Xiao Gongqin: Dealing with the New Pattern in the U.S. – China Game — U.S.-China Relations III

This is the third and final part of Xiao Gongqin’s article on U.S. – China relations. The first two parts are:

Here Professor Xiao Gongjin continues his critique of Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s policy. Xiao argues not for a liberal democracy with constitutionally-protected individual freedoms (China has a constitution but the first article prohibits questioning the leading role of the Chinese Communist Party or the socialist system thus vitiating most of the following articles in practice.) Xiao considers himself a New Authoritarian, essentially calling for a benevolent dictatorship willing to take advice but in the end making its own unchallengeable decisions. This Xiao argues is justified for a late-developing power for the sake of optimal resource allocation and economic growth and for preserving social stability.

Xiao Gongjin does not directly attack Xi Jinping; in fact he quotes and praises him. Indirect and between the lines is how criticism is done in China these days. Xi Jinping presents his thought as an update of Deng Xiaoping Theory for the new era; Xiao says no, let’s stay with Deng which includes the Four Cardinal Principles of one-party rule etc. Deng’s 24 character policy on China’s foreign relations include taoguang yanghui sometimes translated as “conceal your capacities and strengthen yourself in obscurity” but often “hide one’s capacities and bide one’s time” used often by Western scholars (as well as many dictionaries and some websites in the PRC) .

I’d guess that strengthen yourself in obscurity is a fair literal translation and “bide your time” is an interpolated meaning. In the past decade some Chinese scholars and a PLA general have disputed the “bide your time” translation of Deng’s phrase. One of the complexity of using catch phrases from the old literary language in Modern Chinese is that meanings can change but that the catch phrase is often tied to a particular event in one of the old dynasties.

Jianwei Wang and Dingding Chen‘s 2011 article “Lying Low No More? China’s New Thinking on the Tao Guang Yang Hui Strategy” goes into the taoguangyanghui translation controversy in some detail.

The PLA general may be right. Then again, could disputing a widely used translation twenty years after it was widely used in the West be itself a case of taoguangyanghui ?

Chinese Communist Party History and the Malleability of History

Historical ‘fact’ has been changeable for political purposes in the PRC ever since its founding. We have seen re-evaluations of US history in recent decades, particularly about the history of minorities, the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction. In China unfortunately, the Communist Party has far more powerful tools to tamp down people with disagreeable views.

Party history and the interpretation of statements by leaders and former leaders is politically sensitive. In this year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps a little more than usual. I was amused recently to see a comment on YouTube that in school the politics teacher handled history after 1840 while the history teacher taught Chinese history before 1840. 在学校时,党史是政治老师教的。鸦片战争前的历史才是学历史的人研究的 and “The closer history gets to the present, the hard it is to write! New leaders often malign previous leaders to strengthen their own base. Only if one can look at a period of history objectively is it possible to write a definitive history.” 越近的历史越不好写! 继任者往往对前任进行诋毁作为自己存在的基础。对那段历史客观了, 那段历史也就定论了。

To be fair, Chinese Communist Party history is much more of a ‘real’ academic field than it used to be. Before 1980, just propaganda material for political education. After the year 2000, according to a YouTube lecture 对中共历史的新认识 by Party historian Zhang Baijia 章百家, Party history has become much more like an academic field based on archives, memoirs and interviews with old leaders.

That trend towards somewhat more openness about Party history seems to have reversed under Xi Jinping. As Party historians are able to do better work, they run more risks too. The journal Yanhuang Chunqiu (Chinese: 炎黄春秋; pinyinYánhuáng Chūnqiū) which often published excellent articles on Chinese Communist Party and modern Chinese history was closed. Yang Jisheng was not forced out of that journal until 2015 even though he had already published two significant books on modern Chinese history Tombstone 墓碑 about the policy-caused famine that killed 40 million Chinese during 1959 – 1961 after the Great Leap Forward. In 2016 he published 天地翻覆 [The World Turned Upside Down] a history of the Cultural Revolution.

Xiao Gongqin Prefers Old Deng Over Xi Jinping’s Deng Xiaoping Theory Update

Xiao seems to be calling for China to take a step back and deal cautiously with its relations with the United States because the correlation of forces is not in China’s favor. Sounds to me much more like Old Deng than Xi Jinping who claims to have an updated version of Deng Xiaoping Theory.


Makes me think of the wonderful song “Deng Xiaoping” by Gramophonic!


Dealing with the New Pattern in the U.S. – China Game — U.S.-China Relations III

     In the first part of this three part article “New Thinking on U.S.-China Relations,” I analyzed how the U.S. mistakenly sees China as a rising “Red Empire” giving rise to a vicious interaction between the U.S. and China.

   In the second part , I pointed out that, based on the characteristics of U.S. strategic culture, the U.S. judges its strategic enemies based on two sometimes overlapping criteria: “profit-oriented” and “Christian moral idealism”. As long as the other party is large enough to fulfill the conditions of being both a challenge to the vital interests of the country and also to be judged “morally” as “evil”, in line with the Two Conditions Doctrine, that country will be considered a “strategic enemy” of the United States. Once the Americans strike a strategic enemy, they act indiscriminately.

   The second article also points out that neither a direct U.S.-China war nor a long and flexible cold war between China and the United States is not a reasonable option for either side. China and the U.S. cannot gamble on national fortunes. We must respond rationally to the coming challenges. Let’s not fall into the Thucydides trap.

   Based on the above historical examination and realistic analysis, this article argues that from the perspective of game theory, China should play to its comparative advantages and avoid China’s comparative disadvantages. In my view, the China must take into account five broad principles for dealing with U.S.-China relations. This article does not deal with specific strategic issues. I would like to present some personal views on these larger principles.

     I. Take a rational approach to the objective situation of a strong U.S. and a weak China

  In looking at the big pattern of the U.S.-China game, we must first establish its size. That is, we should look at the problem from the big picture of the contrast of power, this first stand its big, including two points, the first point is that the United States is strong and weak. The second point is that the United States is not a piece of iron.

   We must admit that forty years ago, China was still a developing country with a per capita income of only $300, existing in almost total seclusion. China’s starting for a weak base. Four decades of reform and opening up and the historic progress that China has made and the closing of some of the gap in national power between China and the United States as the world’s hegemon. However, no matter whether one considers basic national power, high-tech power, cultural power (discourse power), resource mobilization capacity, military power, international coordination power and many other aspects, the U.S. is stronger and we are weaker.

   Our analysis should reflect our understanding of the contrast between strength and weakness. Anyone with some common sense who is not dominated by exuberant romantic passions, but respects objective facts, should acknowledge this. This basic understanding should not be blurred by the shallow rhetoric of false nationalism and “great country”. This should be the basic point of our consideration.

   The second point is that it should be seen that the United States is not impossibly strong. This leaves China with considerable room to play to its strengths as it reviews the situation.

   From a high-level perspective, while the U.S. has super hawks who are extremely anti-China and are now in charge of some key sectors and have what appears to be a very strong voice and influence, the U.S. president, on the other hand, is not completely aligned with the extreme hardliners. Trump is still consciously keeping a distance from the ultra-conservatives in the military.

   Just a short time ago (September 2020), Trump made public remarks in the White House that “And it’s one of the reasons the military — I’m not saying the military is in love with me — the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

   Trump said these words purposefully. Trump does not want to be kidnapped by the militant wing of the military, and he, as a pragmatic businessman-politician, is not exactly in line with the military, which is fixated on conservative ideology. Trump is more or less aware that extreme vicious interaction between China and the U.S. would hurt both sides and and would severely harm the U.S. economy. Trump just doesn’t want the other side to know this when he applies extreme pressure on them.

   Second, although the anti-China faction in the United States does want to isolate and defeat China, the United States is a pluralistic society. The U.S. and China have had both reaped great complementary effects in economic cooperation over the past 40 years due to their different stages of economic development and their respective comparative advantages. The two sides have become closely bound to one another in a web of economic cooperation. For this reason, the U.S. has many rational moderates among the high-tech elites, the middle class and entrepreneurs.

   China is the largest customer of the U.S. chip industry. If it should lose such a big customer as China, the chip industry which needs high levels of investment, will not earn high returns. The chip industry would have a tough time maintaining steady growth just because of the high interdependence between the U.S. high-tech industry and China.

   On the other hand, the degree of integration of the U.S. and Chinese economies is also very high. Over the past four decades, U.S.-China trade has increased more than 250 times, supporting 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. More than 70,000 U.S. companies have invested in China, and the vast majority are making money. These economic interests and complementary business relationships make the U.S. and Chinese economies highly integrated. This is the basis for the benign relationship that U.S. moderates toward China hope will develop with China. These are the positive factors that underpin the positive development of U.S.-China relations.

   Amidst the current anti-China atmosphere in the United States, these rational moderates don’t fee free to come forward and make objective and rational statements about China because they feel threatened by McCarthyism. Two years ago, when I attended a seminar attended by scholars from both China and the United States, an American friend told me that many prominent American experts on China had agreed to attend the conference, but later canceled their trip because they feared they would be perceived as pro-China “traitors” in the United States. This demonstrates the extent to which U.S.-China relations have deteriorated.

   However, as long as China persists in maintaining a rational and restrained attitude, they will find the will to speak out as the situation changes. Once the atmosphere in Sino-U.S. Relations becomes calmer and after some positive interactions, they will be able to exert their influence and check the ultra-conservative anti-China faction.

   The existence of a broad segment of U.S. and Chinese society that wants friendship between China and the United States works to China’s advantage. This can only work if China is not perceived as a “red empire” and if the two sides do not rattle sabers but instead remain calm.

   Looking at it the other way, once the two sides get into vicious ideological battles, the pragmatic moderates within the United States will be suppressed by the extremists due to the the pressure of “political correctness” in the United States. If that happens, the counterbalancing force conducive to healthy relations between China and the United States will lose its influence.

   Similarly, President Trump is a businessman-politician. With ideological politics out of the picture, he will follow the logic of a businessman, bargain on matters of mutual interest and negotiate with China to resolve their conflicts and differences. He did this a few years ago when he went beyond the “political correctness” of American ideology to praise China and its leaders. With the intensification of ideological conflict, however, he will take on a new role of American “hero” who opposes the “Red Empire,” as his UN General Assembly speech of two years ago demonstrated.

   The right approach is to promote, encourage, and strengthen structural integration as a means of easing tensions in U.S.-China relations.

     II. The soft overcomes the hard, the still subdues the active: Makes use of flexible wisdom of “water”.

   Based on the judgment of the general situation of the U.S.-China game, the strengths, weaknesses and pluralism of the U.S., a reasonable response from the Chinese side can only be to overcome rigidity with flexibility, to subdue the active with stillness, maintain our rationality and reserve in order to avoid a hard all-out a tooth-for-a-tooth confrontation.

   From the perspective of game theory, when the confrontation between the strong and the weak becomes a white-hot crisis, it is to the advantage of the weaker side to uses softness to overcome hardness. The goal of the weaker side is, while preserving its national interests, to avoid over stimulating the stronger side so as to avoid inducing the stronger side to make an overly strong, disproportionate response.

   The reason is simple: once the stronger party makes a strong rebound, it can use its advantages in greater resources and greater ability to mobilize personnel. This works to the disadvantages of the weaker side. At its worst, the effect would be destroy the foundations of the weaker state; in its milder form would force the weaker state to pull back, making China fall into the trap of “decoupling” from the rest of the world.

   In this situation, the weaker side — China, in this case, should a bloody gunfight, because this would give the anti-China faction a pretext for calling for a strong, disproportionate response.

   Overcoming the strong with the soft does not mean giving up the struggle. It means sticking to our principles and firmly defending our national interests on the basis of rationality, moderation, and discipline. I will have more to say about this later in this article.

   The so-called “using the stillness to subdue the active” means to bearing humiliation, knowing our strengths, guarding ourselves against our weaknesses, to be remain reserved and steady, to argue based on reason, and to make reactions proportionate to the made the provocations the other side makes.

   If we were to make a proportionate response, we would fall into the trap of being forced by the other side to “decouple” China from the world. We should “stay alert in peacetime and remain determined to keep the peace” and wait until the time is right to turn the situation around.

   Once Trump is re-elected, getting votes will no longer be a factor, and the political maneuvering to earn votes by creating tensions and stimulating “patriotism” within the United States will no longer be needed. However, cooperation with China to revitalize the U.S. economy will still be helpful during Trump’s second term. This would be an attractive option for Trump in a second term. There is still a chance for a turnaround in U.S.-China relations. The key condition, however, is that there be no major, irreversible bad events occur before then.

   The period before a U.S. election is a very hazardous period in U.S.-China relations. It is imperative that we make full use of our rationality and wisdom with a broad and resolute mind, to prevent highly unpredictable events from occurring.

     III. Downplay ideological confrontation, discuss affairs, and speak with common sense

   As analyzed in the previous and middle parts of this article, the root cause of the vicious interactions between China and the United States is the misjudgment that “China’s is become a Red Empire” beginning in the late Obama era and continuing into the Trump’s time in office. This has affected the realism of the United States’ in pursuing the utilitarianism of its “America First” policy and results in a mutually re-enforcing interaction between the two interests first and formed a mutually reinforcing effect between these two motives.

   Accordingly, one of the keys to resolving the conflict is that we Chinese, when dealing with the U.S., should not simply place U.S.-China differences on the higher plane of ideological confrontation – the conflict between “socialism” and “imperialism”. We should simply discuss matters on their merits — to “talk business in business”, to use our common sense when we speak, and to avoid using high-sounding ideological thinking to guide the resolution of complex and intricate specific conflicts. Do not let the other side use it to reinforce the stereotype that “China is a red empire” and do not use “revolutionary” ideology to confront “counter-revolutionary” ideology.

   Second, if we adopt the traditional ideological theory of international class struggle to explain the China-U.S. conflict will logically lead some people to search for “agents of U.S. imperialism”,”fifth columnists” and “pro-American faction” within China.

   The far-left populism of the Cultural Revolution era would rise again in society. Entrepreneurs, intellectuals, overseas Chinese, foreign students, and those with overseas relatives in the forty years of China’s reform and opening up will all become targets, become “pro-U.S. suspects”. The resulting path dependence and chain reaction will lead to a disorderly political ecology and a society out of control. The anti-reformist populist trend will take advantage of the situation to expand in a vicious manner. All this would make force China backwards into a Cultural Revolution-style situation.

   If we were understand the U.S.-China game in the same old way “imperialism will never give up trying to destroy us”, the U.S. will think that China is mobilizing communist parties throughout the world to unite against “international imperialism”. That would ignite a vicious cycle between the two side that see each other as struggle between Good and Evil and so devolve into a “life and death struggle”. The U.S. conservative anti-China faction would take to this like a fish to water, using it to “prove” that China “has resurrected the Red Empire.”

   If we use game theory to do a cost-benefit calculation, we find that the “cost-performance ratio” of doing so is really too low and not worth considering.

   If both sides in handling China – U.S. relations respect pluralism and stress common sense, they will be able to rationally address their contradictions and conflicts. By applying their common sense, they will be able to achieve a common terms for discussing issues and find ways to arrive at mutually acceptable compromises. Acting in this manner to find win-win solutions is the best choice we can make.

   Only by understanding the feelings of the other side and seeking to move on another through reason, can both sides strive to avoid using offensive language that hurt the feelings of the other side as we mutually confront our differences. Only by adhering to principle and arguing on the basis of reason can the Chinese side effect a reconciliation on the differences that divide us and gain the understanding and sympathy of the American people at large.

   In addition, it is particularly important that China, the relatively vulnerable side in the U.S.-China game, be wary of instinctively falling into a “hedgehog-like retreat reflex” when under relatively heavy pressure.

   The so-called “retreating reflex” is that under strong external pressure, the weaker party instinctively retreats from a tense situation, like a hedgehog, and goes into a closed state, in order to gain a sense of security.

   More specifically, it would mean that under the pressure of a confrontation with the United States, China would decide to close itself off once again in all aspects of the economy, society, culture, and education and reinforces the leftist class struggle ideological propaganda as a means of self-defense.

   The self-imposed isolation resulting from the “self-defense reflex” and the resulting full “decoupling” of China is exactly what U.S. anti-China conservatives want.

   We should note that the Chinese leadership has a clear and sober understanding of this. Chinese policy makers have proposed that “a high level of openness should be used to promote a deep level of reform.” The Chinese leadership proposed that “a new development pattern for China largely drive by domestically with mutual reinforcement between the domestic and foreign cycles. This will create new advantages for China in it participation in international cooperation and competition.” This very correct and far-sighted move reflects farsightedness and wisdom. Only by setting out from a strategically advantageous position, remaining alert and thinking of consequences far down the road, will we be able to defeat the efforts of the anti-China faction to force China to decouple itself from the world.

   IV. Deploy a new political discourse to dispel the mistaken “red empire theory” of the West and to show the world the face of China’s generosity and open-mindedness.

   The key to the deterioration of U.S.-China relations is the U.S. ideological assumption that China is “becoming a red Empire.” To dispel the West’s misconception that China is a “red empire,” we should adopt a new political discourse that Westerners can understand.

   This political discourse should, on the one hand, express that China is an integral part of world civilization. China is not an “alien” to the world civilization as some people in the West imagine. China pursues and shares with the rest of the world the positive values common to mankind all the while emphasize the importance of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the nation’s pursuit of modernization and people’s happiness.

   It should be made clear that China is not the “Red Empire” the West mistakenly believes it to be. The so-called Red Empire, in the Western context, refers to a revolutionary system that achieves the goal of world communism by world revolution. The “Red Empire would impose the dictatorship of the proletariat and the planned state-run economy worldwide through violent revolution in order to establish world-wide revolutionary communism.

  Moreover, the reform and opening up of China during the Deng Xiaoping era established socialism with Chinese characteristics, opened China up to the outside world as and actively participant in and embracing globalization as an active participant in the market economy. On the ideological front, during the Deng Xiaoping era China replaced outdated dogmatism with the theory that “practice is the only criterion for testing the truth”. In creating the future through win-win cooperation with other countries around the world, China was not at all the “Red Empire” of the Cold War era that some Westerners have in mind.

   China is not the “red empire” as misunderstood by Westerners. We can see from the major theoretical statements made by the leaders of the Communist Party of China. At the “Bicentennial Congress of Marx’s Birth” in May 2018, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping systematically and comprehensively articulated the world view of China’s ruling party in a speech to a grand conference attended by all members of the Politburo.

   This speech, full of the spirit of the new era and, throughout the speech, leaves behind the “theory of class struggle”, “theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat”, the “theory of violent revolution only” and the romantic”theory of world revolution”.

   In his speech, Xi also stated that “the free development of each individual is the precondition for the free development of all people”, and that the general trend of integration between China and the world is inexorable. He said that “all things growing together without harming each other, and the their ways are running parallel without contradicting each other”. “The world-wide nature of human interaction, the interdependence of nations, is more frequent and closer than in any past era, and “This is the way of the integrated world. Whoever rejects that will be rejected by the world.”

   What is a fresh new spirit of the times. These statement by the Chinese Communists fully express the determination and will of Chinese people to integrate themselves into the mainstream of world civilization.

   In the spirit of that speech, we should address the relationships among ideology, diplomacy and international affairs, resolve the misunderstandings foreigners have and allay their concern that China is rising like a “red empire,” and guide the reshaping U.S.-China relations.

   The biggest misconception in the West is that China’s one-party system is a “totalitarian regime.” This is a concept of one-party politics that puts Leninism, Stalinism, and Fascism into the same category. In the world political science field, this one-party leadership system with Marxist ideology is understood as a “totalitarian regime” in the intellectual spectrum of Western conservatives. This concept dominates Western political science and ideology. China needs a response to this.

   How can Western misconceptions about the current Chinese system be resolved? It can be explained to the world that since Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up, China has changed from the old pre-reform system to a “developing type system”.

   China is a developing country that needs a strong government authority to ensure political stability and economic progress in an era of transformation. With the resolution to the 1989 disturbances and with Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Speech, both the extreme leftists within the system the extreme rightists in Chinese society were marginalized in Chinese political life. This resolution ushered in wave upon wave of economic reforms.

   The success of China is the success of this “developing county system,” which is in turn the product of the vigorous practice of Chinese reform and opening up. This kind of system has not yet been adequately studied by international political science. As China’s socio-economic development continues, China will find its own path of socialist democratic development, as it moves ahead, step-by-step, through its own experience.

   China will, by learning from its own experience, explore its own democratic path. In the future, China will never become identical to the West. Its socialist democratic form will certainly have its own characteristics in a giant developing country with its own unique civilization. This will include the new cultural traits that it accumulated during the revolutionary era.

   As to what form Chinese democracy will take in the future, this will be the result of the collective experience of the Chinese people in the process of exploration. This exploration continues. We cannot yet say what it will be. Certainly it will combine common human experience with our Chinese national experience.

   More specifically, the current Chinese system since opening and reform began forty years ago is a “developmental system” based on common sense and rationality and one that respects the plurality of social, economic, and cultural thought. This arrangement has been worked out through the collective experience of Chinese people. (The Chinese public, and some Chinese scholars including the author, call this the “New Authoritarianism”.)

[There are many understandings of what the New Authoritarianism is: for one discussion see the 2014 Ignatieff et al “The New Authoritarianism – Authoritarian capitalism is now liberal democracy’s chief competitor, and if we are to meet its challenges, we have to understand its inner logic. See also the Wiki article about New Authoritarianism in its Chinese incarnation. End Note.]

   There are several significant advantages to responding to the Western challenge and the U.S. – China relationship using the discourse of “developmental institutions” rather than the traditional discourse of revolutionary ideology.

   –First, it emphasizes the need for the government to maintain strong centralized authority in a very large developing country for the sake of economic integration and stable social development. China does this for the sake of its organizational needs rather than for any aim at a romantic “world revolution. This is a kind of authoritarianism that aims to direct and integrate resources in the modernization process of a late-developing country.

   This kind of discourse would be better understood by the general public in Western societies. A discourse that states that China is moving in the direction of democracy, even if it is not western-style democracy, can free them from the worldview that the anti-China view that western conservatives are pushing. A few years ago, when a Western journalist interviewed me by telephone. The author mentioned the advantages of the new authoritarianism, and the journalist said, “If you say this, we Americans can understand it.” This shows that this discourse is understandable and acceptable in Western society.

   — Second, it maintains the sense that there is a democratizing trend in governance with national characteristics that do not depend on Western-style democracy. As things stand today, a simple one-person-one-vote Western-style democracy would leave the field open to populism. Chinese democracy means collective experience that emerge from the collection and reflection upon our experiences.

   Presented this way, China is not a political anomaly but instead a brother among brothers in human civilization moving along the same path. The development of Chinese democracy also provides a reference point for the world’s people confronted by the dilemmas of Western democracy.

   — Third, this kind of discourse downplays ideological confrontation. It will help dispel the Western myth of China as the “Red Empire.

   This developmental system with Chinese characteristics emphasizes that the democratic spirit, freedom, rule of law, and fairness is a goal that China shares with all peoples of the world. At the same time it stresses the historical necessity of centralized leadership at a stage when it is working towards achieving the modernization goal of national wealth and power. This discourse gives political legitimacy to China’s “developmental system” even as it maintains China’s own political identity. This meets the expectations of the world about China’s future integration into the mainstream of world civilization as well. In this way, China will be better understood by the world.

   China is not a political island entire onto itself. By deploying this discourse, China will be better understood by the world. This mutual understanding it creates will serve as a bridge to a new relationship between China and the United States.

   China is the biggest beneficiary and most sincere defender of the current international order. That is a point that we should stress. There are no fundamental, insoluble conflicts between China and the United States. China and the United States should be friends, not enemies. In a frank and humble way, instead of cursing each other and confronting one another, we should engage in dialogue with the United States and the rest of the world. We should be reasonable, have the utmost sincerity, and working together with similarly-minded people, we will be able to resolve our differences and create a situation. This would reshape the relationship between China and the United States.

   In retrospect, such a discourse does not mean that the conflict of interests between the two great powers of China and the United States will disappear. These conflicts, however, would not longer by superimposed upon ideological conflict that would inflame the situation. The intensity of these confrontations would be greatly reduced

     V. Use softness to overcome strength while remaining determined

   In dealing with the U.S.-China relationship, we should neither mouth bombast nor should we delude ourselves. First of all, China is no longer the old but weak country it was on the eve of the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s. China has sufficient national strength and social cohesion to deal with foreign challenges. The significance China surpassing the United States in the number of companies listed in the Global 500 is not that China’s national strength is comparable to that of the United States, but that the trend of China’s continued steady growth continues unabated.

   China’s comparative advantage will continue to play an increasing role as long as it does not interrupt its own trend of progress by war. Time is on China’s side.

   According to World Bank forecasts, China is the only major economy in the world expected to grow this year. China has the world’s only full range of industrial sectors. China’s economic strength, China’s capacity to mobilize its population, and the government’s organizational and military strength, have all impressed the world in its response to the novel coronavirus pneumonia pandemic. These are all manifestations of China’s comprehensive national power.

   Second, if China has already become an adversary, showing weakness to the U.S. by backing off would make the Americans smug and arrogant. The anti-China faction will have even less sense of proportion. That would not help matters.

   Third, the United States itself has its own serious internal contradictions and dilemmas. It is also true that American democracy is caught in a crisis of serious value conflict between conservative populism and radical egalitarianism. American society is tearing itself apart in a way not seen for decades.

   Second, America faces a constitutional crisis. Trump’s personal lawyer said that Trump will refuse to hand over power once he loses the election. Biden said that he would use the military to send Trump out of the White House if that happens. While it’s an open question what the odds of that happening are, America’s own crisis has made the country not as strong as it seems. The situation in the U.S. today is a far cry from the domestic unity the United States had when President Roosevelt dealt with Imperial Japan.

   Fourth, the extreme anti-China faction in the United States is trying hard to decouple the U.S. from China, but in the overall pattern of integrated U.S. and Chinese interests, decoupling is a lose-lose proposition. As some scholars have pointed out, most of the industrial goods the United States needs come from China, and U.S. agricultural and high-tech products cannot be sold to China, nor can the the high investment in high technology be supported by high returns. These unfavorable factors are the fatal flaws in decoupling.

   Based on the above analysis, China must must have enough confidence, calm response, softness, not to provoke the other side. When it does choose to make a response, it should display self-confidence and courage.

   There is a Western saying that “even a bayonet will shrink when it touches a stone”. In the game between the two sides, the side that is weaker for the time being, should bear this in mind.

   The wisdom of water is not in its softness, but in the continuous “time advantage” embodied in the drop of water on a stone.

   To overcome the rigid with softness, to find the hardness in the softness, to combine softness and the hardness, how to unify the pair, what is needed is political wisdom.

  Writing at this historic moment: Keep the faith and move ahead to a better future

   Some friends asked me “What path should China take?” My answer was, summarizing the history of two thousand years of Chinese imperial civilization, two hundred years of modern Chinese and Western civilization colliding with one another, and forty years of reform and opening up, China should take a low-key, pragmatic and enlightened path of socialist democracy-oriented development with Chinese characteristics. More specifically, that is to respect social pluralism, respect common sense and rationality, get rid of the obstacles from time-worn ideologies, leave behind the old extreme leftist road of the Cultural Revolution-style, leave behind the the road of the Western-style extreme right, and leave behind the grand talk and the excitement and achievement craving false pride of nationalism. By sticking to the middle road of rationality, we will be taking the path towards Chinese wealth and strength.

   Such a path, I believe would form the broadest social consensus in Chinese society and avoid the social divisions that would tear society apart based on ideological differences.

   Respect common sense, respect pluralism, be rational and moderate, transcend extremes, and gradually integrating ourselves into the sea of world civilization all the while respecting the continuity of Chinese history.

   “Don’t be big and reckless, don’t be rich and arrogant, don’t be a majority that tramples upon a minority.” That is the ancient Chinese wisdom that we should take to heart.

   China, as a very large late-rising power, is still at the stage of learning how to handle its relationship with the world and how to integrate itself with the world in the wake of the explosive growth of the Chinese economy.

   The Chinese love peace, are hard-working, reasonable and wise enough people to have the confidence to overcome difficulties and cooperate in the cooperative symbiosis of the world’s civilizations to reach win-win solutions. Relying upon the wisdom and courage of the Chinese people, we will move towards a better future.


如何应对中美博弈的新格局 —— 中美关系的新思考 下篇

  

   在《中美关系的新思考》的上篇里,我分析了美国误把中国视为正在崛起的“红色帝国”,从而美国与中国之间正在形成恶性互动。

   在中篇里,我指出,根据美国的战略文化的特点,美国在判断战略敌人时,是美国利益至上的“实利本位主义”与“基督教道德理想主义”两种动机的叠加,只要对方体量足够大,被美国人视为挑战了该国的重大利益,并在“道德上”被判定为“邪恶者”,符合“两条件论”,就会被美国视为“战略敌人”。对于战略敌人,美国人一旦出手,往往是没有分寸的。

   中篇还指出,无论是直接发生中美战争,还是中美之间陷入长期柔性冷战,对双方都不是合理的选择。中国与美国不能赌国运,我们必须理性地应对即将到来的挑战。防止陷入修昔底德陷阱。

   基于以上历史考察与现实分析,本篇认为,从博弈论的角度看,就是要如何发挥中国的比较优势,避免中国的比较劣势。在我看来,中国人必须考虑到处理中美关系的五个大的原则。本文并不涉及具体策略问题。仅就这些比较大的原则,提出一些个人初浅的看法。

  

   一,理性地对待美强中弱的客观态势

   在审视中美博弈大格局时,要先立其大。也就是要从力量对比的大局出发来看问题,这个先立其大,包括两个要点,第一个要点是,美强中弱。第二个要点是,美国不是铁块一块。

   我们必须承认,中国在四十年以前,还是一个人均收入仅300美元的、几乎处于完全闭关锁国状态的后发展国家,中国的起步基础就是很薄弱的,虽然在40年的改革开放过程中,中国取得很大的历史性进步,中国与作为世界霸主的美国在国力上的差距已经缩短,但在中美博弈中,无论从基本国力,高科技力,文化力(话语力)、资源动员能力、军事力、国际统筹力等诸多方面,对方都是强势方,我们是弱势方。

   对这种强弱对比的认识,应该是我们考虑问题的基础。任何有点常识的人,只要不被亢奋的浪漫激情所支配,而是尊重客观事实的,都应该承认这一点。万不可让虚骄民族主义与“厉害了国”的浅薄的大言高论,来模糊了这一基本认识。这应该是我们考虑问题的基本点。

   第二个要点是,应该看到,美国内部并不是铁块一块的。这就让中国在审时度势的前提下,有相当的空间来发挥自己的优势。

   从高层层面来看,美国虽然有极端反华的超级鹰派,并且现在正执掌了一些关键部门的权力,有着看上去十分强大的话语权与影响力,但是,另一方面,美国总统与极端强硬派之间,并不是完全一致的。特朗普对于极端保守派军方,仍然有意识地保持着一定的距离。

   就在不久前(2020年9月),特朗普就在白宫公开发表言论说,“五角大楼的领导人可能并不喜欢我,军队高官只想发动战争,让军火商谋利”。“他们满脑子只想打仗,让那此制造炸弹飞机的公司都保持快乐。”

   特朗普说这些话决非偶然,因为特朗普并不希望被军方的好战派绑架,他作为一个务实的商人政治家,与固执于保守意识形态的军方并不完全一致,他也多少意识到中美极端恶性互动与两败具伤,会对美国经济带来严重的负面后果。只是他在极端施压时,不愿意让对方知道这一点。

   其次,虽然美国反华派确实想孤立并斗垮中国,但美国是一个多元社会,美中在四十年合作中,由于经济发展阶段与各自的比较优势的不同,具有极大的经济合作的互补效应。双方在经济合作中已经变得“你中有我,我中有你”。正因为如此,在美国社会的各个领域,美国有着为数众多的由高科技精英、中产阶级、企业家阶层构成的对华理性温和派。

   就以美国芯片产业而论,中国是美国芯片业的最大的买家,如果失去了中国这样的大用户,以高投入为特点的芯片产业就得不到高回报,这一产业就难以有可持续性的发展,美国高科技产业与中国的相互依赖度是很高的。

   另一方面,中美经济的彼此嵌入程度也很高,四十多年来,中美贸易增加了250多倍,支撑了美国260万个就业机会。7万多家美国企业在中国投资兴业,绝大多数都在赢利。中美经济不可分的密切利益与互补关系,这是美国对华温和派希望与中国关系得以良性发展的基础。这些都是支撑中美关系良性发展的积极因素。

   虽然,在目前的情势下,在美国现在的反华气氛中,这些理性温和派不便站出来发表有关中国问题的客观理性的言论,因为他们感到麦卡锡主义的威胁。二年前,我参加一个中美双方学者都参加的讨论会,一位美国朋友当时就告诉我,本来美国有许多著名中国问题专家都答应参加这次会议的,但后来都取消了行程,原因是,他们担心会在美国被视为亲中国的“美奸”。这种现象表明中美关系恶化的程度。

   然而,只要中国持之以恒地保持理性的克制态度,随着时局的变化,一旦中美关系有缓和的气氛,经过一段时期的良性互动,他们就有出来讲话的意愿。并能发挥自己的影响力,从而有效地制衡极端保守的反华派。

   美国社会内部存在着希望中美友好的广泛阶层,这是中国在博弈中的一个有利条件,但这个有利条件必须在中国不被认为是“红色帝国”的前提下,在双方并非剑拔弩张的气氛,并保持足够缓和的状态时,才有可能发挥作用。

   相反,一旦在意识形态上双方进入硬碰硬恶性互动,在美国“政治正确”的压力下,就会使美国内部的务实温和派,不得不受到极端派压制,这种有利于中美良性关系的美国多元性的制衡力量就会失去其影响力。

   基于同样的道理,美国总统特朗普是一个商人政治家,在意识形态政治淡出的情况下,会按商人的逻辑,在商言商,就事论事地与中国进行利益交换与协商,解决彼此的矛盾分歧,正如几年前那样,他甚至会超越美国意识形态的“政治正确”,称赞中国与中国领导人。但在意识形态冲突强化的条件下,他会摇身一变,扮演成反对“红色帝国”的美国“英雄”,两年前他在联合国大会上的发言,已经表明他具有这样的两重性格。

   中国在四十年的改革开放过程中,随着中美经济与文化、社会合作的加深,美中两国都有着巨大受益群体,中美之间具有结构性的矛盾一面,也有结构性的融合的一面,正确的做法,是促进、鼓励、加强结构性的融合,以此来缓和中美关系的紧张。

  

   二,以柔克则,以静制动,发挥"水"的柔性智慧

   基于对中美博弈大局中,美强中弱与美国多元性的判断,中国方面合理的对策,只能是以柔克刚,以静制动,理性内敛,而不是以牙还牙的硬碰硬对决。

   从博弈论的角度来说,在强弱双方的对峙处于白热化的危机状态下,弱势方以柔克刚的好处是,在保护本民族利益的同时,避免过度刺激对方,引起强势对方作出缺乏分寸感的过度反应。

   原因很简单,强者一旦作出强烈反弹,由于它掌握更强大的资源与动员能量,足以利用其优势,产生对弱势方不利的效果。重则伤国本,轻则不得不被对方拖着走,中了对方让中国与世界“脱钩”的圈套。

   在这种情势下,弱势方的中国,尤其是要避免擦枪走火的流血事件,因为这会为对方反华派提供强烈的、无分寸的反弹的借口。

   当然,以柔克刚,决不是放弃斗争,而是在有理、有利、有节的基础上,坚持原则,坚定地维护民族利益。关于这一点,本文后面还会谈到。

   所谓以静制动,就是要忍辱负重,知其雄,守其雌,低调稳健,据理力争,对于对方的挑衅,不必事事作出对等性反弹。

   因为对等性反弹,反而会落入对方强迫中国与世界“脱钩”的陷阱。“养锋锐以和平,戢嚣张于坚定”,争取在时机成熟时,来促使局势峰回路转。

   从目前大趋势来看,特朗普连任的可能性很大,一旦特朗普继续连任,选票因素不再存在,通过制造紧张局势,通过刺激美国国内“爱国主义”的方式,来挣取选票的政治手腕就不再有用,而通过与中国合作来振兴美国经济,对于第二任期的特朗普来说,仍然具有相当的吸引力。中美关系仍然有着转圜的机会。但关键条件是,此前没有发生重大的、不可逆转恶性事件。

   在美国大选以前的这段时间内,是中美关系充满危机的时期,一定要用我们的理性与智慧,以博大坚毅的襟怀,防止高度不可预测事件的发生。

  

   三,淡化意识形态对峙,就事论事,用常识说话

   正如上篇与中篇所分析的,中美恶性互动的根本原因,是从奥巴马后期到特朗普执政期,美国对“中国红色帝国化”的误判,触动了美国利益至上的实利主义,形成这两大动机之间的相互强化效应。

   正因为如此,解决矛盾的一个关键是,我们中国人在处理与美国关系时,不要把中美矛盾简单地上纲到“社会主义”与“帝国主义”的你死我活的意识形态对峙与冲突。要就事论事,“在商言商”,用常识说话,避免用高调的意识形态思维,来处理复杂错综的具体矛盾。不可让对方借此强化“中国是红色帝国”的刻板印象,不要用“革命”意识形态来对抗“反革命”意识形态。

   其次,用传统的国际阶级斗争的意识形态理论,来解释中美冲突,从逻辑上说,那就一定会让一些人顺理成章地要在国内找“美帝国主义的代理人”,找国内的“第五纵队”与“亲美派”。

文革时代的极左民粹主义,就会在社会上被重新激活,四十年来中国改革开放中的企业家、知识分子、华侨、留学生,有海外亲属者,

都会成为被打击对象与“亲美嫌疑”,由此产生的路径依赖与连锁反应,将会导致全社会政治生态失序与社会失控,反改革开放的极左民粹主义思潮,就会乘势如虎添翼地恶性膨胀。中国就有可能出现文革式的的历史倒退。

   如果我们沿用“帝国主义亡我之心不死”的老套路,来解读中美博弈,美国则会认定中国是在动员全世界的共产党,联合起来对付“国际帝国主义”,这样的双方恶性互动,会变得“非正即邪”,你死我活。美国保守反华派则如鱼得水,会以此来“证明”中国是“复活了的红色帝国。”

   即使从博弈论的从成本与效益核算出发,这样做的“性价比”也实在太低,是很不值得的。

   正因为如此,处理中美关系的方法原则,就只能是尊重多元,尊重常识,如果双方都能用常识理性来处理彼此之间的矛盾与冲突,就能在常识领域,找到彼此的同类项与公约数,就会发现通过彼此的妥协,实现合作共赢,才是最有利的选择。

   只有晓之以情,喻之以理,在面对分歧时,双方都要尽量避免使用骂街式的、恶化彼此情绪的攻击性语言。中国人只有坚持原则,据理力争,才能化解畛域,争取到广大美国人民的理解与同情。

   此外,特别重要的是,在中美博弈过程中,处于相对弱势的中国,要警惕在受到比较大的压力时,本能地陷入“刺猬式的自我退缩性的反应”。

   所谓“自我退缩性反应”,就是在外部强大压力下,弱势一方本能地因紧张而退缩,如刺猬一样,进入封闭的状态,以此来获得自我安全感。

   更具体地说,就是在美国的对抗压力下,中国采取经济、社会、文化、教育各个方面重新全面自我封闭,并强化左的阶级斗争的意识形态宣传,以此来作为自我防御的手段与对策。

   “自我退缩性的防御反应”所导致的自我封闭,以及由此造成在中国的全面“脱钩”,正好是美国反华保守派所希望的,

   值得注意的是,中国领导层对此都有明确的清醒的认识,中国决策层提出,“要用高层次的开放,来促进深层次的改革。”中国领导层提出,“以国内大循环为主体,以国内国际双循环相互促进的新发展格局,培育我国参与国际合作和竞争的新优势”,这是十分正确与有远见的智慧之举。只有高屋建瓴,阔视远想,才能击败反华派迫使中国世界脱钩的图谋。

  

   四、用新的政治话语来消解西方“红色帝国论”的误解,向世界展示中国博大宽容与开明的形象

   中美关系恶化的关键,是美国从意识形态角度来认定中国正在走向“红色帝国化”,要消除西方对中国是“红色帝国”的误解,可以通过使用西方人能理解的新的政治话语。

   这种政治话语,一方面,要表达中国与世界文明相互融合,中国并不是西方某些人想像的世界文明的“异类”,中国与世界各国追求并共享人类共同的美好价值,另一方面,要强调中国特色的社会主义,对于本民族追求现代化与人民幸福目标的重要性。

   应该明确指出,中国决不是西方人误以为的“红色帝国”,所谓的红色帝国,在西方人的语境中,指的是这样一种体制,即通过世界革命、通过全世界无产阶级专政,统制经济的方式,以暴力革命方式,实现世界共产主义目标的革命体制。

   然而,邓小平时代的改革开放的中国,通过建立起中国特色的社会主义,实现对外开放,以市场经济的积极参与者的姿态,积极参与并拥抱全球化,在意识形态上,以“实践是检验真理的唯一标准论”取代了过时的教条主义。在与世界各国的合作共赢中,创造未来,中国根本不是某些西方人心目中的冷战时代的“红色帝国”了。

   中国决非西方人误解的“红色帝国”,关于这一点,我们可以从中共领导人的重大理论表述中看到。在2018年5月“纪念马克思诞辰二百周年大会”上,中国领导人习近平在这篇由政治局全体委员出席的隆重大会讲话中,系统全面地阐述了中国执政党人对世界的看法。

   这篇讲话充满了新时代的精神,在整篇讲话中,超越了“阶级斗争论”、”无产阶级专政论”,超越了“唯暴力革命论”与浪漫的“世界革命论”。

   讲话中还有“每个人的自由发展是一切人的自由发展的条件”的论述,还论述了中国与世界融合的大趋势不可阻挡,提出“万物并育而不相害,道并行而不相悖”,“人类交往的世界性,各国彼此依存比过去任何时代都更频繁,更紧密”,“一体化的世界就在那里,谁拒绝这个世界,这个世界也会拒绝他”。

   这是何等鲜明的新时代精神,中国共产党人的这些新表述,都充分表达了中国人融入世界主流文明的决心与意志。

   我们应该根据这一讲话精神,处理意识形态与外交与国际事务的关系,化解国外对中国正在以“红色帝国的方式”崛起”的误解与担忧,为重塑中美关系,提供指导思路。

   西方人最大的误解是,把中国的一党领导下的体制,视为“极权体制”(Totalitarian regime),这个概念把列宁主义、斯大林、法西斯主义,都用“一党政治”来概括,并将它们混同为同一类体制,从世界政治学领域来看,西方保守派人士的知识谱系中,具有马克思主义意识形态的一党领导体制,都被理解为“极权体制”。这种观念在西方政治学与意识形态中是一种主流观念。必须对此有中国人的回应。

   如何化解西方人对中国现行体制的误解?可以向全世界说明,自邓小平改革开放以来,中国已经从改革以前的旧体制,转变为一种“发展型体制”。

   中国是一个发展中国家,这一时期需要政府具有强大的权威,以保证转变时代的政治稳定与经济进步,中国四十年的改革开放之所以取得成功,正是邓小平以来,通过执政党的铁腕,通过解决八九风波与邓小平南方讲话,先后让体制内的极左派与社会上的极端自由派思潮,在中国政治生活中被边缘化,并迎来了经济改革的一波又一波浪潮。

   中国的成功,正是这种“发展型体制”的成功,随着中国的经济发展与社会进步,这种体制是中国人改革开放鲜活实践的产物,却在国际政治学中,尚没有予以充分研究。随着中国社会经济的发展,中国会一步一步在自己的经验摸索中,找到符合本民族特色的社会主义民主发展道路。

   中国将通过自己的实践,探索自己的民主道路,将来的中国也决不会变得和西方一样,中国这样一个如此体量的、有着厚重的本国文明的超大型发展中国家,它的社会主义民主形态,当然有着本国的特色。其中也包含着革命时代积淀下来的新文化特质。

   至于未来中国民主采取什么形态,这是中国人在探索过程中集体经验的结晶,这一切还在探索过程中,我们还无法对其进行具体的描述,但肯定包含着人类的共同经验与本国经验的结合。

   更具体地说,四十年改革开放以来的中国现行体制,就是一种在中国人的集体经验中摸索出来的、尊重社会经济文化思想多元的、用常识理性为基础的“发展型体制”。(在中国民间,也有学者包括作者本人,称之为新权威主义。)

   当中国人用“发展型体制”的话语,而不是用革命意识形态的传统话语,来应对西方挑战,并处理中美关系时,就会有几个显著的优势。

   ——首先,它强调政府保持强大集中性权威,是为了超大型国家经济整合与社会发展稳定的需要,而不是为了浪漫的“世界革命”的组织需要。这种权威是一种后发展国家现代化过程中旨在于引导与整合资源的权威。

   这种话语思路比较能够得到西方社会大众的理解,让他们摆脱反华保守派意识形态的煽动。几年前,一位西方记者在电话采访作者本人时,作者提到新权威主义的这一优势,这位记者说,你这样说,我们美国人就能听懂了。这表明这种论述,在西方社会是可以被理解与可接受的。

   —— 其次,它保持了具有本国特色的民主治理的方向感,而这种民主方向,并不以西方式的民主为归依,从现在的情况来看,西方简单的一人一票大选式的民主,很难避免广场民粹主义,中国的民主,是一种旨在于集思益中形成的集体经验。

   这样,中国就不是世界是的异类,而是人类文明殊途同归的兄弟。中国民主的发展也将为世界处于西方民主困境中的人们,提供一种可资借鉴的参照物。

   —— 第三,这样的表述,淡化了意识形态对峙。对消除西方人的“红色帝国”的迷思(Myth),具有积极意义。

   这种中国特色的发展型体制,强调了民主、自由,法治、公平的精神是中国与世界各民族共同追求的目标,同时,又强调了集中统一领导在在实现民族富强的现代化目标这一阶段的历史必要性,这就一方面赋予中国“发展型体制”的正当性,另一方面,在保持本国政治的特色的同时,又满足了全世界对中国未来融入世界主流文明的期待。中国将被世界更好的理解。

   中国决不是世界政治的孤岛,中国将被全世界更加友善的理解,它所造成的双方理解,也会以成为中美重塑新关系的桥梁。

   要强调中国是现行国际秩序的最大受益者,也是真心维护者,中美之间没有根本的不可解决的矛盾,中美之间应该是朋友,而不是敌人。通过坦诚谦和的方式,而不是彼此骂街式的对抗,与美国与世界各国对话,持之以理,感以至诚,人同此心,心同此理,就能够化解轸域,别开生面。重塑中美之间的新关系。

   退而言之,这样的话语表述,并不意味着中美两个大国之间的利益冲突会由此消失,但至少这种利益冲突不再与意识形态冲突叠加在一起,而火上加油。这种对立的剧烈性将大为减弱。

  

   五,柔中有刚,保持定力

   在处理中美关系问题上,既不能高调,也不应自我妄自菲薄。首先,中国已经不是上世纪三十年代日本侵华以前的那个老大弱国,中国已经有足够的国力与社会凝聚力,来应对外来挑战。中国入选全球500强的公司数量已经超过美国,这一事实的重要性,并不在于中国国力已经可以与美国相比,而在于,中国持续稳定增长的趋势没有发生改变。

   只要中国不要因战争而中断自己的进步趋势,中国的比较优势将持续发挥越来越大的作用。时间在中国一边。

   据世界银行预测,中国是今年全球唯一一个有望实现经济增长的主要经济体,中国具有世界上唯一齐全的产业门类,中国经济实力,中国的社会动员力量,政府的组织力量与军事力量,都在应对新冠疫情过程中,让世界印象深刻。这些都是中国的综合国力的体现。

   其次,如果已经成为敌对方。一旦向美国示弱,一味退让,反而会让美国人自以为是,狂妄自大,反华派也会更没有分寸感。这将与事无补,

   第三,美国本身也有其严重的内部矛盾与困境。美国的民主也确实陷入到保守的民粹主义与激进的平等主义之间的严重价值冲突危机之中,美国社会的撕裂状态,是前几十年所没有的。

   其次,大选前的美国正面临一场宪政危机,特朗普的私人律师说,特朗普一旦败选后,将会拒绝交权,拜登则表示如果发生这种情况,他将运用军队把特朗普送出白宫。虽然这种情况发生的概率有多高是个未知数,但美国本身的危机也使这个国家并不如我们看上去那么强大。这与当年罗斯福总统应对日本帝国时的美国内部团结的情况有很大的不同。

   第四,美国的极端反华派竭力想与中国脱钩,但在中美利益相互嵌入,你中有我,我中有你的大格局下,脱钩主义是两败俱伤之举,正如有学者所指出的,美国所需要的工业品大部分来自中国,美国的农产品与高科技产品也无法卖给中国,高科技的高投入性质得不到高回报,也无法支撑。这些不利因素也是致命的。

   正是基于以上分析,中国必须必须有足够的自信,沉着应对,柔中有刚,不主动刺激对方,又在对方主动出击时,表现出自信与勇气。

   西方有一句俗语,“刺刀碰到石头,也会缩一缩”。在双方博弈中,处于暂时的弱势方,也应具有这样的态度。

   以柔克刚,体现的是水的智慧,水的智慧并不在其柔弱,而在于水滴石穿中体现的持续的“时间优势”。

   以柔克刚,与柔中有刚,如何刚柔并济,两者如何统一,需要的是政治智慧。

  

   写在书写历史的时刻:保持信心,走向美好的未来

   有朋友问我,中国应该走什么样的道路,我的回答是,总结两千年帝制文明史,两百年近代中西文明碰撞史,与四十年改革开放史,中国应该走低调的、务实的、开明的、有中国特色社会主义民主导向的发展之路。更具体地说,那就是尊重社会多元,尊重常识理性,摆脱陈旧意识形态干扰,超越文革式的极左老路,超越西式极右的邯郸学步之路,超越高调的、好大喜功的虚骄的民族主义。通过中道理性,出走中国富强之路。

   这样的路,相信能够凝聚中国社会最广大的社会共识,避免社会分造成的意识形态分歧为基础的社会撕裂。

   尊重常识,尊重多元,理性中道,超越极端,在尊重中国历史连续性的基础上,逐渐融入世界文明的大海。

   毋大而肆,毋富而骄,毋众而嚣,应该是我们铭记在心的古老的中国智慧。

   中国作为一个超级规模的后进大国,在爆发性的经济增长之后,如何处理自己与世界的关系,如何融合世界,确实还处于漫长的学习阶段。

   中国人爱好和平,勤劳刻苦,通情达理,有足够智慧的民族,我们要有信心克服困难,在世界各文明的合作共生中,合作共赢。用中国人的智慧与勇气,走向美好的未来。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated, with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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