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奥巴马的亚太之行与再平衡战略中的经济要素

马修古德曼 美国国际与战略研究中心政治经济中心主任  2015年01月20日

【摘要】 亚太再平衡战略中的经济支柱能否成功取决于跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(TPP)以及中美经济关系能否稳步进展。TPP的问题上奥巴马应当说服日本在农业产品市场准入方面做出更大的让步,而中美经济关系的问题上奥巴马则应当首先同中国谋求签署双边投资协定。如果经济支柱能够成功,奥巴马的再平衡战略才是完整的。


历来美国总统的外访都有重大意义,而下个月总统奥巴马的亚太之行又更显举足轻重。十一月选举日结束后几天,奥巴马即将马不停蹄启程访问中国、缅甸和澳大利亚。与奥巴马任职总统期间的其他几次外访相比,此次亚太之行将更大程度上决定他会给下届政府留下怎样的外交遗产。这次访问关系到奥巴马的外交内容和外交风格。它一方面将决定奥巴马“亚太再平衡”战略的命运,另一方面也是对奥巴马亚太联盟战略的一次检验。

从11月9日开始,为期8天的亚太地区国事访问将会是奥巴马一次不同寻常的旋风之旅。奥巴马总统访问的首站定在北京,他将出席亚太经济合作组织(APEC)年度领导人非正式会议,并在随后对中国进行国事访问。接着,他将南下参加在缅甸首都内比都举行的东亚峰会。亚太行的最后,奥巴马将访问澳大利亚布里斯班,参加在那里举行的二十国集团(G20)领导人峰会。

2011年“亚太再平衡”战略刚提出的时候曾获得了民主和共和两党的一致好评,但其在实行过程中出现了两大失误,因此遭受越来越多的质疑。总结两大失误,一个是奥巴马没能出席过去两年的亚太经合组织会议和去年的东亚峰会,第二是“亚太再平衡”战略的经贸议程进展缓慢及成果有限。从下个月的亚太访问开始,如果奥巴马能够在任期内出席剩下的几次亚太峰会,第一个失误是可以弥补且被原谅的。而第二个问题的修补取决于两个相互关联的因素:奥巴马政府能否在达成跨太平洋伙伴关系贸易协定(TPP)的同时管控好和中国的经济关系。

亚太再平衡战略成功与否取决于美国在亚太地区的政治、安全、经济政策能否取得全方位的、有意义的进展。跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(TPP)是奥巴马政府亚太经济战略的重要支柱。TPP如果不达成,再平衡战略至少可以说是不完整的;确实,事与愿违的可能性依然存在,因为该区域仍有许多人认为TPP主要是为了服务于美国的亚太军事战略。另一方面,跨太平洋合作关系(TPP)的成功将巩固亚太力量的平衡,这将成为奥巴马外交上的主要成就。

我曾在其他场合提到过,TPP的谈判已经完成了很大一部分,目前正处在与日本谈判的关键阶段。美国和日本在开放市场准入上存在一些分歧,特别是开放日本农产品市场方面。即使谈判非常艰难,但仍存在一丝希望,或许东京和华盛顿能在APEC会议间隙的TPP成员国领导人会面前达成协议。考虑到奥巴马政府在TPP上下的赌注之大,奥巴马应该竭尽所能地说服安倍在那之前就农产品市场准入做出更多让步。奥巴马在中期选举之后应该公开承诺会推进国会批准“贸易促进授权”(TPA)。

TPP的成功将突显奥巴马亚太经济战略上的另一大问题: 与中国的经济关系。两国过去三十五年的经济关系给双方都带来了巨大的收益,也是促成双边关系稳定的一个重要因素。但是近期,美国不断指责中国网络间谍、知识产权盗取及投资环境恶化等问题,致使两国经济受到了挑战。更甚者,自中国十年前加入世贸组织以后,北京和华盛顿的双边经济关系就缺失了很重要的一环:优乐娱乐注册合作。

奥巴马和习近平应该把这些问题放在北京国事访问的议程之首。除了寻求途径管控目前两国的分歧之外,两国领导人应该达成协议,建立长期合作,深化在公开透明、高标准基础上的贸易投资一体化。“公开透明、高标准”既是亚太经合组织一直以来追求的原则,也是跨太平洋合作关系追求的精神。中美达成自由贸易协定,邀请中国加入TPP成员国,或者快速建立亚太自由贸易区---要达成这些还有很长的路要走。即便这样,奥巴马和习近平可以推进双边投资协议的达成,这对两国目前的合作大有助益,也将为未来长期的、更深层次的一体化合作奠定基础。

除了以上这些因素,即将开始的亚太之行也是对奥巴马外交风格的一次检验。他的战术风格被许多人嘲笑为是“幕后领导”(实际上,这个说法也是奥巴马团队幕僚提出的),或被认为是放弃了美国在国际事务中的传统领导地位。但是正如美国国际与战略研究中心主任何慕礼指出的,最困难的国际挑战只有通过全球合作的方式才能解决,比如埃博拉、极端伊斯兰势力。何慕礼表示,把各个国家团结起来,调动集体行动,美国才能做到“从内部领导”。内部领导是奥巴马幕僚在一次访谈中提出的,用来概括奥巴马对利比亚的外交政策,直译就是“从后面领导世界”,即幕后操作,自己退居二线,实质是离岸平衡术。该“术语”受到很大争议,特别是广为共和党所诟病。

奥巴马2009年决定将二十国集团会议当做国际经济合作的主要平台,又在两年后加入东亚峰会,其背后的政策逻辑也是如此。二十国集团会议曾成功地调动国际力量,共同应对金融危机。它的早期贡献一定程度上验证了奥巴马政策的正确性。而正是如此,美国总统缺席2011年在巴厘岛举行的的东亚峰会,则引发了对该区域海洋安全和核不扩散准则的广泛讨论。因为要撇开美国谈这两个问题几乎是不可能的。

但是二十国集团峰会和东亚峰会的早期成就,也掩盖不了最近几次峰会的颓靡之势。如果奥巴马希望自己“从内部领导”的外交风格能够取得成就,他就应该利用接下来的缅甸、澳大利亚之行促成二十国集团峰会和东亚峰会在安全和经济领域取得实质性进展。美国在内比都东亚峰会上的主要任务应该是促成东亚峰会成员国领导采取措施,建立海上信任;同时让他们形成一个团队,合作处理从流行病到极端伊斯兰等影响该区域的跨国挑战。在布里斯班的二十国领导人峰会上,奥巴马应该接受堪培拉方面提出的促进全球经济增长,提高全球经济弹性的具体措施,包括提高基础设施建设投资,进行峰会成员国各自国内的结构性改革,推进全球贸易议程,推进国际税务合作。(这不仅对奥巴马留下怎样的外交遗产非常重要,也影响到历史将如何评价他管理国家经济的成就。)

目前国际舞台上烽火四起,奥巴马总统事务缠身,应对不及。在大多数事件上,他能预期的最好结果就是有效控制住局势。他是否能给下届政府留下更加积极的、有意义的外交遗产,主要还是取决于他的再平衡战略是否成功,取决与他能否调动国家间合作解决包括全球增长缓慢、海洋争端等在内的国际问题。下个月的亚太之行为奥巴马提供了诸多机会,如果他能把握住的话,他的外交遗产将能增色不少。


 

 

Obama's Legacy Tour

Matthew P. Goodman

William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy and Senior Adviser for Asian Economics

 

All overseas trips by U.S. presidents have significance, but next month’s tour of the Asia-Pacific region by President Barack Obama is more important than most. Coming just days after his final national elections, Obama’s visits to China, Myanmar, and Australia could do more than any other trip he has taken as president to shape his foreign policy legacy. This is a matter of both substance—because the trip could seal the fate of Obama’s Asia “rebalancing” strategy—and style—as Obama’s coalition-building approach to foreign policy will be tested on the trip.

 

The eight-day trip beginning November 9 will be the usual whirlwind tour of a vast region. The president’s first stop will be Beijing, where he will attend the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting and hold bilateral meetings in China. He then moves on   to Naypyidaw, Myanmar, for the annual East Asia Summit (EAS), and finally to Brisbane, Australia, for the ninth Group of 20 (G20) economic summit.

 

While the Asia rebalancing (or “pivot”) strategy won bipartisan praise when it was first articulated in 2011, it has attracted growing criticism for two gaping holes in implementation: Obama’s failure to show up at the last two APEC meetings and last year’s EAS, and limited progress to date on the economic leg of the initiative. The first failing will be forgiven if Obama makes an appearance at the remaining summits over his term, starting with next month’s events. Fixing the second problem depends on two interrelated factors: whether the administration can close a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and whether it can manage a challenging economic relationship with China.

 

The success of the rebalancing strategy depends on meaningful progress along all tracks of U.S. policy engagement in the Asia-Pacific region: political, security, and economic. TPP has been the administration’s main vehicle for engagement on the economic track. Thus without a TPP agreement, the rebalancing strategy will at best be incomplete; indeed, it could be counterproductive, as it will be perceived in the region as a primarily military undertaking. On the other hand, success on TPP would solidify the Asia rebalance as Obama’s signature achievement in foreign policy.

 

As I have noted elsewhere, TPP is close to completion but hinges on agreement between the United States and Japan on market access, especially further opening of the Japanese agriculture market. While the window is closing fast, there is still a slim hope that Tokyo and Washington can reach a deal before TPP leaders meet next month on the margins of APEC. Given the stakes for the rebalancing strategy and his  broader legacy, Obama should be doing everything he can between now and then to persuade Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to make further concessions on  agriculture—including publicly promising to push for the necessary trade promotion authority (TPA) from the U.S. Congress after the mid-term elections.

 

Success on TPP would leave one major part of Obama’s economic strategy in Asia still requiring attention. U.S.-China economic relations have been hugely beneficial to both sides over the past 35 years and a source of ballast in the overall bilateral relationship. But those ties have been frayed recently by U.S. concerns about cyber espionage, intellectual property theft, and a deteriorating investment climate in China. Moreover, since China joined the World Trade Organization over a decade ago, the bilateral relationship has been missing a big economic initiative to focus energies in Beijing and Washington.

 

Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, should put these issues near the top of their agenda in Beijing. In addition to seeking ways to manage current frictions, the two leaders should agree on a long-term path toward deeper trade and investment integration based on openness, transparency, and the high standards that have long been pursued by APEC and are now being sought in TPP. Negotiating a U.S.-China free trade agreement, bringing China into TPP, or moving quickly to APEC’s vision of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is a bridge too far for the indefinite future. But Obama and Xi should give a renewed push to completing a bilateral investment treaty (BIT), which would be a useful end in itself and prepare the ground for deeper integration over the longer term.

 

Beyond the substantive elements, the upcoming trip will also put to the test another dimension of Obama’s legacy: his style of foreign policymaking. This has been widely mocked as “leading from behind” (a term actually coined by a member of Obama’s own team), or ceding America’s traditional leadership role in global affairs. But as John Hamre, CSIS president, has argued, many of the world’s most difficult challenges, from Ebola to Islamic extremism, can be tackled only through international cooperation; by pulling countries together and mobilizing them to collective action, Hamre suggests, the United States can “lead from within.”

 

This was the logic behind Obama’s decision to embrace the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation in 2009 and two years later to join the amorphous EAS. The success of the G20 at its early summits in mobilizing a forceful coordinated response to the global financial crisis offered some validation of the approach. Similarly, the mere presence of the U.S.  president at the EAS summit in Bali in 2011 enabled a frank discussion of  maritime security and nonproliferation norms in the region—something that had been impossible when the 10 Southeast Asian nations and 6 Asian partners (notably including China) were the only countries in the room.

 

But in the case of both the G20 and EAS, those early successes have given way to a loss of momentum at more recent summits. If “leading from within” is the way Obama wants his foreign policy to be remembered, he should use his upcoming trips to Myanmar and Australia to press for tangible progress on the security and economic agendas at the EAS and G20 gatherings, respectively. The focus at Naypyidaw should be getting EAS leaders to endorse maritime confidence-building measures and to speak out as a group on transnational challenges that impact the region, from health pandemics to Islamic extremism. At Brisbane, Obama should embrace he concrete actions Canberra has laid out to promote growth and resilience of the global economy, including infrastructure investment and structural reforms in individual G20 countries, advancing the global trade agenda, and international tax cooperation. (This is important not only to Obama’s foreign policy legacy but also to history’s assessment of him as an economic manager, a topic to be examined in future newsletters.)

 

President Obama is understandably preoccupied right now with a number of fires burning on the international scene. But on most of these issues, containment of the problem is probably the best outcome he can hope for. A more positive legacy for his foreign policy depends more than anything else on the success of his Asia rebalancing strategy and his efforts to elicit international cooperation to solve challenging global problems, from slow global growth to maritime disputes. Next month’s Asia-Pacific tour offers a number of opportunities to burnish that legacy—if the president is ready to seize them.


 
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