There was once an uninhabited islet lying close to the Chinese side of the Ussuri River, which marks the border between Russia and China in the Far East. “Was,” because it has since begun to attach itself to the Chinese bank in a defiant act of geographic irony. But during the turbulent spring of 1969 this little islet — called Damansky in Russian and Zhenbao Dao in Chinese — was the stage for a game-changing encounter.
俄罗斯和中国在远东的界河乌苏里江靠近中国一侧,曾经有一座无人居住的小岛。之所以说“曾经”,是因为它后来开始和中国这一侧连接起来,结果就成了一次有地理讽刺意味的挑衅。但在1969年那个动荡的春天,这个在俄罗斯叫达曼斯基岛(Damansky)、在中国叫珍宝岛的小岛成为了一个舞台,上演了一场改变游戏规则的冲突。
It was on this islet that on March 2 the Chinese set up an ambush, killing 31 Soviet border guards. The daring provocation was an effort to deter the Soviets from invading China, something that seemed only too possible after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
正是在这个小岛上,那一年的3月2日,中国人通过伏击杀死了31名苏联边防军。这个大胆的挑衅之举,是为了阻止苏联入侵中国,在它于1968年8月入侵捷克斯洛伐克之后,这似乎太有可能发生了。
The fighting resumed two weeks later. The Soviets deployed tanks and bombarded the Chinese positions with BM-21 rockets, killing (in their estimate) up to a thousand Chinese troops. After several months of uneasy quiet, another skirmish broke out on Aug. 13, this time along the Western section of the border, in present-day Xinjiang. Twenty-one Chinese and two Soviets lost their lives.
两周后,烽火再起。苏联部署坦克,并用BM-21火箭轰炸中方阵地,(据他们估计)击毙多达1000名中国士兵。经过几个月令人不安的平静之后,8月13日又爆发了一场小规模冲突,这次是在中苏边境的西段,也就是现在的新疆境内。21名中国人和2名苏联人在冲突中丧生。
The conflict was not entirely a surprise. Relations between the two Communist giants had been tense for a decade, with each accusing the other of betraying Marxism. The ideological quarrel obscured a more fundamental divergence: Mao Zedong was unwilling to subordinate himself to the Soviets in the rigid hierarchy of the Communist world. The Soviet leaders accused Mao of “great power chauvinism,” without recognizing that the label suited them equally well.
双方出现军事冲突并不完全令人意外。在此前的10年时间里,这两个共产主义巨人之间的关系一直都很紧张,双方都指责对方背叛了马克思主义。意识形态之争掩盖了一个更为根本性的分歧:毛泽东不愿在共产主义世界严格的等级制度中屈从于苏联。苏联领导人指责毛是“大国沙文主义”,而没有意识到这个标签同样也很适合他们自己。
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At least until 1969, the Soviets and the Chinese had avoided shooting at each other. Now, Moscow was weighing harsher retaliatory measures, even contemplating a pre-emptive nuclear strike on its former ally — and, through Soviet diplomats in Washington, probing the American reaction to the idea.
至少在1969年之前,苏联和中国一直对动武采取克制的态度。这时,莫斯科开始考虑采取更严厉的报复措施,甚至考虑对这个前盟友发动先制核打击——并通过驻华盛顿的苏联外交官试探美国对这个想法的反应。
With tensions spiraling out of control, Mao called together a group of senior military officials to work out what China should do in response to the crisis. The head of the group, Marshal Chen Yi, came up with an unorthodox conclusion: Facing an implacable enemy in the North, China had little recourse but to consider mending fences with the United States, after two decades of mutual nonrecognition and deep hostility.
随着紧张局势的失控,毛泽东召集一群高级将领研究中国该如何应对这场危机。这个群体的领导者陈毅元帅得出了一个非正统的结论:面对北方这个死敌,在经过20年的互不承认和深深的敌意后,中国别无选择,只能考虑与美国修好。
It took two years of secret contacts to get there — a short time, considering that Mao was about to do something unthinkable: embrace the vilified leader of the imperialist world. In December 1970, Mao asked Edgar Snow, his biographer and a left-leaning journalist, to pass along to Richard Nixon an invitation to visit Beijing. Snow — by no means a Nixon fan — was taken aback. “A good fellow! Nixon is a good fellow!” Mao reiterated. “The No. 1 good fellow in the world!”
经过两年的秘密接触,中国实现了这个目标——这是相当快的,毕竟毛要做的是一件不可思议的事情:接受备受挞伐的帝国主义世界领导人。1970年12月,毛要求他的传记作者、有左翼倾向的记者埃德加·斯诺(Edgar Snow)向理查德·尼克松(Richard Nixon)转达访问北京的邀请。对尼克松绝无好感的斯诺大吃一惊。“好!尼克松好!”毛泽东反复地说。“世界第一个好人!”
The Chinese leader then had the transcript of his talk with Snow circulated to lower party organizations for discussion and debate. The record of these discussions showed that even the Chinese party faithful were dumbfounded by the chairman’s stand, with many wondering why Mao would call “reactionary” Nixon “the No. 1 good fellow in the world,” and why, with so much tolerance being extended to Americans, China could not improve relations with the U.S.S.R.
这位中国领导人随后将他与斯诺的谈话记录发给下级党组织讨论和辩论。讨论的记录显示,即便是最听党的话的人,也对主席的立场感到目瞪口呆,许多人都想知道,为什么毛泽东会把“反动的”尼克松称为“世界第一个好人”,以及中国为什么对美国这么忍让,却不能跟苏联搞好关系。
The rank-and-file party members did not understand the chairman’s global strategy, nor his abiding fear of the Soviet Union. He repeatedly compared the Soviets to Nazi Germany, and felt that both the Americans and the Western Europeans had been weak in the face of Moscow’s expansionism.
普通党员不理解主席的全球战略,也不理解他对苏联长期以来的恐惧。他多次将苏联比作纳粹德国,认为美国人和西欧人在莫斯科的扩张主义面前都很软弱。
Mao now proposed to build a united front — a horizontal line, he called it — against the Soviet Union. The line would join the United States, Japan, China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Western Europe in a quasi-alliance aimed at frustrating Moscow’s global ambitions. Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in February 1972 fit in with that vision.
毛泽东现在提议建立一条反对苏联的统一战线——他称之为一条横线。这条线让美国、日本、中国、巴基斯坦、伊朗、土耳其和西欧结成准联盟,旨在挫败莫斯科的全球野心。尼克松1972年2月对北京的历史性访问符合这一设想。
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Some (though not all) of China’s allies appreciated Mao’s stratagem. The North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung, thought that having Nixon in Beijing was a brilliant move. “China did not go looking for them,” he told Mao. “This is an enormous victory. Your victory is our common victory. We should celebrate.”
中国的一些盟友(尽管不是全部)赞赏毛泽东的战略。朝鲜领导人金日成认为尼克松访问北京是明智之举。“中国不是去找他们,”他对毛泽东说。“这是一个很大的胜利。你们的胜利就是我们共同的胜利,应该庆祝嘛。”
What mattered to Mao was that Nixon recognized that China was indispensable in the Cold War against the Soviets. The Americans, he thought, needed China more than the other way around. Or, as a senior Chinese leader, Geng Biao, put it at one internal meeting in 1975, “The American imperialists want to take advantage of us to deal with the Soviet revisionists. They are unable to use us. Rather, we can use them.”
对毛泽东来说,重要的是尼克松认识到中国在对抗苏联的冷战中是不可或缺的。他认为,比起中国需要美国,美国更需要中国。或者,正如1975年中国高级领导人耿飚在一次内部会议上所说,“美帝也利用我们和苏修的矛盾,对付苏修,他们想利用我们利用不上。我们可以利用他。”
The Soviet leaders were shocked to learn of Nixon’s visit to Beijing. They had long suspected the Chinese of duplicity, but they had not expected Mao to pull such a trick. In response, the Soviet general secretary, Leonid Brezhnev, tried to defrost the Soviet-American relationship, which had been plagued by tensions over the American war in Vietnam. He invited Nixon to Moscow in May 1972, and then traveled to the United States in June 1973 to foster a new spirit of rapprochement between the two Cold War rivals.
苏联领导人听说尼克松访问北京的消息后大为震惊。长期以来,他们一直怀疑中国人在两面讨好,但他们没想到毛泽东会耍这样的花招。作为回应,苏联总书记列昂尼德·勃列日涅夫(Leonid Brezhnev)试图解冻因美国在越南的战争而陷入紧张的苏美关系。他在1972年5月邀请尼克松访问莫斯科,然后在1973年6月访问美国,在两个冷战对手之间培育一种和解的气氛。
Brezhnev tried his best to convince Nixon that the Chinese were the wrong crowd to mingle with. The Chinese, he told Nixon in San Clemente, Calif., were characterized by “brutality, perfidy, and hypocrisy.” They were “treacherous and spiteful,” “not honorable,” “exceptionally sly and perfidious.” Instead of courting the Chinese, the Americans needed to team up with the Soviets. “I want to talk to you privately — nobody else, no notes,” he told Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, in May 1973. “Look, you will be our partners, you and we are going to run the world.”
勃列日涅夫竭尽全力劝说尼克松相信,中国人不是什么好伙伴。他在加州的圣克莱门特对尼克松说,中国人的特点是“野蛮、不忠诚、虚伪”。他们“背信弃义、心怀叵测”,“不诚实”,“特别狡猾、两面三刀”。美国人需要与苏联人合作,而不是讨好中国人。“我想和你私下谈谈——没有其他人,没有笔记。”1973年5月,他对尼克松的国家安全顾问亨利·基辛格(Henry Kissinger)说。“你看,你们可以成为我们的合作伙伴,你们和我们共同管理世界。”
Nixon and Kissinger weren’t buying it. They were in a position to play the Russians and the Chinese against one another. Washington now had a much better relationship with the Soviets and the Chinese than the Soviets and the Chinese had with each other. Both looked to the United States for help, giving Nixon considerable leverage.
尼克松和基辛格并不买账。他们现在可以在俄国人和中国人之间挑拨离间。那个时候,美苏关系和美中关系都比苏中关系好得多。两国都向美国求助,这给了尼克松相当大的优势。
This leverage showed when in the spring of 1972 Nixon briefly escalated the war in Vietnam and triggered only lame responses from Hanoi’s two most important allies. The United States was in an auspicious position, especially after the border war of 1969 showed just how much Beijing and Moscow feared each other.
1972年春天,这种优势显现出来,尼克松短暂地升级了越南战争,河内的两个最重要的盟友只做出了无力的回应。美国处于有利的位置,特别是在1969年的边境战争之后,那场战争表明北京和莫斯科是多么害怕对方。
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The game only worked well, however, as long as the fear remained. After a decade of tensions, China and the Soviet Union began to rethink their relationship. Relations were normalized with Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing in May 1989, and China and Russia have become much closer in recent years, under Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. The remaining border issues were settled in 2004. On the 50th anniversary of the Zhenbao/Damansky clash, only faint memories remain of the confrontation that brought China and Russia to the brink of a nuclear war.
然而,这个游戏只在恐惧存在的情况下才有效。经过十年的紧张关系,中国和苏联开始重新考虑两国关系。随着米哈伊尔·戈尔巴乔夫(Mikhail Gorbachev)1989年5月访问北京,两国关系实现了正常化。近年来,在习近平和弗拉基米尔·普京(Vladimir Putin)领导下,中俄关系变得密切了得多。遗留的边境问题在2004年得到解决。在珍宝岛/达曼斯基冲突50周年之际,这场将中俄推向核战争边缘的对峙只剩下模糊的记忆。
Russia may no longer be a Communist country, the Cold War may be over and China may now be an economic powerhouse, but the old Beijing-Moscow-Washington triangle is still in place. China and Russia have not become allies, and there is lingering mistrust in the relationship, punctuated by Moscow’s worries over Beijing’s growing economic clout. But Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi recognize that a bad Sino-Russian relationship would only benefit the United States, and they are trying hard to avoid putting themselves at a strategic disadvantage. In this sense, both have learned the lessons of 1969.
俄罗斯可能不再是一个共产主义国家,冷战可能已经结束,中国现在可能是一个经济强国,但是旧有的北京-莫斯科-华盛顿三角关系仍然存在。中国和俄罗斯目前还没有成为盟友,两国关系中存在着挥之不去的不信任感,莫斯科对中国日益增长的经济影响力的担忧,更是加剧了这种不信任。但普京和习近平认识到,糟糕的中俄关系只会让美国受益,他们正在努力避免让自己处于战略劣势。从这个意义上说,双方都吸取了1969年的教训。
But what, if anything, did the American policymakers learn? In 1969, Nixon and Kissinger were acting in line with the ancient Chinese adage: “sitting on a mountaintop, watching two tigers fight.”
但是,美国的政策制定者们又学到了什么?1969年,尼克松和基辛格的行为符合一句中国老话:“坐山观虎斗。”
Fifty years later, the American strategists are getting off the mountaintop and fighting each tiger on his own turf. There is no Chinese adage for this, perhaps because it’s not a viable strategy.
50年后,美国的战略家们纷纷下山,跑到每只老虎的地盘上亲自和它们搏斗。中国没有用来描述这种行为的谚语,也许是因为这不是什么切实可行的战略。
If triangular diplomacy is a game, America has forgotten how to play it.
如果说三角外交是一种游戏,那么美国已经忘记怎么玩了。