对台军售 My op-ed in NYT on US arms sales to Taiwan

October 3, 2011     
11 people like this post.

以下是我在纽约时报辩论专栏 ROOM FOR DEBATE 上发表的关于美对台军售的评论

美国应当继续向台湾出售武器吗?
美国不顾中国抗议,批准对台湾出售58亿美元的武器。后果如何?
Should the U.S. Keep Selling Arms to Taiwan?
The U.S. approved a $5.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan over China’s protests. What are the consequences?

削弱强硬派 Weaken the Hardliners

姜闻然
2011年9月24日

在目前全球经济恢复徘徊不定,中国南海紧张局势加剧,以及明年中国上层领导交替和美国总统大选的时刻,奥巴马政府出售武器给台湾的决定为美中双边关系蒙上了阴影。

与布什总统于2008年启动,去年批准的64亿美元的对台军售相比,奥巴马的58亿美元的对台军售反映了他试图平衡多方利益和多从考虑。

作为历史上美国销售给台湾武器最大的交易之一,白宫希望满足台北持续美国政治和军事支持的需求,同时抵御国内对其面对北京的报复威胁而显软弱的批评。但通过选择给台湾现有的F-16 A/B型战机以技术升级,而非按台湾要求出卖最新的F-16 C/D型战机,奥巴马政府也试图缓解北京的忧虑,并弱化其反制措施。

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在西方权威人士看来,中国的反应也不过是雷声大,雨点小而已。在短期内,很可能的情况是北京在采取一些有克制的报复行动后,两国关系将恢复正常,类似于去年美对台军售后的情况。美国可能认为它可以多方取利:军火工业的就业和庞大利润,巩固在东亚地区的战略地位,对北京和台湾的关系实施政治影响,并与中国保持良好政治经济关系。

但是从长远来看,美国不断向台湾出售武器,将在中国大陆如何看待美国意图方面有深刻的负面影响。中国最新的网上民意调查显示,84%的受访人反对美国向台湾出售武器,76%要求中国政府采取强有力的报复措施,50%以上支持对美国企业的制裁。愤怒的中国公众不是美国的好消息。

美国对台军售不会改变台湾海峡两岸有利于北京的的力量平衡。就如何处理中国崛起方面,华盛顿需要长期的战略思想和远见。如果中国希望美国停止给台湾供应武器,北京亦须作出努力,以大陆不会用武力来实现其统一的目标来安抚台湾。

华盛顿和北京的最好的办法是削弱两个国家中那些视对方为敌,认为中美国一战不可避免的的强硬派。

Original text in English

Weaken the Hardliners

Wenran Jiang
September 24, 2011,

The Obama administration’s decision to sell arms to Taiwan clouds bilateral relations at a time of global economic uncertainty and increased tensions in the South China Sea, and ahead of the leadership transition in China and the U.S. presidential election next year.

Unlike the $6.4 billion arms sales to Taiwan last year, which were initiated by President George W. Bush in 2008 and carried out by the current administration, Obama’s package to Taiwan reflects his delicate balancing act among multiple parties and considerations.

By providing one of the largest deals in the history of U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, the White House hopes to satisfy the demand from Taiwan for continuous U.S. political and military support while fending off critics at home that he is backing down in the face of Beijing’s threat of retaliation. But by choosing to upgrade Taiwan’s existing fleet of F-16 A/B fighters rather than sending the newest F-16 C/D models as requested by Taiwan, Obama is trying to mitigate Beijing’s concerns and soften its reaction.

Pundits in the West see a lot of thunder, but little rain, in the Chinese reaction. In the short term, it may well be the case that after some measured retaliatory actions from Beijing, the bilateral relationship will return to normal, as we witnessed last year. The U.S. may think it can manage it all: Profits and jobs for its arms industry, a strategic presence in East Asia, political leverage on Beijing-Taiwan relations, and good political and economic ties with China.

But in the long run, the continuous U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will have a profound negative impact on how the Chinese mainland perceives U.S. intentions. The latest online opinion polls in China show that 84 percent of the surveyed are against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, with 76 percent demanding that the Chinese government take strong retaliatory measures and more than 50 percent supporting sanctions against U.S. enterprises. An angry Chinese public is not good news for the U.S.

The U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will not change the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait in Beijing’s favor. Washington needs long-term strategic thinking and vision on how to deal with China’s rise. If it wants the U.S. to stop supplying arms to the island, Beijing needs to do its own part by assuring Taiwan that it would not use force to achieve its goals of reunification.

The best approach for both Washington and Beijing is to weaken the hardliners in both countries who perceive each other as enemies and who say that war between China and the U.S. is inevitable.

本文仅代表作者的个人观点。The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.

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