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崛起的诱惑:美国“精彩小战争”

2016-12-22 知远战略与防务研究所 托马斯•巴尼特博士访问次数:

“精彩小战争”一词的始作俑者是美国驻英国大使约翰·海,1898年广为报道的美国西班牙短暂战争中的军事行动发生后,他在写给老朋友西奥多·罗斯福的私人信件中,造出了这个词[1]

这场为时10周的战争从古巴摆脱西班牙殖民统治开始,在加勒比和太平洋展开。由于美国海军的超强实力,海上战争很大程度上是一边倒的。在陆上美国地面武装轻松地赢得了几乎每一场战斗。1898年巴黎合约签订后战事终结,合约承认华盛顿临时控制古巴,永久占据波多黎各、关岛和菲律宾。

在回顾美西战争时,我们能够看出许多共性特征和美国的动机——这些特征后来能够应用于中国当前的大国轨迹中:

阻止外部势力插手:驱动美国走上战争之路的首要战略恐惧是美国认为西半球的欧洲殖民强国会对加勒比、墨西哥、中美洲和南美的蚕食和干预。通过门罗宣言阻止西半球任何大国(加拿大除外)的支配被那个时代的美国总统视为一项国家核心安全利益。但是,随着重要的安全“鹰派”担心如果美国不很快取得海外殖民帝国的外在形象,那么机遇的窗口将会永远关闭,美国扩张主义者的热情也起了作用。这种狂热使得美国在美西战争之后的20年里派遣部队进入拉美国家多达32次。美国的这些干涉行为符合所谓的罗斯福推论(得名于西奥多·罗斯福总统,1901-1909在职)和门罗宣言,西奥多·罗斯福力陈,是其他大国的“长期不当做法”迫使美国“行使国际警察的权力”[2]

保护关键的全球贸易流通通道:那个时代的美国战略思想家们深深关切地是,如果美国被拒之门外,无法获得海外殖民地的资产,那么美国就不会有海权来保护自身获得关键地区市场和资源。这种以海军为中心的战略,最为卓著的鼓吹者是曾两度出任美国海军战争学院院长的阿尔弗雷德·T·马汉上校。该战略促使华盛顿先是垂涎继而获得了夏威夷和菲律宾(通过菲律宾可进入亚洲,尤其是中国),后来又开凿了巴拿马运河。

恢复国家统一:南北战争结束后,美国南方和北方龃龉不断数十年,但是美西战争的辉煌被证明对双方是一种慰藉。这场战争为南方北方提供了一个共同的敌人,促进了全新的国家认同的形成,全国性的媒体报道(报纸)则激发了这种动力。时至今日,当美国庆祝74号独立日时,流行的装饰、音乐、图片和服装可以追溯到这一时期——而不是更早的独立战争。

重新确立国家的使命感:随着美国西部边疆的“封闭”,美国“昭昭天命”概念(译注:19世纪美国人所持的一种信念,认为美国被赋予了向西扩张至横跨北美大陆的天命)——或者开疆拓土的正当性——就再也没有出路了。而美西战争赋予了美国人能够再次施展国力的新边疆。

见证了美国成为世界性大国:美西战争使美国进入全球事务。作为一个殖民大国,西班牙从此再也没从这次大败中恢复元气,美国随后被世界既有的帝国列强们视为一个可信的军事威胁和一个真正的全球性大国。推动美国发动对西班牙战争的领导人们心中也的确乐见这种结果。

证明了海权在现代战争中的中心地位:在欧洲殖民帝国时代,三面被大洋围绕的美国接受了海权是全球性大国国际影响的一部分,这不足为奇。第二次世界大战中,美国对这一战略构想的坚持到达了顶峰,直到今天美国仍然保持着这种战略构想的符号特征。

一旦决定开战,美国是毫不退缩的:西班牙政府知道自己必败无疑,所以拼命想避免战争,在冲突发生前数月间做出了一系列重大让步。但华盛顿主战的“鹰派”不为所动。因为战事对美国的安全没有直接威胁,所以这完全是一场选择性的战争——从而为时至今日美国的全球警察角色开了先例。

精英们设计的战争:三位“哈佛人”精心策划了对西班牙宣战的国内宣传攻势:威廉·兰道夫·赫斯特,报纸大亨和“黄色新闻”(译注:新闻报道和媒体编辑的一种取向,以不择手段的方式吸引读者)的创始人,利用新闻煽动公民的民族主义狂热;亨利·卡波特·洛奇,美国参议院的战争倡议者;西奥多·罗斯福,在迫使威廉·麦金莱总统干预古巴内战后,辞去了海军助理部长的职务,领导了有美国第一支特种作战部队之称的“莽骑兵”(译注:罗斯福招纳的一支由牛仔、矿工、原住民等组成的骑兵队,在美西战争中名声大噪)。

建立在可接受代价之上的军事荣耀:除了海军上校马汉看到自己的海权理论得到验证,许多军中英雄涌现在这场简短战事的零星战斗中。例如在这场持续了10周、战斗中损失了不到400名美国人的战争中,颁发了110枚荣誉勋章(美国最高军事荣誉)。授勋数量和美国在一次世界大战中的数量差不多(119枚),尽管后者在战斗中损失的人数是前者的139倍之多(5.3万多人)[3]。美西战争中出现的主要军事传奇人物是“莽骑兵”泰迪(译注:西奥多的昵称)·罗斯福,当时只是一区区上校,后来当选为人口最多的纽约州的州长之职,继而担任美国副总统,最终登上总统宝座。

选择弱势对手的智慧:如果美国真的想和当时主要的殖民强国开战,它就会从英国、法国、德国和日本之中选择对手。然而它选中了西班牙,一个当时已经日薄西山的帝国,西班牙无力保护自己在西半球和太平洋的势力范围。美国做出这个选择的关键是保持冲突的短期性,以及相对低的成本和伤亡。

煽动国内新闻报道的作用:在战前数年,大发行量的报纸开始出现在美国主要城市,激烈争夺读者。对西班牙“暴行”的报道(一些是真的,一些是古巴活跃分子杜撰的)为媒体巨头的崛起提供了素材,这些媒体巨头为战争的准备和开战对素材进行了耸人听闻的处理,从而为其赢得了“黄色新闻”的贬义标签。

“血衣煽动”:美国历史上政客们常用“血衣煽动”(援引政治或军事上的死难者)的方式批评对手。美西战争的预备阶段,美国军舰缅因号因未知原因在古巴港口的沉没成为一件标志性的“血衣”,鹰派人物藉此极力要求宣战。“牢记缅因号”成为战时美国主要的口号。

由此产生的战利品与负担:波多黎各、关岛和菲律宾被美国永久控制,古巴则被美国临时控制。加勒比海此后被认为是“美国的内湖”,这种战略态势持续至今,在1962年古巴导弹危机期间几乎引发一场核战争。美西战争也开启了整个20世纪美国频繁军事干预拉丁美洲的历史模式。一个更直接的负担是在接手政治动荡的菲律宾后,美国被拉进了15年的平叛作战,战斗伤亡人数是美西战争的3倍。

争得“一席之地”:这场战争使美国立刻成为全球话题和地区战争中的一方势力。西奥多·罗斯福随后就任总统,奠定了时至今日美国总统作为活动家、主导外交政策的模式。例如,西奥多·罗斯福因为帮助调停1904-05年间的日俄战争,成为第一个获得诺贝尔和平奖的在任美国总统。这是美国第一次引人注目地参与到他国战争中。

美国长期大战略的起源:第二次世界大战之后,美国推行的促进国际自由贸易秩序的大战略——当下称之为全球化——始于门户开放政策的概念。这个面向中国的政策在美国从西班牙手中赢得菲律宾后变得切实可行。所以从很多方面,美西战争催生了美国领导的全球秩序的现代视野。这个视野偶然地在西奥多·罗斯福任期内得到宣传,最终在第二次世界大战后富兰克林·罗斯福留下的全球战略中得到了更加完整的表达。

 

RISING AMERICA’S “SPLENDID LITTLE WAR” – AN HISTORICAL TEMPTATION

Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett

Senior Research Fellow

Knowfar Institute for Strategic & Defence Studies (KISDS)

 

The phrase “splendid little war” was coined by America’s ambassador to Great Britain, John Hay, in an 1898 personal letter to his old friend Theodore Roosevelt, following the latter’s much-publicized military service in the brief Spanish-American War of that year.[4]

 

The ten-week war was initiated over the issue of Cuban independence from Spanish colonial rule and unfolded in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. Thanks to the superiority of U.S. naval power, the largely maritime conflict was lopsided.  Ashore, U.S. ground forces won virtually every battle with ease. The war was terminated by the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which granted Washington temporary control of Cuba and permanent ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands.

 

In reviewing the dynamics of the Spanish-American War, a number of general characteristics and U.S. motivations can be discerned – characteristics that can later be usefully applied to China’s current great-power trajectory:

 

Preventing the meddling of outside powers: The primary strategic fear driving America down the path toward war was the perceived encroachment and meddling by European colonial powers in the Western Hemisphere – namely, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Per the Monroe Doctrine, preventing European domination of any state in the Western Hemisphere (outside of Canada) was considered by U.S. presidents of that era as a core national security interest.  But American expansionist zeal also played a part, as prominent security “hawks” were concerned that, if the U.S. did not soon achieve some semblance of an overseas colonial empire, then it would be forever prevented from doing so – thus a window-of-opportunity impulse.  Such zeal resulted in America sending military troops into Latin American countries a total of 32 times in the two decades following the Spanish-American War.  These interventions were justified by the so-called Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, so named for President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09), who argued that such “chronic wrongdoing" by outside powers compelled the U.S. “to exercise an international police power.”[5]

 

Protecting access to key global trade flows: U.S. strategic thinkers of that age were deeply concerned that, if America was shut out from acquiring overseas colonial holdings, it would not possess the naval capacity to protect its access to critical regional markets and their resources.  This naval-centric strategizing, voiced most prominently by two-time U.S. Naval War College President, Captain Alfred T. Mahan, encouraged Washington to first covet and then acquire Hawaii and the Philippines (to maintain access to Asia – particularly China), and later to construct the Panama Canal.

 

Restoring national unity:  Relations between America’s North and South remained frayed for decades following the Civil War, but the Spanish-American War’s splendidness proved to be a balm.  By providing a common enemy, the warencouraged a renewed national identity.  National media coverage (newspapers) encouraged this dynamic. To this day, when Americans celebrate the 4th of July, the predominant decorations, music, images, and costumes are traced back to this time period – not the Revolutionary War.

 

Re-establishing a sense of national purpose: With the “closing” of the Western frontier, the American concept of manifest destiny – or the righteous acquisition of territory – no longer had any outlet.  The war gave Americans a new frontier within which national power could again be exercised.

 

Credentializing America as a world power:  The war constituted America’s entry into global affairs. As a colonial power, Spain never recovered from the shock of its decisive loss.  As a rising power, America was subsequently viewed by the world’s established imperial powers as a credible military threat and a legitimate global power.  The leaders who engineered America’s push toward war with Spain had exactly such an outcome in mind.

 

Proving the centrality of naval power in modern warfare: In the era of European colonial empires, it was unsurprising that America – surrounded on three sides by major bodies of water – came to embrace the notion that naval power constituted proof of a global power’s international reach.  America’s adherence to this strategic vision reached its apogee in World War II, but it still retains its iconic quality to this very day (e.g., aircraft carriers symbolize U.S. global military power), even as America’s last major naval battle occurred seven decades ago. 

 

Once it decided on war, America was undeterrable:  The Spanish government desperately wanted to avoid the war, knowing it would lose, and so it made a series of deep concessions in the months leading up to the conflict.  But Washington’s war “hawks” were not to be deterred.  As there was no direct threat to American security, this was completely a war of choice – a precedent that continues to this day in America’s global policing role.

 

An elite-engineered war of choice: Three “Harvard men” orchestrated the domestic build-up to declaring war on Spain:  William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate and progenitor of “yellow journalism” designed to whip up a frenzy of nationalistic spirit among citizens; Henry Cabot Lodge, the U.S. Senate’s leading proponent for war; and Theodore Roosevelt, who, after bullying President William McKinley into intervening in the Cuban civil war, resigned his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to lead America’s first-ever special operations unit known as the Rough Riders.

 

Military glory at an acceptable price:  Besides naval Captain Mahan’s desire to see his theories of naval power validated, a number of U.S. military heroes rose amidst this brief war’s handful of battles.  For example, 110 Medals of Honor (America’s highest military honor) were awarded for a war that lasted 10 weeks and killed just under 400 U.S. personnel in combat.  That is roughly the same number awarded during America’s involvement in World War I (119), despite the nation losing 139 times more men to combat (53,000-plus).[6] The primary military legend to arise from the war was that of Rough Rider “Teddy” Roosevelt, a mere colonel whose next “promotions” were to the governorship of the nation’s most populous state (New York), then the U.S. Vice Presidency, and ultimately to the Presidency of the United States.

 

The wisdom of picking a weak opponent:  If America truly wished to fight a leading colonial power of that era, it would have selected from among Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan.  Instead, it chose Spain, which was already in clear decline as an imperial force, and thus was unable to defend its prize holdings in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific. This choice was key to keeping the conflict short in duration and relatively low in cost and casualties.

 

The role of the incendiary domestic press:  In the years leading up to the war, mass-circulation newspapers began to appear in major cities, leading to intense competition for readers.  Reports of Spanish “atrocities” (some real, some manufactured by Cuban activists) provided material for these rising media giants, whose sensational treatment of the run-up to, and the conduct of, the war earned them the pejorative label “yellow press.” 

 

The “bloody shirt”:  In U.S. history, politicians have often “waved the bloody shirt” (citing the deaths of political or military martyrs) in criticizing their opponents. In the run-up to the Spanish-American War, the sinking of the USS Maine in a Cuban harbor – for reasons unknown – became an emblematic “bloody shirt” that allowed “hawks” to press their case forwar. “Remember the Maine” became the predominant American slogan in the war.

 

The resulting postwar prizes – and burdens:  Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were ceded to permanent U.S. control, while Washington assumed temporary control over Cuba. The Caribbean was henceforth recognized as “America’s lake,” a strategic development that lasts to this day and came close to triggering a nuclear conflict during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The war also began the historical pattern of America’s frequent military interventions across Latin America throughout the 20th century. More immediately, in inheriting the politically unstable Philippines, the United States was forced into a 15-year counter-insurgency campaign that cost three times as many combat casualties as the Spanish-American War.

 

Earning a “seat at the table”:  The war immediately made America a force in global issues and regional wars.  Theodore Roosevelt’s subsequent presidency set the pattern that lasts to this day of an activist, foreign policy-oriented chief executive.  Roosevelt, for example, was the first sitting U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for helping negotiate the end of the 1904-05 war between Russia and Japan.  This was the first time the United States involved itself so prominently in other nations’ wars.

 

The origins of America’s enduring grand strategy:  America’s post-World War II grand strategy of promoting the spread of an international liberal trade order – now known as globalization – began with the concept of the Open Door policy.  That China-directed policy became logistically feasible following the U.S. winning the Philippines from Spain during the war.  Thus, in many ways, the Spanish-American War birthed the modern American vision of a U.S.-led global order.  Coincidentally, that vision, popularized under one Roosevelt presidency (Theodore’s), would eventually find its far more complete expression in the post-World War II global strategy bequeathed by another Roosevelt presidency (his cousin Franklin Delano’s).



[1]“向罗斯福欢呼,伦敦,1898727日”,威廉·罗斯科·塞耶,《生活以及约翰·海来信》第二卷(波士顿,霍顿·米夫林出版,1915),网址https://archive.org/stream/lifelettersofjoh02thayer/lifelettersofjoh02thayer_djvu.txt

[2]西奥多·罗斯福1904年给国会的年度资料;国会文件HR 58A-K2;众议院文件;全宗号233;立法档案重心;国家档案馆;网址www.ourdocuments.gov

[3]“战争和分支机构列出的荣誉勋章获得者”,英雄之家网站,网址http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/war/1_a_main.html

[4] “Hay to Roosevelt, London, 27 July 1898” in William Roscoe Thayer, The Life and Letters of John Hay, Vol. 2 (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1915), found online at https://archive.org/stream/lifelettersofjoh02thayer/lifelettersofjoh02thayer_djvu.txt

[5] Theodore Roosevelt's Annual Message to Congress for 1904; House Records HR 58A-K2; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives; Record Group 233; Center for Legislative Archives; National Archives; found online at www.ourdocuments.gov

[6] “Recipients of the Medal of Honor Listed by War and Branch of Service,” Home of Heroes website, found online at http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/war/1_a_main.html

 

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