经济学人官方译文 | 美国正积极部署全新的经济武器库以宣示其实力

更多精彩,请关注微信公众号:田间小站

American power
美国力量
Weapons of mass disruption
大规模破坏性武器
America is aggressively deploying a new economic arsenal to assert its power. That is counterproductive—and dangerous
美国正积极部署全新的经济武器库以宣示其实力。但这会适得其反,且有危险后果

WHEN DONALD TRUMP arrived in the Oval Office he promised to restore America’s might. His method has turned out to be a wholesale weaponisation of economic tools. The world can now see the awesome force that a superpower can project when it is unconstrained by rules or allies. On May 30th the president threatened crippling tariffs on Mexico after a row over migration. Markets reeled, and a Mexican delegation rushed to Washington to sue for peace. A day later preferential trading rules for India were cancelled. Its usually macho government did not put up a fight and promised to preserve “strong ties”. China faces a ratcheting up of tariffs soon, and its tech giant, Huawei, has been severed from its American suppliers. The country’s autocratic leaders are enraged, but on June 2nd they insisted they still seek “dialogue and consultation”. A tighter embargo on Iran, imposed over European objections, is strangling its economy.
特朗普在入主白宫时承诺要重振美国的威势。如今看来,他的办法是大规模地将经济工具用作武器。现在,全世界都可以见识到一个超级大国在不受规则或盟友的约束时能投射出多么巨大的威力。5月30日,特朗普在有关移民问题的争端未解决后,威胁对墨西哥征收破坏性关税。市场应声震荡,而墨西哥连忙派出代表团赶赴华盛顿求和。一天后,美国宣布终止对印度的优惠贸易待遇。一向态度强硬的印度政府并没有反抗,还承诺与美国继续保持“牢固的关系”。中国面临又一轮关税升级来袭,其科技巨头华为已经被美国供应商“断供”。中国的专制领导层怒火中烧,但在6月2日他们坚称仍在寻求“对话与磋商”。美国还不顾欧洲反对,对伊朗收紧禁运措施,这正在扼杀该国的经济。

President Trump must view this scene with satisfaction. Nobody takes America for granted any more. Enemies and friends know that it is prepared to unleash an economic arsenal to protect its national interest. America is deploying new tactics—poker-style brinkmanship—and new weapons that exploit its role as the nerve centre of the global economy to block the free flow of goods, data, ideas and money across borders. This pumped-up vision of a 21st-century superpower may be seductive for some. But it could spark a crisis, and it is eroding America’s most valuable asset—its legitimacy.
这种场面想必令特朗普志得意满。谁也不会再轻视美国了。不论是敌是友,大家现在都知道美国随时会动用经济武器来保护其国家利益。美国正在部署新战术(赌博式的边缘政策)和新武器(利用其作为全球经济中枢的地位来阻止商品、数据、思想和资金的跨境自由流动)。这种打了鸡血般的有关21世纪超级大国的设想对一些人可能充满诱惑力。但它可能引发一场危机,并且正在侵蚀美国最宝贵的资产——它的正当性。

You might think that America’s clout comes from its 11 aircraft-carriers, 6,500 nuclear warheads or its anchor role in the IMF. But it is also the central node in the network that underpins globalisation. This mesh of firms, ideas and standards reflects and magnifies American prowess. Though it includes goods traded through supply chains, it is mainly intangible. America controls or hosts over 50% of the world’s cross-border bandwidth, venture capital, phone-operating systems, top universities and fund-management assets. Some 88% of currency trades use greenbacks. Across the planet it is normal to use a Visa card, invoice exports in dollars, sleep beside a device with a Qualcomm chip, watch Netflix and work for a firm that BlackRock invests in.
你也许认为美国的影响力来自它的11艘航空母舰、6500枚核弹头,或者它在国际货币基金组织中的主导地位。但同时,在一个支撑起全球化的网络中,它是那个中央节点。这个由企业、思想及标准交织而成的网络体现并放大了美国的实力。尽管其中包含通过供应链交易的商品,但它的大部分是无形的。全球超过50%的跨境带宽、风险投资、电话操作系统、顶尖大学和基金管理资产由美国控制或位于美国境内。大约88%的货币交易使用美元。在全球各地,人们经常性地刷着Visa卡,用美元结算出口,在床头摆放着装有美国高通芯片的电子设备,观看Netflix的节目,在美国贝莱德集团投资的公司里工作。

Foreigners accept all this because, on balance, it makes them better off. They may not set the rules of the game, but they get access to American markets and fair treatment alongside American firms. Globalisation and technology have made the network more powerful although America’s share of world GDP has fallen, from 38% in 1969 to 24% now. China cannot yet compete, even though its economy is approaching America’s in size.
外国人接受了这一切,因为总的来说他们能从中获益。他们或许没能制定游戏规则,但得以进入美国市场,并享受和美国公司一样的公平待遇。全球化和技术进步令这一网络愈加强大——虽然美国在全球GDP中所占比例已从1969年的38%下降到如今的24%。即使中国的经济规模正在逼近美国,也仍不是它的对手。

Despite this, Mr Trump and his advisers are convinced that the world order is rigged against America, pointing to its rust-belt and its trade deficit. And rather than mimic the relatively restrained tactics of the last trade conflict, with Japan in the 1980s, they have redefined how economic nationalism works.
尽管如此,特朗普及其幕僚仍以本国的“铁锈地带”和贸易逆差为例证,深信世界秩序受到了操纵而对美国不公。他们没有像上一次在上世纪80年代与日本发生贸易冲突时那样采取相对克制的策略,而是重新诠释了经济民族主义。

First, instead of using tariffs as a tool to extract specific economic concessions, they are being continuously deployed to create a climate of instability with America’s trading partners. The objective of the new Mexican tariffs—fewer migrants crossing the Rio Grande—has nothing to do with trade. And they breach the spirit of USMCA, a free-trade deal signed by the White House only six months ago, which will replace NAFTA (Congress has yet to ratify it). Alongside these big fights is a constant barrage of petty activity. Officials have skirmished over foreign washing machines and Canadian softwood lumber imports.
首先,关税并非被用作榨取某些经济上的让步的工具,而是被不断动用以在美国和其贸易伙伴之间制造一种不稳定的气氛。对墨西哥新征关税的目标是减少跨越格兰德河(Rio Grande)入境美国的非法移民,与贸易无关。它们也违背了《美加墨贸易协议》(USMCA)的精神。六个月前白宫才签署了这项自由贸易协议,用以取代《北美自由贸易协定》(国会尚未批准)。除了这些大阵仗,还有连串的小动作。美国官员们已经在外国洗衣机和加拿大软木材的进口上发起了小规模打击。

Second, the scope of activity has been extended beyond physical goods by weaponising America’s network. Outright enemies such as Iran and Venezuela face tighter sanctions—last year 1,500 people, firms and vessels were added to the list, a record figure. The rest of the world faces a new regime for tech and finance. An executive order prohibits transactions in semiconductors and software made by foreign adversaries, and a law passed last year known as FIRRMA polices foreign investment into Silicon Valley. If a firm is blacklisted, banks usually refuse to deal with it, cutting it off from the dollar payments system. That is crippling—as two firms, ZTE and Rusal, discovered, briefly, last year.
其次,通过把美国主导的网络用作武器,战事已被扩展到了实体货物以外。像伊朗和委内瑞拉这类彻头彻尾的敌国面临更严厉的制裁——去年有1500个个人、公司和船只被列入黑名单,创历史新高。世界其他地区则面临新的科技和金融管理机制。美国政府的一道行政命令禁止交易外国对手制造的半导体和软件,去年通过的《外国投资风险审查现代化法案》(FIRRMA)则管控外国对硅谷投资。一家公司若被列入黑名单,通常会被银行拒之门外,也就无法再使用美元支付系统。其后果是毁灭性的——去年中兴通讯和俄罗斯铝业公司已经有所领教。

Such tools used to be reserved for times of war: the legal techniques used for surveillance of the payments system were developed to hunt al-Qaeda. Now a “national emergency” has been declared in tech. Officials have discretion to define what is a threat. Though they often clobber specific firms, such as Huawei, others are running scared. If you run a global company, are you sure your Chinese clients are not about to be blacklisted?
这样的工具以往只会在战争期间使用:用于监控支付系统的法律手段当初是为追击基地组织而设计的。而现在,美国宣布科技业已进入“国家紧急状态”。官员有权判定什么是威胁。尽管他们常常是猛打特定公司,例如华为,但其他公司也战战兢兢。如果你经营着一家全球性企业,你能确定自己的中国客户不会是下一个被列入黑名单的公司吗?

The damage to America’s economy so far has been deceptively small. Tariffs cause agony in export hubs such as northern Mexico, but even if Mr Trump imposes all his threatened tariffs, the tax on imports would be worth only about 1% of America’s GDP. His poll ratings at home have held up, even as they have slumped abroad. His officials believe the experiment in weaponising America’s economic network has only just begun.
迄今为止,这些举措对美国经济的破坏看似很小,其实不然。美国加征的关税令墨西哥北部等地的出口枢纽痛苦不已,但即使特朗普威胁加征的关税全部实施,这些税收也仅占美国GDP的1%左右。特朗普在海外民调中声望暴跌,在国内的支持率却依然坚挺。其官员认为,美国将其经济网络武器化的实验才刚刚开始。

In fact, the bill is mounting. America could have built a global coalition to press China to reform its economy, but it has now squandered precious goodwill. Allies looking for new trade deals with America, including post-Brexit Britain, will worry that a presidential tweet could scupper it after it has been signed. Retaliation in kind has begun. China has begun its own blacklist of foreign firms. And the risk of a clumsy mistake that triggers a financial panic is high. Imagine if America banned the $1trn of Chinese shares trading in New York, or cut off foreign banks.
而事实上,代价正在上升。美国原本可以建立起一个全球联盟来敦促中国改革经济,但它现在却浪费了这宝贵的善意。而那些寻求与美国达成新贸易协议的盟友(包括脱欧后的英国)会担心美国总统只消发一条推文就可以把签好的协议推翻。以牙还牙的反击战已经打响。中国已开始编写自己的外国公司黑名单。由某个鲁莽错误引发一场金融恐慌的风险很高。试想若美国禁止价值一万亿美元的中国公司股票继续在纽约交易,或完全断绝与外国银行的交易,那会怎样。

In the long run the American-led network is under threat. There are hints of mutiny—of America’s 35 European and Asian military allies, only three have so far agreed to ban Huawei. Efforts to build a rival global infrastructure will accelerate. China is creating its own courts to adjudicate commercial disputes with foreigners. Europe is experimenting with building a new payments system to get round the Iran sanctions, which could in time be used elsewhere. China, and eventually India, will be keen to end their dependence on semiconductors from Silicon Valley. Mr Trump is right that America’s network gives it vast power. It will take decades, and cost a fortune, to replace it. But if you abuse it, ultimately you will lose it.
长远来看,美国主导的这一网络正面临威胁。内讧叛变的迹象已经显现——美国的35个欧亚军事盟友中目前只有三个同意封锁华为。各方将加快建立与美国抗衡的全球化基础设施。中国正在建立自己的法院体系来裁决涉外商业纠纷。欧洲正尝试建立新的支付系统以规避美国对伊制裁,假以时日这一系统可被用于其他地方。中国——最后乃至印度——将竭力摆脱对硅谷半导体的依赖。特朗普认为美国主导的网络赋予其巨大的力量,这没错。要取而代之需要数十年的努力和高昂的花费。但是,如果滥用这一网络,最终必将失去它。

打赏

微信赞赏支付宝赞赏