Monthly Archives: March 2019

“破碎化的治理体系破坏了河内峰会” 多维新闻

多维新闻

“破碎化的治理体系破坏了河内峰会”

2019年 3月 2日

贝一明

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普于2月28日在河内JW万豪酒店与朝鲜最高领导人金正恩举行峰会后,在新闻发布会上就此次会晤做出回应。

2月28日越南河内金特会即将结束前,签署联合声明这一环节突然取消。在我的记忆中,这是最错综复杂、最具矛盾性的历史事件之一。当然,唐纳德·特朗普和迈克·蓬佩奥随后敷衍出来的声明倒是浅显易懂。在媒体眼中,这次峰会无异于一场了无新意的真人秀,会上讨论最多的,除了过程还是过程。

特朗普表示自己跟金正恩、安倍晋三、习近平和文在寅的关系“十分牢固”,给人的感觉像是一个深夜脱口秀演员想靠东拉西扯把节目中的漏洞搪塞过去。

然而,不管特朗普抛出多少具有积极意义的字眼,人们都无法忽视在世界范围内蔓延的巨大灾难。他说自己同金主席进行了“富有成效的会谈”,但诸如此类的花言巧语,根本无法成为在各方面前逐渐升级的战争威胁的遮羞布。

实话实说。朝鲜不会对世界和平造成严重威胁;恰恰相反,在1945年旧金山会议所建立的全球秩序分崩离析、乱尘纷飞之际,朝鲜是一座相对稳定的安全岛。这个国家封闭而又专制,但它在国际舞台上绝非异类。

反观美国。如今其政府中的专业人员所剩无几,针对各种问题和政策的分析愈发偏颇,文化也因财富的过度集中而扭曲。这样的美国正在滑入孤立主义和军国主义的深渊,在这两种危险政策的共同作用下,什么事情都有可能发生。

河内峰会无果而终的原因,或许是上述结构性转变,更可能是美国国会就减少对他国制裁所持的反对态度,以及特朗普前私人律师迈克尔·科恩那华而不实的证言。

然而世界并不会为特朗普而止步不前。印巴两个拥核国家正处于战争边缘,这在很大程度上是由于美国为遏制中国的影响力而发起了野蛮的政治游戏。美国军队仍然在中亚、中东和非洲肆无忌惮地搅局,而新国会似乎对此无能为力。

在由贾伊尔·博索纳罗领导的巴西极右翼政府的重压之下,南美洲已然陷入混乱。该政府露出的迹象极具威胁性:它不仅对政治问题的解决措施加以主观性的选择,为攫取利益而采用无耻的反智手段,而且还计划毁掉亚马逊丛林——这样会导致人类加速灭亡。

同时,新保守主义双人组艾略特·艾布拉姆斯和约翰·博尔顿正在为推动委内瑞拉政变而焚膏继晷。他们想要把尼古拉斯·马杜罗拉下马,从而牢牢控制该地的石油命脉,令跨国企业从中获利。右翼参议员马尔科·卢比奥也做出了极为荒唐的举动:他在自己的推特账号上贴出了前利比亚最高领导人穆阿迈尔·卡扎菲的照片,暗示马杜罗会因为跟美国对抗而遭到与之相同的下场。

美国为控制他国资源而采取过诸多行动,而石油煤矿大亨科赫兄弟–查尔斯·科赫和大卫·科赫–是幕后推手。他们为染指朝鲜的煤炭、黄金和其他资源加入抢夺大战,但处置这些资源的最佳方法,却是将其留在地下,不去谋取。

换言之,倘若不知道特朗普所讲的经济神话是以全球投资者,而非以朝鲜民众为主角,那么人们也很难理解金特会的真正用意。美国一边与朝鲜接触,一边对伊朗和委内瑞拉采取敌对行动,这两种举措看似迥然不同,实则异曲同工。

但这并不是问题的全部。约翰·博尔顿正在推动美国退出《中导条约》,也将我们推上了军备竞赛之路。比起上世纪五十年代来,此时发生军备竞赛更为危险,因为现在的科技进步程度已经远非那时可比。博尔顿的这一疯狂举动,再加上美国单方面退出伊核协议,使得德国、俄罗斯、中国、美国、土耳其、日本、印度与伊朗等众多国家之间爆发大规模军备竞赛乃至世界大战的可能性大大增加。也许在不久的将来,上述国家就会拥有核武器。

我们可以肯定,金正恩及其顾问团已经对愈演愈烈的混乱局面有所察觉。宴会上的他露出了灿烂的微笑,但这笑容背后是深深的恐惧。金特双方都在故作深沉,自欺欺人–从这个意义来讲,这次峰会也算是见证双方达成了某种共识。

特朗普之所以要在记者招待会上讲那番好话给习近平主席听,是因为他想隐瞒以下事实,欲盖弥彰:五角大楼正在为向中国开战而作具体准备。现在这一紧张局面并不会有所缓和,因为特朗普及其拥趸已将制裁视为贸易政策,将战争威胁当作从他国榨取利益的手段。

再直白一些:应精神病患者的命令,在没有任何非军方力量干预的情况下派出军队,这堪为人类历史上最大的灾难。

而无论是美国的民主党,还是韩国与日本的保守党派,都对特朗普无视国际法、一味迎合拥护他的法西斯分子、推崇军国主义等做法视而不见,更令当今世界危机重重。

但是,美国没能令核不扩散条约涵盖所有国家,背叛伊朗与伊核协议,且其五角大楼决定斥资一万亿美元开发新一代核武,这些事实已经成为禁忌话题。

反智主义的兴起与媒体的堕落

金特会背后的政治因素并不简单;当前地缘政治格局正在发生重大变化。面对私人利益,诸多民族国家的政府频频退让妥协,政坛人士也愈发被迫对超级富豪言听计从。我们借之以了解世界的路线图简直日异月殊。

然而媒体却视取悦跨国企业和投资银行为己任,以对其有利的方式来展示世界,从而沦为交易对象与公关平台,不再引导民众为了求知而探索世界的本来样貌,选择新闻内容时将道德因素排除在外,导致令人不知所云、陷入误会的报道层出不穷。

各个媒体对金特会的报道均着墨于以下细节:金正恩所乘的火车如何开往河内,万豪酒店外怎样设置路障,以及外交方面的繁文缛节。

媒体已死,反智主义浪潮已经席卷美国与其他许多国家,令批判性分析成为一种奢望。不仅特朗普想不通为何我们的时代正处在危机之中,而且越来越多的民众也沉迷于网络游戏、色情作品或者社交媒体,沦为满嘴胡言乱语、无法理解复杂问题的弱智。

在某种意义上,峰会结束时,人们应当考虑的关键问题不该是“下次峰会什么时候开?”而是“我们怎样才能创造一种交流文化,令各方讨论得以联系当前的实际问题?”

最后人们还应当问一问,还有哪些问题游离于河内峰会的议程之外?

那么,何为我们这个时代的重要议题?

显然,大量财富快速向少数人手中集中这一问题,特朗普和金正恩都不想触碰;即将把朝鲜半岛化为沙漠的气候变化危机、由无管制污染导致的空气质量恶化、发电煤耗上升等问题也在讨论范围之外;核战争的危险,以及当地逐渐抬头的军备竞赛又不可提及–即使这是造成朝鲜局势动荡的主要因素,因为美国、俄罗斯、日本、中国和韩国的军工企业还要借其创造巨大利润。军备和战争威胁已经成为利润的重要来源,在这一点上,当今与一战爆发前别无二致。

对于此次峰会,人人都在关注朝鲜如何弃核。可与拥有数以万计的核武器、不断鼓吹战争、连“不首先使用核武器”这一承诺都不愿意做的美国相比,朝鲜只能相形见绌。

然而上述问题不该留至下一次峰会解决。只有在我们针对反映民众心之所忧的事件展开对话、在科学分析的基础上就影响国际关系的各个因素进行讨论之后,这些问题才会得以解决。而与此对应的变革需要的是文化转型,而非政策或政府调整。

“Fractured governance fractures the Hanoi summit” The Korea Times

The Korea Times

“Fractured governance fractures the Hanoi summit”

March 1, 2019

Emanuel Pastreich

The sudden cancellation of the joint statement on February 28 at the end of the Trump-Kim Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, was one of the most complex and contradictory historical events in my memory. Of course, the ad-lib briefing by Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo immediately after was not complex at all. It was a banal show for the media that avoided talking about much of anything other than process.

Trump spoke about his “strong relationship” with Kim Jong-un, Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in, sounding like a late-night comedian who is trying to make up content to plug up a sudden hole in the program.

But the positive phrases that Trump threw out could not distract everyone from the growing catastrophe around the world. His sweet words about his “productive time” with Chairman Kim did not serve as a fig leaf to cover up the increasing risk of war on every side.

Let’s be honest. North Korea is not an overwhelming threat to world peace but rather an island of relative stability in the dust being stirred up as the global order that was established in 1945 at the San Francisco conference comes crashing down. The fact that North Korea is a closed and repressive state puts it in good company.

But the United States, now stripped of all expertise in government, the analysis of issues and policy having been radically privatized, and the culture warped by an extreme concentration of wealth, is slipping into a combination of isolationism and militarism that makes just about anything possible. 

That structural transformation, more the opposition in Congress to the reduction of sanctions back home, or the tawdry testimony of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, was the reason that the Hanoi show did not produce anything. 

But the world is not standing still for Trump. India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers, stand on the edge of war, in no small part due to the crude political games played by the United States in an attempt to limit Chinese influence. The United States military continues to interfere throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa with impunity and the new Congress seems to be powerless to rein it in. 

South America has been thrown into chaos by the imposition of the far-right government in Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro that threatens not only to make force the favored means of resolving political issues but which embraces the reckless anti-intellectual drive for profit and plans to destroy the Amazon forest, thereby hastening human extinction. 

At the same time, the Neo-Con twins Elliot Abrams and John Bolton are working overtime to push for regime change in Venezuela. They want to take down the government of Nicholas Maduro and seize control of the oil for multinational corporations. In a grotesque move, the right-wing senator Marco Rubio posted photographs on his Twitter account of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, suggesting that Maduro would be tortured and murdered in a similar manner for resisting the United States. 

Much of the drive to seize resources is being driven by the oil and coal barons the Koch brothers, Charles and Andy. They are a big force in the scramble to get their paws on the coal, gold and other resources in North Korea that would be best left alone beneath the surface. 

That is to say that the summit with Kim Jong-un cannot be understood if one does not know that the economic miracle that Trump describes is actually an economic miracle for global investors, not for North Koreans. Engagement with North Korea cannot be detached from the more hostile moves taking place in Iran and Venezuela. 

But that is only half the story. The push of John Bolton to withdraw the United States to withdraw from the INF treaty (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty) has set us on the track to a major arms race which will be far more dangerous than what happened in the1950s because the technology is so much more advanced. That insanity, combined with the unilateral termination of the nuclear deal with Iran guarantees a massive arms race between Germany, Russia, China, the United States, Turkey, Japan, India, and Iran that may well end in a world war. All of those countries are likely to have nuclear weapons in the not too distant future. 

We can be sure that Kim Jong-un and his advisors are aware of the growing chaos. Behind Kim’s smiles at the banquet was pure dread. The summit succeeded because both sides were willing to embrace a profound form of self-deception. 

The kind words Trump had for Xi at the press conference does nothing to obscure the fact that the Pentagon is making concrete preparations for a war with China. This situation will not get better now that Trump and those around him have embraced sanctions as a form of trade policy and see the threat of war have as a means of squeezing value out of other countries. 

To put it more bluntly, the unleashing of the United States military under the command of psychopaths and without any civilian control could be the greatest catastrophe in human history. 

The response from Democrats in the United States, and from many conservatives in South Korea and in Japan, has been a pile of criticisms that purposely ignore how Trump ignores international law, panders to his fascist base, and embraces of militarism. 

The failure of the United States to demand that all nations adhere to the non-proliferation treaty, the betrayal of Iran and the decision of the Pentagon to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons for the cost of 1 trillion USD in blatant violation of that treaty are taboo topics. 

The rise of anti-intellectualism and the decay of the media

The politics behind the Trump-Kim summit was not simple; the geopolitical shifts taking place today are profound. As the governments of nation states are compromised and taken over by private interests, politicians increasingly are forced to do the bidding of the super-rich. The roadmap for understanding our world changes from day to day. 

Yet the media sees its role as presenting the world in a manner that pleases multinational corporations and investment banks. Media has become, after all, just a business, a form of public relations. There is no intellectual inquiry into the actual state of the world. Moral issues are irrelevant in decisions about news content. Most reports serve to confuse and mislead.

The only content offered in the reports about the summit were details about how the train taken by Kim Jong-un progressed to Hanoi, how barricades set up outside the hotel and the fine points of diplomatic protocol. 

The media is dead and a deep wave of anti-intellectualism has swept the United States, and many other nations that makes critical analysis impossible. Not only is Trump incapable of conceiving of the dangers of our age, but an increasing number of citizens, addicted to online games, pornography or social media have been reduced to babbling fools incapable of understanding complex issues. 

In a sense, the critical question at the end of the summit is not: “When can another summit be held?” but rather “How can we create a culture of communication in which the discussions between institutions are related to the real issues of our age?”

Finally one should ask, what topics were that were left off the agenda for the summit in Hanoi?

Well, what are the important topics of our age? 

The rapid concentration of wealth in the hands of the few was a topic that clearly neither Trump nor Kim wants to discuss. The crisis of climate change which threatens to turn Korea into a desert, combined with the degradation of the air because of unregulated pollution and the increasing use of coal for power was also off limits. The danger of nuclear war and of the growing arms race in the region could not be mentioned (even though it is the central cause for North Korea’s insecurities) because of the tremendous profits to be made through the arms industries in the United States, Russia, Japan, China, and South Korea. Just as before the First World War, armaments and the threat of war are a major source of profits. 

The entire focus of the summit was on how North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons. A small concern in comparison with the thousands of nuclear weapons held by the United States as it threatens more and more wars and refuses even to declare no first use of nuclear weapons. 

But that problem will not be solved through another summit meeting. That problem will only be addressed if we have dialog wherein the real concerns of citizens are reflected, and discourse on real threats in international relations based on scientific analysis is central. Such a transformation will require a change of culture, not of policy or of administration.