Strategy in the Global Era
--Interview with the Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (National Defense University), Dr. Hans Binnendijk (March 10, 1998) 访美国国防大学战略研究所所长汉斯•宾内迪雅克博士
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: I was really impressed by your lecture on “Strategy in the Global Era” given at Georgetown University last week. Your lecture covered a lot of ground1 on current views on strategy. Strategy, especially national security strategy and military strategy are always closely connected to national defense development. Today, I would like to ask you to expand on your views on strategy from the perspective of national defense development.
Strategic thinking cannot be thought of independently of history. Even though U.S. history goes back only over 200 years, it has witnessed the significant changes in the international situation. In thinking about current and future U.S. strategy, what lessons do you think should be especially observed from history?
DR. BINNENDIJK: One of the things that is very important for the U.S. to think about is how to use the fact that technologically, economically, and in terms of political philosophy we are in a dominant position and history shows that is very dangerous if the position is abused2. It is very important for us not to act too unilaterally. If we believe that we have both the right and the might, and we act unilaterally too often, that would be a mistake.
I think in most cases we have to make sure we use international mechanisms to bring coalitions around to get as much legitimacy as we can, before we take major national security actions. A lesson from history is that other countries that had been in a position of relatively greater power, if they had abused that position, other nations tend to join alliances against them, and we don’t want to be in that position.
MR, CHEN: You mentioned the key question from the lessons from history is whether the U.S. can break out of the flexibility-rigidity-conflict cycle3. Could you please describe this cycle in detail?
DR. BINNENDIJK: This cycle tends to repeat itself. Napoleon used a fluid international system to his advantage, creating alliances to isolate his target. Eventually others saw his pattern, aligned themselves against him and created a more rigid bipolar system. And as a result you have the grand alliance against him, and he was defeated twice. In 1814-1816, the Congress of Vienna system4, the Holy Alliance5 was established and the whole purpose was to allow other nations, and particularly the U.K., to balance power that went out of alignment. That actually brought a great deal of stability from 1815-1855, until the Crimean War. It was that balance of power system that was created with the British. That was a very flexible system. You have the U.K. ready to shift alliances very rapidly and act boldly in order to keep the system down. It was by design a flexible system. The first system was not by design. The third system (1860-1914) was also a very flexible system early on. Bismark used it and pushed against Denmark, Austria, and then against France. But after he left the scene and Kaiser Wilhelm took full control, flexibility became more rigid, and you have two alliance systems that led to World War Ⅱ.The league of Nations6 system started out to be very flexible. The whole League was supposed to act against any nation that behaved badly. The system failed, and very quickly became rigid around the Axis powers and the Allied-powers. In the Cold War international system, the flexibility of the system soon turned rigid and bipolar. We were able to avoid conflict there because of nuclear deterrence. The question here is: can we break out of that cycle? We are in a very flexible period right now in the international system. Alliances exist but they’ve been modified. The whole idea is not to have them become too rigid. What we don’t want is a system in which we become bipolar again. An example of that would be if China and Russia’s relationship became much firmer and became an anti-American alliance. That would lead, again, to a bipolar system, which would, I think, be very unfortunate. You do not want the international system to become rigid. You don’t want a situation in which you come to a more bipolar situation.
MR. CHEN: In analyzing the current international situation, you pointed out that there were three revolutions in a complex new system. How are they likely to affect the development of the international situation in the future?
DR. BINNENDIJK: Well, as I said, the three revolutions-the geostrategic7, the information, and the revolution in government by and large have a positive effect on the United States. One of the points I made was that I hope that the attractiveness of globalization8-global markets, the wealth that can come with globalization would be attractive enough for China and Russia and others to want to become part of that system. There is a lot of reward in this globalization process. The hope is that would be powerful enough so that we can break out of the flexibility-rigidity-conflict space.
MR. CHEN: In your opinion, what are the topmost current U.S. interests? How are these interests related to U.S. strategic needs?
DR. BINNENDIJK: I think we have a broad array of interests. We obviously want to secure our homeland and want to make sure that there is no threat to the United States directly, whether it is from Russian missiles or terrorist weapons or whatever-that is the primary concern-since we also have as a major interest-protecting areas that are of vital importance to us, such as the Persian Gulf. We want to retain and adapt our alliances. That’s very important. Extremely important to the United States is the transition under way in Russia and China.
MR. CHEN: When the U.S. is shaping a future national security strategy, what are the main elements that should be considered? What do you think a future national security strategy for the U.S. would look like?
DR. BINNENDIJK: I think the current national security strategy is pretty much on the track. I think the enlargement strategy has thus far applied primarily to Europe. The idea here is to welcome new democratic states into the core of market democracies. And that’s been a pretty successful effort. The most visible would pertain to9 NATO enlargement. But it goes on elsewhere. That seems to be a very positive trend in the world. Engagement also has been quite misunderstood, especially in China, because it has been misinterpreted as containment. Engagement is much more what we’re doing right here.
Now, where should this go in the future? I think that as you look out three or four or five years, trying to make sure that the policy is as inclusive as possible. It means making China a full partner in the international system. And part of the deal with China is that it needs to live up to international norms. China is more and more looking at these international norms. China is more and more looking at these international norms and saying yeah we can live up10 to that. And once China agrees to do that, it can move more and more into the international community.
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS 词汇提示
1.ground  n. 范围
2.abuse  v. 滥用
3.the flexibility-rigidity-conflict cycle “灵活-僵化-冲突”怪圈
4.the Congress of Vienna system 维也纳会议体系
5.the Holy Alliance 神圣同盟
6.the League of Nations 国际联盟
7.geostrategic  a.地缘战略的
8.globalization  n. 全球化
9.pertain to 关于
10.live up 快乐地过日子（在这里是好好地行事的意思）
QUESTIONS AFTER LISTENING 听后答题:
1. What is the lesson from the history in Dr. Binnendijk’s view?
A.It is that a country should act with its allies.
B.It is that the U.S. should abuse its dominant position.
C.It is that a country should act unilaterally.
D.It is that a country should act bilaterally.
2. What cycle did Dr. Binnendijk mention?
3. When was the Congress of Vienna system and the Holy Alliance established?
4. How many international systems emerged from Napoleon era to 1914?
A.Two. B.Three. C.Four. D.Six.
5. What kind of international system was it in the Cold War?
6. What period is it now in the international system according to Dr. Binnendijk?
A.a conflicting period.
B.a rigid period.
C.a stable period.
D.a very flexible period.
7. Which three revolutions are there in a complex new system?
A.The geostrategic revolution, education revolution and information revolution.
B.The information revolution, educational revolution and technical revolution.
C.The geostrategic revolution, the information revolution and the revolution in government.
D.The educational revolution, cultural revolution and technical revolution.
8. What are the topmost U.S. interests in Dr. Binnendijks’ view?
A.To maintain the sea lane safe.
B.To promote the human right in the developing countries.
C.To protect areas that are of vital importance to the U.S..
D.To secure the homeland and make sure that there is no threat to the U.S. directly.
9, What is the main idea about the enlargement strategy according to Dr. Binnendijk?
A.To welcome new independent countries into UN.
B.To welcome new democratic states into the core of market democracies.
C.To welcome the developing countries into NATO.
D.To welcome the ASEAN countries into ATEC.
10.What is one of the main purpose of the engagement policy in Dr. Binnendijk’s words?
A.To make China a full Partner in the international system.
B.To make North Korea a full partner in the international system.
C.To make Russia a full partner in the international system.
D.To make Cuba a full partner in the international system.
KEYS TO THE QUESTIONS 参考答案：
1.a 2.a 3.c 4. b 5. a 6. c 7. c 8.d 9.b 10.a