Be wary of redrawing the European territory and restarting the bloody dispute

2014-10-31 「 7133 words / 14 minute 」
Be wary of redrawing the European territory and restarting the bloody dispute.jpg
Somebody born in Lviv in 1914, who died in 1992 and never moved out of the city, would have lived in five different countries during the course of a lifetime. In 1914, Lviv, then called Lemberg, was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire; by 1919 it was part of Poland and became Lwow; in 1941 it was occupied by the Germans; after 1945, the city was incorporated into the Soviet Union; and then in 1991 it became part of newly independent Ukraine.
这些变化的发生大多伴随着战争和流血。正因如此,不久前的那个消息才会引发轩然大波,该消息称,俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)几年前曾向当时的波兰总理唐纳德•图斯克(Donald Tusk)建议,应再次瓜分乌克兰,东部的领土归俄罗斯,利沃夫和西部的其他领土归波兰。
Most of these changes were accompanied by warfare and bloodshed. So when it was suggested last week that, a few years ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin had proposed to Donald Tusk, then Polish prime minister, that Ukraine should be partitioned once again – with Russia claiming the eastern territories, and Poland Lviv and other parts of western Ukraine – there was an uproar.
The details of the Putin-Tusk conversation – and indeed whether it ever really took place – were swiftly made murky by denials and clarifications on all sides. But the furore over the idea of a partition of Ukraine was still telling. For it revealed the deep and justified fear in Europe that national boundaries might shift once again, across the continent, with all the dangers that implies.
The dismemberment of Ukraine has, in a sense, already begun – with Russia’s forcible, but largely bloodless, annexation of Crimea this year. Since then thousands have died in fighting in the east of Ukraine, parts of which are now controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Even though Ukraine held elections at the weekend, the occupied parts of the country were unable to vote.
There are influential voices within the EU urging the Ukrainians to “accept reality”. Rather than waging a draining and losing war to win back all of the east – then having to rebuild its devastated cities – they are advised to concentrate on making a success of the large majority of the country that they still control. They can deny the legality of Russian control. But they should accept its reality.
That is the “realist” case for partition. But there are other influential voices who think that even tacitly accepting that Europe’s borders can once again be redrawn by military force would be a disastrous mistake.
刚刚卸任的前瑞典外交大臣卡尔•比尔特(Carl Bildt)直言道:“欧洲的版图或多或少都是用鲜血划成的,在这个过程欧洲经历了几个世纪的血腥冲突。”他认为,允许重划欧洲版图,无异于鼓励“鲜血再次横流”。
Carl Bildt, who has just stepped down as Sweden’s foreign minister, puts it bluntly: “The borders of Europe are more or less all drawn in blood through centuries of brutal conflict.” Allowing these borders to be redrawn, he thinks, would be an invitation “for the blood to start flowing again”.
The most obvious risk is that the Russian government would redeploy the argument that it used to justify the annexation of Crimea – that these are lands that are historically and culturally Russian – and use it to justify seizing the roughly one-quarter of Ukraine that the Kremlin now habitually calls “Novorossiya”. That part of the country includes all of the Ukrainian coastline, and losing it would in effect cripple Ukraine as a nation.
如果对乌克兰的瓜分真正开始,其他国家或许也会忍不住加入。在某些欧盟国家素有“小巴尔干的普京”之称的匈牙利总理维克托•欧尔班(Viktor Orban)已明确表示,他认为匈牙利在一战后失去了三分之二的国土是个悲剧。一些曾经属于匈牙利的土地如今有的在乌克兰境内,有的在斯洛伐克、塞尔维亚或罗马尼亚境内。如果乌克兰真的开始分裂,就连波兰都可能有人忍不住想要收回利沃夫。
If the dismemberment of Ukraine began in earnest, others might be tempted to join in. Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, referred to in some other EU capitals as a “mini-Balkan Putin”, has made clear he regards the loss of two-thirds of Hungarian land after the first world war as a tragedy. Parts of historic Hungary now lie across the border in Ukraine – as well as in Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. If Ukraine really began to fall apart, even some Poles might be tempted by the idea of the return of Lviv.
尽管德国政府常常被批对俄罗斯太软弱,但德国政府特别坚定地主张禁止谈论一切重划欧洲版图的话题。直到1970年,德国才放弃对二战后被划归波兰和俄罗斯的领土的主权要求。那些区域与德国文化的亲近程度,至少不亚于克里米亚与俄罗斯文化的亲近程度。比如说,现在为俄罗斯飞地的加里宁格勒,曾经叫柯尼斯堡,是普鲁士的首都,也是伟大的德国哲学家伊曼纽尔•康德(Immanuel Kant)的故乡。
The German government, although often accused of being soft on Russia, is particularly adamant in arguing that all talk of redrawing borders within Europe must be banished. It was only in 1970 that Germany dropped all claims to the lands it had lost to Poland and Russia after the second world war. Some of these regions were at least as central to German culture as Crimea is to Russia. The area that is now the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, for example, was once Königsberg – capital of Prussia and home of the great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant.
It was Kant who argued that the morality of an action can be judged by what would happen if it became “a universal law”. Or to put it another way: “What if everybody did that?” That rule explains why an apparently pragmatic acceptance of Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine contains so many dangers. If Europe once again allowed countries to start claiming bits of their neighbours’ territory – on historic or ethnic grounds – the process could convulse the continent.
The Russians argue that it is actually the west that started this dangerous process with Nato’s intervention in the Kosovo war of 1999, and the subsequent recognition in 2008 of Kosovo as an independent state.
That process remains controversial, even within the EU. But Kosovo, unlike Crimea, was not incorporated into a neighbouring country. It was a province of the former Yugoslavia that sought independence. Within that process, the border between Serbia and Kosovo remained unaltered. The Kosovo war also took place in the context of the many years of fighting that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.
However, the Balkan wars of the 1990s are relevant to Ukraine in one sense. They revealed how much blood can flow once Europe’s borders begin to crumble.