2009-08-09

彭定康:被利用和濫用的歷史

在歷史學家瑪格列特.麥克米蘭(Margaret Macmillan)才華橫溢的著作《被濫用和利用的歷史》(The Uses and Abuses of History)一書中,講述了一個關於兩個美國人討論九一一事件暴行的故事:當其中一人用1941年珍珠港事件比喻九一一的時候,他的同伴卻對珍珠港事件一無所知,於是前者就解釋說:「你知道麼,這就跟越南人轟炸美國艦隊並挑起越戰一樣。」

雖然對歷史的記憶並不總是像上面這個小故事那樣顛倒黑白,不過國際政治和外交場上卻充斥着許多錯誤和被誤解的歷史案例,人們用這些例子來評價自己的外交政策決策,而這種行為也總能為此後的巨大災難埋下伏筆。

1930年代的綏靖政策──即放棄外交干預以及反對武力解決的做法──當年都被用來說服人們:如果他們不保衛南越以及不入侵伊拉克的話,就會吞下什麼樣的苦果。但如今我們也早已明白,自己被矇騙了。

但這類比喻也並不總是錯的,而且以前一些被認為是謬誤的如今也被證明有理。其中一個支援發動越戰的論點就是所謂的多米諾骨牌效應(Domino Theory),認為如果南越落到了共產黨分子手裏,那麼隨後其他東南亞國家也會紛紛被共產主義運動所顛覆。

但事情卻朝着相反的方向發展。越南成為了一連串骨牌的末尾而不是開端。喪盡天良的波爾布特政權在越南干涉之前竟然殺害了數百萬柬埔寨人。而在東南亞其他實行資本主義的地區,市場開放政策卻促進了增長並穩定了局勢。全球化效應創造了自己獨有的一套多米諾骨牌。隨着骨牌不斷倒下,GDP上升,數百萬人脫離了貧困,受教育程度飛升,嬰兒死亡率也隨之下降。

相信可能如果沒有上述例子的話,多米諾效應會跟外交和國家安全政策更具相關性。

而在當今的美國和歐洲,許多人都在呼籲北約部隊從阿富汗撤軍,因為有人告訴我們說,北約和西方不可能在那裏建立一個國家,而且為那裏帶來民主和繁榮的目標也是鏡花水月。

還有人說,北約士兵只不過是在白白送命。因為不久之後塔利班就會重奪政權,並跟從前一樣恣意妄為,繼續犯下往婦女臉上潑硫酸這類的罪行。人們根本沒法阻止這一切發生,因此最好是一刀兩斷趕緊回家,而不是留在這等死,反正塔利班分子也不會到西方來搞什麼破壞,他們跟蓋達組織可不是一路人。


我們在阿富汗犯許多錯誤
事實上,我們確實在阿富汗犯了許多錯誤。比如在推翻了塔利班政權之後,西方並沒有提供足夠的軍隊來幫助喀布爾新政權統領全國。而小布殊政府乾脆就把注意力轉到伊拉克戰爭的籌備上去了。

在這種情况下,阿富汗的發展異常緩慢,政府軍和警察部隊的建設也斷斷續續。很多地方還種植了鴉片。政府軍針對武裝分子的行動時軟時硬,而西方孤立普什圖人的做法也引來了很多麻煩。

因此毫無疑問,西方在這方面可以做得更好。但上述那些謀求金蟬脫殼逃之夭夭的說法則非常有害,甚至會影響到阿富汗人和巴基斯坦人的未來。如果西方把阿富汗丟回到塔利班手裏,然後寄希望於這些人能逐漸成長為負責任的世界公民,那麼此舉會對巴基斯坦人有什麼影響?在此多米諾骨牌效應將再次發揮它的威力,它曾經在越南被證明是謬誤的,但在南亞次大陸,情况可能會截然不同。

對於北約來說,阿富汗堪稱是最大的考驗。北約曾經發誓要徹底完成這個任務。因此如果現在西方三十六計走為上着,而讓貧窮、苦難和鴉片來統治這個國家,接着又會有什麼後果呢?

為什麼不讓巴基斯坦人相信,西方確實有志於保全一個穆斯林民主國家?這麼一個決定是否能有助於改變對抗塔利班的全面形勢?這是否又能激勵那些厭惡恐怖主義的中產階級和城市工人階層,讓他們深刻反省並與極端主義思想一刀兩斷?這是否也會增強政界和軍界的溫和派力量?「相信我們吧!」西方會這樣對巴基斯坦人說,但轉頭又說:「別看隔壁的阿富汗就是了,看到那你就知道我們是多麼不可靠了。」

試想一下,如果整個巴基斯坦,包括其核武器在內,落入了極端分子手中,那麼對輸出恐怖主義行為的推動作用將是災難性的。試想如果巴基斯坦被極端分子控制,印度政府又對自己國家的未來又將作何感想呢?

因此西方必須堅持下來,徹底完成他們在阿富汗的使命──既要做得更好,也繼續堅持不懈。因為有時多米諾骨牌真的會一個接一個倒下,而這對南亞地區的人民來說,肯定不是一個值得慶幸的結果。

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In her brilliant book, “The Uses and Abuses of History” the historian Margaret Macmillan tells a story about two Americans discussing the atrocities of September 11, 2001. One draws an analogy with Pearl Harbor, Japan’s attack on the US in 1941. His friend has no idea as to what this means. “You know,” the first man replies, “It was when the Vietnamese bombed the American fleet and started the Vietnam War.”

Historical memory is not always quite as bad as this. But international politics and diplomacy are riddled with examples of bad and ill-considered precedents being used to justify foreign policy decisions, invariably leading to catastrophe.

Munich – the 1938 meeting between Adolf Hitler, Édouard Daladier, Neville Chamberlain, and Benito Mussolini – is a frequent witness summoned to court by politicians trying to argue the case for foreign adventures. Britain’s disastrous 1956 invasion of Egypt was talked about as though Gamal Nasser was a throw-back to the fascist dictators of the 1930’s. If he were to be appeased as they had been, the results would be catastrophic in the Middle East.

Munich was also produced as a justification for the Vietnam War and President Bush’s war of choice in Iraq. 1930’s appeasement – a word that elides diplomatic engagement and the rejection of military options – was said to remind us of what would happen if South Vietnam was not defended and Iraq not invaded. We know what happened in both countries.

But analogies are not always wrong, and those that were wrong in the past could prove correct today. One of the arguments for the Vietnam War was the so-called domino theory. If South Vietnam was to fall to the Communists, other countries in South-East Asia would tumble before Communist insurgency.

Things turned out very different. Vietnam proved to be the end not the beginning of the line. Pol Pot’s wicked regime murdered millions in Cambodia until Vietnam intervened.

Elsewhere in the region capitalism, promoted by the opening of markets, triggered growth and promoted stability. Globalisation produced its own domino effect. The dominoes toppled; GDP rose; millions were lifted out of poverty; literacy rates soared; child mortality figures fell.

Maybe, if not there and if not then, dominoes are more relevant to foreign and security policy today.

In America and Europe at the moment, many people are calling for the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. We are told that NATO and the West cannot build a nation there and that the goals that have been set for establishing democracy and prosperity are unattainable.

NATO soldiers die in vain. Sooner or later the Taliban will sweep to power again, at liberty as happened before to throw acid in women’s faces. It is vanity to think that anything can be done to prevent this. Better to cut and run than stay and die, and who is to say that the result will embolden Taliban terrorists? They do not necessarily share the same aims as Al Qaeda.

There have certainly been mistakes in Afghanistan. After the overthrow of the Taliban regime, the West did not commit enough troops to extend the national government in Kabul’s authority over the whole country. The Bush administration had turned its attention to the preparations for the Iraq war.

Development has been slow. The build-up of the Afghan army and police has lagged. The poppy crop has grown. Sometimes the military response to insurgency has been too tough; sometimes too light. The West has courted trouble in appearing to isolate the Pashtun.

So the West can do better. There is no doubt about that. But the case for quitting is bad and touches on Pakistan’s future as well as Afghanistan’s. Leave Afghanistan to the Taliban, hoping against hope that they will become better-behaved global citizens, and what is the effect likely to be on Pakistan? Here come the dominoes – wrong in Vietnam but not necessarily in the South Asian sub-continent.

Afghanistan is NATO’s great test. The Alliance has promised to see the job through. So if it abandons the job now, leaving the country to poverty, prejudice, and poppies, what then will happen?

Why should anyone in Pakistan believe that the West is serious in wanting to sustain that country as a Muslim democratic state? Would such a decision help turn the tide against the Taliban? Would it encourage the middle-class professional and urban workers in Pakistan, disgusted by the excesses of the extremists, to dig in and see off fundamentalism? Would it strengthen the more moderate elements in politics and the military? You can count on us, the West would be saying, but don’t look next door to Afghanistan, where you will see that you can’t rely on us.

If Pakistan, nuclear weapons and all, was to fall to the extremists, the consequences in terms of encouraging the export of terrorism would be dire. Think about Kashmir. Think about India. How would India’s government view the future if Pakistan falls into the hands of fundamentalists?

So the West should see the job through in Afghanistan – do it better but do it. Sometimes the dominoes do topple over, one by one. That is not a prospect that anyone should welcome in South Asia.