Jin Yinan: The Fundamental Difference

1. Translation

Published by People’s Daily Online (人民网) twelve days ago, as part of an interview and discussion series:

People’s Daily Online, January 5, 2013 (Reporter: Huang Zijuan) PLA National Defense University Strategic Research Institute director General, professor Jin Yinan, was recently a guest at People’s Daily Online’s “National Defense Culture Examples” interview series, discussing issues of “strategy cultures and modern defense” with netizens and exchanging views with them.

人民网北京1月5日电 (记者 黄子娟)近日,国防大学战略研究所所长金一南教授做客人民网“国防文化系列访谈”,就“战略文化与现代国防”的话题与网友交流。

When discussing Sino-American strategic cultural differences, Jin Yinan said that Sino-American strategic cultural differences were very big. Rabindranath Tagore had once said that conflicts and conquest [or subjugation] were quintessential in the spirit of Western nationalism, and its core was definitely not about cooperation. National interest as permanently defined by America was the core of its strategic culture, mainly:
1. safeguarding global freedom of action for America, to go whereever it wanted to, without anyone being in a position to stop them
2. Making sure that major strategic resources and markets would be acquired. This includes oil, natural gas, and all kinds of resources America needs
3. holding back hostile and opposing forces, and controlling key regions.

在谈到中美战略文化的区别时,金一南表示,中美的战略文化差别很大。泰戈尔曾经说过,冲突与征服是西方民族主义精神的精髓,它的核心绝不是合作。美国界定的永久性的国家利益就是它的战略文化的核心,主要体现为:第一,确保美国的全球的行动自由,想去哪去哪,谁也不能阻挡我;第二,确保获得重要的战略资源和重要的市场。包括石油、天然气以及各种各样美国所需要的资源;第三,阻止敌对力量,控制关键区域。

Jin Yinan said that here, the fundamental strategic interest defined by America had no ideological color, and its defined lasting national interests included nothing about human rights either. The core was America’s interest, whichever way it could be achieved. This was mainly through control, conquest [or subjugation], to talk again if conquest didn’t work, to cooperate, to make unilateral gains when feasible, and to enter win-win when unilateral gains weren’t achievable. This was the biggest difference between China’s and American strategic cultures.

金一南说,这里面,美国界定的根本战略利益追求,没有意识形态的色彩,而且它制定的永久性的国家利益也不包含人权这么一说,核心是美国的利益,这个利益怎么实现,主要是通过控制、征服,征服不了再谈判、合作,能单赢就单赢,实在不能单赢只好双赢,这是中美的战略思维差别很大的地方。

Remarks

Appropriating Rabindranath Tagore in the context of delivering damning assessments of America’s “strategic culture”, and beautifying implications about China’s, may amount to subjugation, too. Here is how Isaiah Berlin  (quoted by Amartya Sen) described Tagore’s view of political liberty:

Tagore stood fast on the narrow causeway, and did not betray his vision of the difficult truth. He condemned romantic overattachment to the past, what he called the tying of India to the past “like a sacrificial goat tethered to a post,” and he accused men who displayed it – they seemed to him reactionary – of not knowing what true political freedom was, pointing out that it is from English thinkers and English books that the very notion of political liberty was derived. But against cosmopolitanism he maintained that the English stood on their own feet, and so must Indians. In 1917 he once more denounced the danger of ‘leaving everything to the unalterable will of the Master,’ be he brahmin or Englishman.

Tagore’s criticism, used by General Jin in his strategy-culture discussion, was part of India’s struggle against British colonialism. But – as Amartya Sen (2001) sees it – while Tagore consistently and growingly sharply criticized British administration over India, his criticism was less noticed than that of other opponents of Britain’s colonial rule:

This point – Tagore’s criticism – is often missed, since he made a special effort to dissociate his criticism of the Raj from any denigration of British—or Western—people and culture.

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Related

» Espionage, not Corruption, NTDTV, Aug 31, 2011
» Discussion leaked, Taipei Times, Aug 30, 2011
» Strategic Culture, Jeffrey S. Lantis via asrudiancenter, Nov 4, 2008

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