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The Middle East is the key to wide-ranging, economic, interlixed integration, and peace

中东是实现广泛、经济、相互关联的一体化与和平的关键

Under the cascading roar of the 24/7 news cycle cum Twitter eruptions, it’s easy for most of the West, especially the US, to forget the basics about the interaction of Eurasia with its western peninsula, Europe.

在7X24小时新闻循环和推特的聒噪声中,大多数西方国家,尤其是美国,很容易忘记欧亚大陆与其西部半岛欧洲相互作用的基本要素。

Asia and Europe have been trading goods and ideas since at least 3,500 BC. Historically, the flux may have suffered some occasional bumps – for instance, with the irruption of 5th-century nomad horsemen in the Eurasian plains. But it was essentially steady up to the end of the 15th century. We can essentially describe it as a millennium-old axis – from Greece to Persia, from the Roman empire to China.

至少从公元前3500年起,亚洲和欧洲就开始了商品和思想交流。从历史上看,这种变迁可能偶尔会遭遇一些波折——例如,公元5世纪欧亚大陆平原游牧骑兵的入侵,但直到15世纪末,它基本上是稳定的,我们基本上可以把它描述为一个千年的轴心——从希腊到波斯,从罗马帝国到中国。



When the Chinese, promoting the New Silk Roads, emphasize “people to people exchange” as one of its main traits, they mean the millenary Euro-Asia dialogue. History may even have aborted two massive, direct encounters.

当推动新丝绸之路的中国人把“人与人之间的交流”作为其主要特征之一时,他们指的是千年的欧亚对话,历史甚至可能中止了两次大规模的直接接触。

The first was after Alexander The Great defeated Darius III of Persia. But then Alexander’s Seleucid successors had to fight the rising power in Central Asia: the Parthians – who ended up taking over Persia and Mesopotamia and made the Euphrates the limes between them and the Seleucids.

第一次是在亚历山大大帝击败波斯大流士三世之后,但是后来亚历山大的塞琉西王朝的继承者们不得不与中亚崛起的势力——帕提亚人——作斗争,帕提亚人最终接管了波斯和美索不达米亚,并把幼发拉底河变成了它们和塞琉西王朝之间的莱姆河。

The second encounter was when emperor Trajan, in 116 AD, after defeating the Parthians, reached the Persian Gulf. But Hadrian backed off – so history did not register what would have been a direct encounter between Rome, via Persia, with India and China, or the Mediterranean meeting with the Pacific.

第二次遭遇是在公元116年,图拉真皇帝打败帕提亚人后到达波斯湾,
但是哈德良退却了——所以历史没有记载罗马通过波斯与印度和中国的直接接触,也没有记载地中海与太平洋的直接接触。

Mongol globalization
蒙古全球化

The last western stretch of the Ancient Silk Roads was, in fact, a Maritime Silk Road. From the Black Sea to the Nile delta, we had a string of pearls in the form of Italian city/emporia, a mix of end journey for caravans and naval bases, which then moved Asian products to Italian ports.

古丝绸之路的最后一段往西部延伸,实际上是一条海上丝绸之路,从黑海到尼罗河三角洲,我们有一个以意大利城市 / 商业中心为形式的珍珠链,这是一个结束旅程的大篷车和海军基地的混合体,将亚洲商品运往意大利港口。

Commercial centers between Constantinople and Crimea configured another Silk Road branch through Russia all the way to Novgorod, which was very close culturally to the Byzantine world. From Novgorod, merchants from Hamburg and other cities of the Hanseatic League distributed Asian products to markets in the Baltics, northern Europe and all the way to England – in parallel to the southern routes followed by the maritime Italian republics.

君士坦丁堡和克里米亚之间的商业中心配置了另一条穿越俄罗斯的丝绸之路分支,一直到诺夫哥罗德,这是非常接近的文化意义上的拜占庭世界。
从诺夫哥罗德开始,来自汉堡和中东汉萨同盟其他城市的商人将亚洲产品分销到波罗的海各国、北欧和英格兰的市场,与南线平行,随后是海上的意大利。

Between the Mediterranean and China, the Ancient Silk Roads were of course mostly overland. But there were a few maritime routes as well. The major civilization poles involved were peasant and artisanal, not maritime. Up to the 15th century, no one was really thinking about turbulent, interminable oceanic navigation.

在地中海和中国之间,古代丝绸之路当然大部分是陆路,但也有一些海上航线,其中涉及的主要是农民和手工艺者,而不是海洋,直到15世纪,还没有人真正考虑过汹涌、漫无边际的海上航行。

The main players were China and India in Asia, and Italy and Germany in Europe. Germany was the prime consumer of goods imported by the Italians. That explains, in a nutshell, the structural marriage of the Holy Roman Empire.

主要参与者是亚洲的中国和印度,以及欧洲的意大利和德国,德国是意大利人进口商品的主要消费国,简而言之,这也解释了神圣罗马帝国的结构性联姻。



With the Turks, it was a completely different story. They consolidated Turkestan, from Central Asia to northwest China. The only reason Tamerlan did not annex India is that he died beforehand. But even the Turks did not want to shut down the Silk Road. They wanted to control it.

对于土耳其人来说,情况就完全不同了,他们巩固了突厥斯坦,从中亚延伸到中国西北,塔梅尔兰没有吞并印度的唯一原因是他提前去世了,但即使是土耳其人也不想关闭丝绸之路,他们想要控制它。

Venice lost its last direct Silk Road access in 1461, with the fall of Trebizond, which was still clinging to the Byzantine empire. With the Silk Road closed to the Europeans, the Turks – with an empire ranging from Central-South Asia to the Mediterranean – were convinced they now controlled trade between Europe and Asia.
Not so fast. Because that was when European kingdoms facing the Atlantic came up with the ultimate Plan B: a new maritime road to India.

1461年,随着特拉比松( 译注:Trebizond,土耳其港口城市名)的陷落,威尼斯失去了丝绸之路的最后一条直达通道,这座城市仍然依附于拜占庭帝国,随着丝绸之路对欧洲人关闭,拥有从中南亚到地中海的帝国的土耳其人确信他们现在控制着欧洲和亚洲之间的贸易。
但没持续多久,因为那时面向大西洋的欧洲王国想出了最终的B计划:一条通往印度的新海上道路。

Enlightened arrogance
开明的傲慢

The Enlightenment could not possibly box Asia inside its own rigid geometries. Europe ceased to understand Asia, proclaimed it was some sort of proteiform historical detritus and turned its undivided attention to “virgin,” or “promised” lands elsewhere on the planet.

启蒙运动不可能把亚洲禁锢在自己僵化的几何图形中,欧洲不再理解亚洲,宣称它是某种变形的历史遗迹,并将其全部注意力转向地球上其他地方的“处女地”或“应许之地”。

We all know how England, from the 18th century onwards, took control of the entire trans-oceanic routes and turned North Atlantic supremacy into a lone superpower game – till the mantle was usurped by the US.

我们都知道,自18世纪以来,英国是如何控制了整条跨洋航线,并将北大西洋的霸主地位变成了一场独孤求败的超级大国游戏——直到美国取代了它的地位。



The Raging 2020s may signify the historical juncture when this bloc surpasses the current, hegemonic Atlanticist bloc.

“愤怒的2020年代”可能意味着这个集团超越目前霸权的大西洋集团的历史转折点。

Now compare it with the prime US strategic obxtive at all times, for decades: to establish, via myriad forms of divide and rule, that relations between Germany, Russia and China must be the worst possible.

现在,把它与美国几十年来一直以来的首要战略目标相比较:通过各种形式的分而治之,确立德国、俄罗斯和中国之间的关系必定是最糟糕的。

No wonder strategic fear was glaringly visible at the NATO summit in London last month, which called for ratcheting up pressure on Russia-China. Call it the late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s ultimate, recurrent nightmare.

难怪上个月在伦敦举行的北约峰会上,战略恐惧显而易见,峰会呼吁加大对俄罗斯和中国的压力,称之为已故的兹比格涅夫的“大棋盘” ,布热津斯基终极的、反复出现的噩梦。

Germany soon will have a larger than life decision to make. It’s like this was a renewal – in way more dramatic terms – of the Atlanticist vs Ostpolitik debate. German business knows that the only way for a sovereign Germany to consolidate its role as a global export powerhouse is to become a close business partner of Eurasia.

德国很快将做出一个比生命更重要的决定,这似乎是大西洋主义与东方政策之争的一次复兴——以一种更加戏剧化的方式,德国企业明白,作为一个主权国家巩固其全球出口强国地位的唯一途径,就是成为欧亚大陆的亲密商业伙伴。

In parallel, Moscow and Beijing have come to the conclusion that the US trans-oceanic strategic ring can only be broken through the actions of a concerted block: BRI, Eurasia Economic unx (EAEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS+ and the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

与此同时,莫斯科和北京得出结论,美国跨洋战略环只能通过一个整体的协同行动来打破:一带一路(BRI) ,欧亚经济联盟(EAEU) ,上海合作组织(SCO) ,金砖国家 + 和金砖国家新开发银行(NDB) ,亚洲基础设施投资银行(AIIB)。

Middle East pacifier
中东奶嘴



The Middle East is a key stop in the 21st century, trans-oceanic supply chain routes – thus its geopolitical importance for the current superpower, among other geoeconomic, energy-related reasons. But its best and brightest know the Middle East does not need to remain a center of war, or intimations of war, which, incidentally, affect three of those historical, regional powers of the quartet (Syria, Iraq and Iran).

中东是21世纪的一个跨海供应链路线的关键点——因此,除了其他地缘经济、能源相关的原因外,中东在地缘政治上对当前的超级大国具有重要意义。
但中国最优秀、最聪明的人才知道,中东不需要继续成为战争中心,也不需要继续暗示战争,顺便说一句,这会影响到四方中的三个历史性、地区性大国( 叙利亚、伊拉克和伊朗 )。

What the New Silk Roads are proposing is wide-ranging, economic, interlixed integration from East Asia, through Central Asia, to Iran, Iraq and Syria all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean. Just like the Ancient Silk Roads. No wonder vested War Party interests are so uncomfortable with this real peace “threat.”

新丝绸之路提出的是广泛的、经济的、相互联系的一体化,从东亚,经过中亚,一直到伊朗、伊拉克和叙利亚,一直到东地中海,就像古代的丝绸之路,战争的既得利益者对这个真正的和平“威胁”感到如此不安也就丝毫无怪了。