成功地颠覆了事实。

A propaganda message in Nanjing, China: “Pay attention to protection [against COVID-19], don’t panic, don’t spread rumors.” (Photo Credit: Daniel Mikesell)
中国南京的一条标语:“注意防护, 不恐慌,不传谣”。

China has slowed the spread of the virus and placated an initially-apoplectic domestic audience. It has also donated medical resources to countries in need, which will somewhat improve its image. Though it may win the “people’s war” at home, international audiences will continue to be wary of Beijing’s leadership, due to its suppression of critical voices and tacit approval of blame-shifting conspiracy theories.

中国减缓了病毒的传播速度,也安抚了起初大怒的国内民众。中国也把医疗资源捐赠给危机中的其他国家,多多少少会改善一些它的形象。虽然中国在国内可能会打赢这场“人民战争”,但由于它对批评者的压制、对阴谋论的默许,国际民众会对北京的领导将会一直很谨慎。

The COVID-19 outbreak has laid bare the world’s reluctance to fully embrace either the U.S. or China. As Europe grieves, its prospects also seem dim. Amidst unconvincing response measures and uneasy collaboration, several high-profile European politicians have contracted COVID-19 and EU solidarity seems like a distant dream.

COVID-19的爆发暴露了全球对完全接受美国或者中国的不情愿。随着欧洲的悲痛,它的前途看起来也很暗淡。在难以让人信服的应对措施和不容易的合作中,几位高级欧洲政界人士感染了COVID-19,而且欧盟的团结似乎是个久远的梦想。

Meanwhile, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan — none of which have traditionally been perceived as global leaders — have been hailed as success stories in the fight against COVID-19. These places are much different from the U.S. and mainland China: they are islands and peninsulas with relatively small populations and more centralized control. That doesn’t mean their battles against COVID-19 have been easy. They are densely populated with high degrees of international traffic, both of which are risk factors for the spread of COVID-19. Without making critics disappear, they instituted strict measures suited to their respective needs. Some of these measures, such as tracking citizens’ movements and publicly posting the locations where coronavirus patients spend time, may be untenable in countries where more value is attached to privacy and individual rights than to public health. These experiences demonstrate that preparation, organization, efficiency, political will and widespread commitment to public health are keys to dealing with a pandemic.

同时,韩国、新加坡和台湾,它们虽然没有被认为是全球的领先者,但也在与病毒的交战中被认为是成功的。相对于美国和中国大陆,这些地方并不一样,都是人口较少的、社会控制更集中的岛屿和半岛。这并不是说它们与COVID-19的作斗争容易。这些地方的人口较为稠密,国际交通流量也高,这两者都是COVID-19扩散的风险因素。在没有使批评者失踪的同时,它们也设立了符合其需求的严格措施。有些措施,比如追踪人们的移动以及公开冠状病毒病人停留的地方,这在那些隐私和个人权利比公共卫生更受重视的国家是不能成立的。这些经验表示准备、组织、效率、政治意愿和对公共卫生的广泛承诺都是面对大流行病的好办法。

Though they are managing the COVID-19 crisis relatively well, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are not currently prepared to wrestle political or military power away from the U.S. or mainland Chinese. However, their economies will likely manage the crisis better than others. These places’ deft management displays institutional resilience and will help to maintain long-term confidence in the region.

尽管它们在对付COVID-19上做得较好,但韩国、新加坡以及台湾目前不能与美国和中国大陆争夺政治、军事权利。不过,它们的经济可能会比其他国家更好地对付这个危机。它们灵巧的管理显示了机构的弹性,也有利于保持这个地区的长期信赖。

Asia is even less of a monolith than Europe, yet taken collectively, it has enjoyed more success in the battle against COVID-19. Moreover, the global locus of power has arguably been shifting toward Asia for several years. In this context, the COVID-19 pandemic is expediting a trend that was already underway. The longer the West is embroiled in this crisis, the faster the locus of economic power will shift to the East.

与欧洲相比,亚洲更不是铁板一块,但总的来说,亚洲在与COVID-19的交战中取得了更多成功。而且,全球的权力中心可以说一直在向亚洲转移。在这个情况下,COVID-19正在加速已在进行中的趋势。西方被卷入危机的时间越长,经济权力中心向东方的转变就越快。

Western eyes may perceive China as the most salient beneficiary of Asia’s surging prominence, but the rise of Asia is not confined to China. The region houses over half the world’s population and its economy has already surpassed North America and Europe in terms of purchasing power parity. The region’s response to COVID-19 suggests that problems within and between Asian nations will not prevent further economic and cultural development in Asia. In the future, Asia’s economic strength will be the basis for broader power for several regional players.

在西方人的眼里,中国是亚洲崛起最明显的受益者,但亚洲的崛起并不限于中国。这个区域的人口占世界的一半多,就购买力平价而言,它的经济已经超过了北美和欧洲。该区域对COVID-19的反应表明,亚洲国家之间的问题无法阻止亚洲经济和文化的进一步发展。将来,亚洲的经济优势会作为该区域的几个政治行为者的扩大实力的基础。

While the Eagle and the Dragon are mired in conspiracy theories, ethnic profiling and a trade war, others across Asia are striving ahead in the global fight against COVID-19. Their achievements will hasten Asia’s economic recovery and sustain the return of the East.

当鹰(美国)与龙(中国)陷入阴谋论、种族定性以及贸易战争的陷阱时,亚洲国家正在全球范围内与COVID-19的交战中努力前进。它们的成就将会加速亚洲经济的复苏并且维持亚洲的崛起。

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