People’s Daily editorial: Human-Rights Advocacy will Marginalize America

America needed to stop playing the role of a democracy preacher, a People’s Daily (人民日报) editorialist named Zhong Sheng (钟声 – this name or pen name also translates tolling of the bells) wrote on Thursday. It would be much more worthwile to think about how America could join the Asian development process in better ways, how it could play a a constructive role in Asian stability and development. However, if Washington wanted to come up with better solutions, it needed to control itself, and put restraint on its impulse to be a “preacher of democracy”.

美国如何更好地加入亚洲发展进程,为亚洲的稳定与发展发挥建设性作用,这是一道值得思考的难题。要想解答得好,华盛顿先要调整好自己的心态,克制住总想当“民主说教者”的冲动。

You can ring my Belle

“Hello Asia – you can ring my Belle.” (Click this picture for five questions to a hegemon).

Zhong’s signed editorial refers to statements by U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her Asian tour that “Asian countries needed to expand the scope of human rights”, and “commended” certain countries to obliquely hint at China (还借“表扬”某些国家来影射中国), thus acting as a “human rights preacher” once again.

美国国务卿希拉里·克林顿在亚洲访问期间,称“亚洲国家有必要扩大人权范围”,还借“表扬”某些国家来影射中国,再次扮演了一个“人权说教者”的角色。

The Financial Times had referred to Clinton’s speech as part of an increasingly intense geo-political debate about Asia’s future, writes Zhong Sheng. However, this wasn’t only a debate, nor had America set out on which side of the debate it wanted to stand. Essentially, holding the great banners of democracy and human rights high was a major matter in America’s strategy of “returning to Asia”.

英国《金融时报》在评论其讲话时写道:希拉里的讲话是一场有关亚洲未来的、愈演愈烈的地缘政治辩论的一部分。然而,这不只是一场辩论,美国人也没有摆出要与哪一方辩论的架势。实质上,高举民主、人权大旗是美国“重返亚洲”战略的重点所在。

Who gave Americans the right to arrogantly assessing the democracy status of Asian countries, asks Zhong Sheng. Americans themselves possibly shunned to answer the question, or believed that there was no need for an answer. Exactly the problem’s deceptiveness could create could lead to a failure of the “return-to-Asia” strategy to reach its standards.

是谁给了美国人如此傲慢评点亚洲民主的地位?美国人可能不愿去细想这个问题,甚至会认为这是一个根本不需要问的问题。可恰恰就是这个问题造成的假象,可能会导致美国“重返亚洲”的战略无法“达标”。

Some of America’s recent measures, from military exercises and increased military deployment, demonstrated how America did its utmost to demonstrate the adequacy of its role in Asia. To hold the banners of “democracy” and “human rights” only served to safeguard its so-called guiding moral status.

美国最近的一些做法,显然是在竭力证明其在亚洲主导地位的合理性。搞军演、增驻军,以塑造其安全提供者的角色;高举“民主”、“人权”旗帜,则是要维护其所谓道义上的主导地位。

However, the more America failed to restrain itself from such policies, the more people would ask themselves what America actually feared to lose. There were two points which Washington didn’t understand: the cause for America’s estrangement with Asia and its need to “return” had been caused by the reduction in its involvement on the one hand, and on the other hand, because of major changes in the Asia region’s political and economic structures, American status was changing as a result.

但是,美国越是迫不及待地这么做,就越是会让人产生美国是在担心会在亚洲失去什么的感觉。有两点华盛顿没有弄明白:美国之所以会感到与亚洲疏远并需要“重 返”,一方面是因为对这一地区的投入相对减少,而另一方面,则是因为这一地区的政治、经济结构已经发生了重大变化,美国的地位将因此而不同。

The editorial cites factors such as a comparatively successful Asian handling of the international financial crisis – it attributes the crisis exclusively to Western countries -, to flourishing regional cooperation, and to mutually beneficial cooperation between Asian countries which had at the same time been exploring successful development paths, in accordance with their national conditions.

亚洲国家,尤其是东亚国家,成功地抵御了西方国家引发的金融危机的冲击,实现了经济较快增长。目前区域合作蓬勃发展,发展前景十分广阔。这个成就的取得,一方面得益于亚洲国家之间不断扩大的互利合作,另一方面则得益于区域国家积极探索适合本国国情发展道路的实践。

The development of Asian countries shows that Asians are able of solving problems on their own, on their path of development, and to find a road different from the West’s in building political systems, in accordance with their national conditions.

亚洲的发展表明,亚洲人有能力解决自身发展过程中的问题,并且找到一条与西方不同、适合各自国情的政治制度构建的道路。

America was in no position to grade Asian countries, or countries worldwide, in terms of democracy and human rights. No size fitted all models. Practice had shown that it was exactly some countries that had drawn a tiger with a cat as a model (照猫画虎) and copied American-style democracy which had led to serious “acclimatization problems” leading to development lags, with some even unrevived to date.

美国不是亚洲和世界民主和人权的评判者。世界上更没有放之四海而皆准的民主模式。实践证明,恰恰是某些亚洲国家“照猫画虎”地照搬了美式民主体制,才带来了政治体制的严重“水土不服”,造成了发展滞后,有的甚至到今天也没有缓过劲来。

America’s actual diplomatic considerations and abusive use of democracy issues had already incurred criticism from all sides. America’s Time magazine had pointed out in an article that America’s Middle-East policy was showing double standards, and that a country’s democratic status didn’t define if America worked with it – American interest did.

美国出于外交上的现实考虑而滥用民主的做法早已招致各方批评。美国《时代》周刊的一篇文章就曾指出,美国对中东国家的民主状况有着明显的双重标准,最终决定美国与一国关系的因素并不是该国的民主状况,而是美国的自身利益。

As a Pacific nation, America and Asian countries had inextricable links. America hoped to have a share in the fruits of Asian development, which was a matter of course. Nobody wanted to squeeze America out of Asia. However, Asian countries commonly expected that America would become more actively engaged in Asian development and cooperation. But it seemed that Washington had difficulty in looking at regional participants as equal players.

美国是一个太平洋国家,与同样濒临太平洋的很多亚洲国家有着千丝万缕的联系。美国关注亚洲发展,希望更多分享亚洲发展成果,理所应当。没有哪个国家要把美国挤出亚洲。相反,亚洲国家普遍希望美国能更积极地投入到亚洲的发展与合作中来。但当惯了主导者的华盛顿,要想放下身段,以平等参与者的“身份感”来看待亚洲,参与亚洲事务,看来是有很大难度的。

If America turns against the general trend of Asian development and cooperation, and play the role flag-waving preachers, and gesticulate at Asian democracy from commanding positions, and even, by this approach, build “contingents” to check and balance China, America may well end up marginalizing itself.

如果美国逆亚洲发展合作的大势而动,总要以一种举旗者、说教者的角色出现,总是居高临下地对亚洲民主指手画脚,甚至想靠举旗来组建起一支制衡中国发展的“队伍”,最终就有可能使自己边缘化。

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Related

» Clinton warns on West PHL Sea Dispute, GMA, July 12, 2012
» After 2 million tons of bombs, Telegraph, July 12, 2012
» 人民日报7月12日评论, BBC, July 12, 2012
» Clinton Praises Mongolian System, WSJ, July 9, 2012
» Diplomat in Chief, LA Times, July 8, 2012

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7 Responses to “People’s Daily editorial: Human-Rights Advocacy will Marginalize America”

  1. Dude, translating People’s Daily editorials? Are you some kind of masochist or something?

    Like

  2. Me a masochist? Nah. I’ve translated many of their editorials in the past, I’ll do it again, and I’ll do it with love.

    You see, partyspeak is a bit like stuff from the Vatican – incredibly logical once you accept the underlying dogma. Cracks aside, stuff like this editorial provides real insight in how the CCP is ticking – and it helps me to think further.

    Like

  3. “incredibly logical once you accept the underlying dogma.”

    There are raving lunatics (thinking particularly of former Coventry City goalkeeper and “Son of God” David Icke) whose fantasies have the same internal logic that the CCP’s Newspeak does, but I get your point.

    Like

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