对话历史学家约翰•达尔文:“东升西降”是19世纪的历史镜像

发布: | 发布时间:2021-07-15,星期四 | 阅读:34

张缘 为FT中文网撰稿

马克•吐温曾说,历史不会简单地重复,但它总是押韵。虽然历史研究者所面对的材料是散落在四处的已经写就的故事,但对历史的认识却总能在此后的时代中,以一种“与时俱进”的方式焕发光彩。

美国前总统肯尼迪,在面对古巴导弹危机时,通过反复阅读芭芭拉•塔奇曼的作品,做出了他认为的“更好的选择”。

而苏联最后的总书记戈尔巴乔夫曾经因为读到了小说《飘》中对战争带来的巨大破坏的描写,而在苏联濒临解体之前,放弃了军事行动的选项——至少这是他本人所承认的部分原因。

而进入21世纪以来,特别是中国崛起,在冷战结束后,重新渐渐形成美中两个超级大国,既有合作又有对抗的“新型”关系,似乎总给人一种似曾相识的感觉。而现实的复杂性不仅仅在于两个超级大国的关系,还有一个更大的全球化的背景不容忽视。

如今,对这种复杂性的理解有了越来越紧迫的需求,这催促我们再一次地要从历史中寻求某种解释,或者安慰。不久之前,英国著名历史学家,英国国家学术院院,牛津大学历史系荣休教授,牛津大学全球史研究中心首任主任约翰•达尔文的代表作品《帖木儿之后:1405年以来的全球帝国史》(After Tamerlane:The Global History of Empire Since 1405)的中文简体版通过中信出版集团出版发行。这让我有机会与达尔文教授,围绕“帝国”这一话题,就一些我感兴趣的问题,通过邮件进行了简单的交流。

以下是我们对话的内容,按照达尔文教授的要求,我保留了他回复的英文原文,供读者查备。

问:首先,你的作品中经常出现的一个关键词是“帝国”,那么我首先想问的是,您觉得古老帝国和今天的超级大国之间的定义有何差别吗?

答:帝国可以被广义地定义为一个政治体系,在这个体系中,一个统治者管理着几个不同的民族,或者一个民族对一个或多个民族行使统治权。这种制度越是系统化,以分配经济和文化角色的方式来反映中心的主导地位,这种制度就越是“帝国化”。帝国在世界历史上出现的趋势一直非常强烈,事实上,帝国是地球上最常见的一种政治制度。这反映了经济实力的巨大差异和国家建设能力在时间和空间上的非常不平等的分布。我们不应该期望今天的帝国看起来像罗马人、拜占庭人或阿拔斯人的帝国。相反,我们应该看一看帝国的统治力如何适应不断变化的地缘政治、意识形态和经济环境。

(英文原文:An empire can be broadly defined as a political system in which a ruler governs several different ethnic groups, or in which one ethnic group exercises domination over one or more others. The more that this is systematized in ways that allocate economic and cultural roles to reflect the dominant position of the centre, the more ‘imperial’ the system. The tendency for empires to appear in world history has been extremely strong and indeed empires have been one of the commonest kind of political system on the planet. This reflects the huge disparities in economic power and the very unequal distribution of state-building capacity across time and space. We should not expect empires today to look like those of the Romans the Byzantines or the Abbasids. Instead we should look to see how the exertion of imperial dominance adapts to the changing geopolitical, ideological and economic environment. )

问:其次,人类社会走到今天,特别是美苏冷战之后,帝国或者说超级大国还有其存在和发展的空间吗?还是说,其实正相反,未来更是帝国的霸权时代?

答:正如我在之前的评论中所建议的,答案一定是肯定的。“帝国”和“殖民主义”已经成为滥用的术语——当然是在西方世界——而自1945年以来,主张民族自决权已经成为世界范围内的意识形态规范。但如果认为这种意识形态规范反映了物质现实,那就太天真了。帝国依然存在,但它们的建设者会小心翼翼地以意识形态上可以接受的方式来掩饰它们。不太确定的是,世界条件是否有利于1850-1914年期间的欧洲霸权模式,或者像1945-90年期间那样将世界划分为两个大集团。

(英文原文:As I have suggested in my previous comment the answer must be yes. ‘Empire’ and ‘colonialism’ have become terms of abuse – certainly in the Western world – and since 1945 the assertion of national self-determination has become a world-wide ideological norm. But it would be naive to suppose that that ideological norm reflects material reality. Empires persist, but their builders are careful to disguise them in ways that are ideologically acceptable. What is less certain is whether world conditions favour either the pattern of European hegemony of the period 1850-1914, or the division of the world between two great blocs as in the era 1945-90. )

问:第三,我注意到,如今在政治霸权之外,技术霸权正在兴起。你如何看待这两种霸权之间的关系?

答:我们从世界历史的前几个时代知道,技术优势一直是强加政治霸权的一个关键方面。我刚刚出版了一本书提到,在1830-1930年期间,蒸汽动力给西方带来了巨大的技术和军事优势,并允许比以往任何时代都要显著的经济和地缘政治力量的集中。今天,在军事上使用数字技术,发动网络战争,实施监控,或者仅仅是加强经济和商业力量的能力甚至更加引人注目——尽管这产生了一系列不同的地缘政治后果。

(英文原文:We know from previous eras in world history that technological advantage has been a key dimension in the imposition of political hegemony. In the period 1830-1930, on which I have just published a book, steam power gave the West an enormous technological and indeed military advantage, and allowed a remarkable concentration of economic and geopolitical power greater than in any previous era. Today the ability to use digital technology militarily, to wage cyber warfare, to impose surveillance, or simply to enhance economic and commercial power is even more striking – even if it produces a different set of geopolitical consequences. )

问:第四,现在中国国内有一种看法,是西方国家衰落,东方国家崛起,你同意这种判断吗?

答:也许这就是19世纪西方人认为自己正在崛起而东方正在衰落的镜像。显然,地缘政治和经济力量的巨大再平衡已经发生,并可能进一步发展。但是,也许对世界历史的长远看法会提醒我们,这总是有限度的,由于有这么多变量在起作用,世界是一个充满变化和不可预测的地方。在1914年,西方几乎没有人能够或愿意预见到,50年后伟大的欧洲帝国会崩溃,欧洲本身不再是“世界的中心”,或者当时晦涩的马克思主义学说会在全球大部分地区成为主导。

(英文原文:Perhaps it is the mirror image of the 19th century belief in the West that it was rising and the East was falling. It is clear that a great rebalancing of geopolitical and economic power has taken place and may go further. But perhaps a long view of world history will remind us that there are always limits to this and that with so many variables at work, the world is a place of flux and unpredictability. In 1914,hardly anyone on the West could or would have foreseen that fifty years later the great European empires would have collapsed, that Europe itself would no longer be the ‘centre of the world’ or that the then obscure doctrine of Marxism would have become dominant across a huge part of the globe.)

问:最后,最近几年,全球化似乎出现了倒退的迹象。如果我们认可这种现象正在发生,我认为这背后不仅有经济的因素,还有政治的考虑。您对于全球化的短期和中长期的看法是什么?

答:过去十年发生的很多事情,不仅仅是在西方,都提醒我们,全球化——狭义上的开放国界,无限制的经济竞争——带来了巨大的社会压力,破坏了曾经享有安全的社会和经济前景的整个社区。在民主国家,这很可能会导致民粹主义的反应。当全球化还意味着传统文化和身份与更 “普遍 “的文化产品,特别是那些在新媒体上传播的文化产品进行斗争时,这也会在老年人群中造成焦虑。因此,全球化不可避免地有一个巨大的政治维度,而这个维度在2008年之前的十年里被天真地忽略了。全球性企业,尤其是“高科技”企业对有效税收和问责制的超乎寻常的豁免权,更加助长了这种政治不满情绪。如果全球化的经济利益要继续下去,就必须找到缓解社会和文化后果的方法,并以更加能够减少严重不平等的方式重新分配全球化产生的财富。

(英文原文:There is much that has happened in the last decade, and not just in the West, that reminds us that globalization – in the narrow sense of throwing open national borders to unrestricted economic competition – imposes enormous social stresses and the destruction of whole communities that once enjoyed a secure social and economic future. In democratic states this is likely to lead to a populist reaction. When globalization also means that traditional cultures and identities struggle against more ‘universal’ cultural products, especially those carried on the new media, this also creates anxiety amongst older demographics. So inevitably there is a huge political dimension to globalization that was naively overlooked in the decade before 2008. The extraordinary immunity of global enterprise, ‘high tech’ especially, from effective taxation and accountability has fuelled this political discontent even more. If the economic benefits of globalization are to continue, it will be important to find ways of alleviating the social and cultural consequences, and redistributing the wealth globalization has generated in a far less grossly unequal fashion.)

(作者简介:张缘,资深出版人,译者,现为国内某在线学术书店主编。本文仅代表作者个人观点)


来源:FT中文网



 

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