Nation-Building: East Asia’s Unfinished Business | 東亞未完之國族構建

South Korea can perhaps be viewed as the epitome of Benedict Anderson’s imagined community. In the past, she broke away from the yoke of Chinese imperialism and Communism. At present, she endeavours to leave behind the shameful history of Sadaejuui, yet finding herself not too different from another Hong Kong in the eyes of Peking. Without undue hesitation, she alienates herself from her American protector to cater to Peking’s anti-Japanese stance, only to be treated by Peking as a vassal state. Unlike those foreign “barbarians” insubordinate to Peking’s imperial influence, any vassal state that betrays Peking can expect stern retribution from the imperial master.

韓國堪稱安德森式共同體想像的成功範例,經歷了逃離天下帝國和共產國際的考驗,力圖遺忘事大稱臣的恥辱歷史,卻發現自己在北京紫禁城的心目中,只不過是另一個香港而已。她不惜疏遠美國保護人,迎合北京的反日佈局,結果卻得到了藩屬的待遇。藩屬如果企圖背叛紫禁城,就會受到比蠻夷更加嚴厲的懲罰。

This is hardly South Korea’s fault, but the aftermath of unfinished nation-building in East Asia. Were the Holy Roman Empire (say, with a stretch of imagination, under either Hitler or Stalin) to re-unify Europe, the Danes’ or Finns’ relationship with Berlin or Moscow would scarcely be any different from that of the Koreans with Peking. Europe was fortunate in that England vigorously championed a free or divided European continent. Japan could have played a similar role in East Asia, yet she miscalculated and foundered.

這其實不是韓國的錯,而是東亞民族構建尚未完成的後遺症。如果神聖羅馬帝國在希特勒或斯大林的主持下重新統一了歐洲,丹麥人或芬蘭人在柏林或莫斯科面前的地位也不會有多少差異。歐洲的幸運在於,英格蘭堅定地維護歐洲的自由或分裂。日本原本可以在東亞發揮類似的作用,卻由於自身的定位錯誤而坐失良機。

In the long run, until Taiwan, Hong Kong and even East Asia have successfully finished nation-building, they cannot expect to settle their own issues. If Manchuria fails to build herself a South Korea, South Korea can expect, sooner or later, to become another Manchuria. If Hong Kong fails (like Shanghai) to transform herself into another Singapore, she will become — if she is not already fast becoming — another Shanghai. Lincoln once remarked in the House Divided Speech: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure, half slave and half free.” Similar logic applies in East Asia, particularly to a semi-imperial and semi-multinational system.

從長遠看來,台灣、香港、乃至東亞本身的所有問題,都只有在各民族國家建構完成以後,才能真正解決。滿洲民族如果不能建構第二個韓國,韓國早晚會變成第二個滿洲。香港正在淪為第二個上海,原因正是上海未能建立自己的新加坡。林肯說半奴隸半自由的聯邦無法穩定,半帝國半多國的國際體系同樣如此。


Translated by Y (with helpful suggestions from Scott Cui) | 譯員:Y (致謝懷瑾)