【英文精读】Fight this war, not the last one

时间:13-09-10 栏目:学习 作者:liva 评论:0 点击: 3,838 次

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原文录音:

虽然接触economist杂志时间已经有了一段时间了,但是这篇文章是看得最为细致的一篇文章,首先很惊叹写这篇文章的这位编辑用词相当精确,以至于有的时候都不知道怎么翻译,所以能看懂英文最好了,这样能够有一种原汁原味感觉,翻译过来会感觉怪怪的。

这篇文章主要讲了美国出兵叙利亚的背景,以及一些国家对于美国行为的态度,读这篇文章,我感觉到了这篇文章的一种强烈的情绪,尤其在最后一句,应该是文章的topic,国会和奥巴马政府同盟应强力支持奥巴马的行动。

原文:

Striking Syria

Fight this war, not the last one

When Congress votes on Syria, it will be defining America’s place in the world

JUST a decade ago, a short season in the ebb and flow of global influence, economics was in thrall to the Washington consensus and geopolitics was a wholly owned subsidiary of the hyperpower run out of the White House. Today, before launching an attack to punish Syria’s Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons, Barack Obama has felt bound to seek the blessing of Congress (see article). Britain has failed to stand alongside its closest ally (see article). The Middle East echoes to talk of America’s diminished leadership. And one of Mr Obama’s aides has briefed that the strike will be “just muscular enough not to get mocked”.

America has often let atrocities go unpunished before. In the 1980s it sent no missiles when Saddam Hussein gassed Kurds and Iranians; nor did it do so when Mr Assad’s father, Hafez, massacred as many as 20,000 of his own people. But that was back in the cold war, when Saddam was fighting Iran and before the ban on chemical weapons had been buttressed by a UN convention. Moreover, Mr Obama declared last summer that he would not tolerate Syrian use of chemical weapons. With more than a thousand dead in a nerve-agent attack that, it now turns out, was just the latest of many, the president rightly concluded that Syria was testing America’s capacity to impose its will.

This makes the congressional votes and the action to follow one of those episodes that will define America’s—and the West’s—place in the world. It will signal what is left after the hubris of Iraq and unfathomable complexities of Afghanistan. Amid challenges from Russia and Iran and the growing weight of China, both as an economic power and a champion of authoritarian purpose (as opposed to democratic indecision), it is also a measure of the West’s self-belief. The world is watching. Allies and foes alike will shape their behaviour around the expectations that this moment sets in train. It is vital, therefore, that America not only acts, but acts for the right reasons.

Baghdad baggage

This newspaper has argued that America and its allies should give Mr Assad one chance to renounce his deadly chemicals and, if he demurs, hit him hard. The purpose would not be to bring about regime change, but to re-establish deterrence and because Mr Obama must be seen to stand by his threats. Inaction will encourage Mr Assad to use yet more chemical weapons. Tyrants and proliferators everywhere, including Iran and North Korea, will be emboldened.

The hope is that Congress will for once put principle before partisanship and support the president. Joined by France, which all along has been admirably resolute, Mr Obama could then strike the regime in Damascus with an attack severe enough to bury any thought of mockery. That would be good. Yet the way Mr Obama is going about this operation is flawed, both in his choice of a congressional vote and in his rhetoric.

The vote in Washington has short-term merits for Mr Obama. Most Americans seem to be against striking Syria (as are most of the British and French). Here is a chance to establish the legitimacy of a strike and dip Republican hands in the blood. But at what cost? There is the possibility of losing the vote, of course—a real presidency-wrecking risk. But even with a victory in Congress, Mr Obama will have weakened the credibility of foreign policy, the very thing that he wants to safeguard. The executive needs to be agile and quick when dealing with the world. The president sometimes needs to take hard and unpopular decisions. Mr Obama insists that his choice to consult the legislature does not curtail that freedom. But this is an operation designed to bolster deterrence. Mr Obama’s request creates expectations that future enforcement will also be subject to the vagaries of congressional sound bites. That tends to weaken deterrence.

Mr Obama may retort that he is dealing with the legacy of George W. Bush. This has left Americans (and the British and French) with an abiding scepticism about the use of intelligence and the purpose of intervention. The West has paid for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan with trillions of dollars of taxes and thousands of their soldiers’ lives. Even if they dislike saying it out loud, many Americans doubt that Muslims have much disposition for Western values like democracy and tolerance. Why try to be the world’s policeman if it is not just a thankless task, but a hopeless one?

The vision thing

These sceptics are fighting the last war. Syria is not Iraq. The evidence that the regime has committed atrocities is clear beyond doubt. Even if Mr Assad defies America after a strike by unleashing yet more sarin, Mr Obama is not about to invade.

The arguments for intervening in Syria are narrower and less Utopian than they were in Iraq. First is the calculation of American interests. The international arena is inherently anarchic. Only laws and treaties that are enforced impose any order. By being the world’s policeman, America can shape the rules according to its own interests and tastes. The more America steps back, the more other powers will step in. If it is unwilling to act as enforcer, its own norms will fray. If it is even thought to be reluctant, then they will be tested. China already prods at America; Vladimir Putin’s Russia has begun to confront it—and not only over Syria. Whether Syria was a vital American interest before this attack was debatable, but not after Mr Assad’s direct challenge to Mr Obama’s authority.

Second is a reaffirmation of Western values. America’s potency comes not just from its capacity to project force, but also from the enduring appeal of the values invoked by its founders. Those are stronger than Mr Obama seems to think. With China’s economy slowing and its political corruption evident, the Beijing consensus will seem ever less enticing to citizens of the emerging world. Mr Bush tainted America’s values with inept invasion, prisoner abuse and imperial overstretch. Meeting Mr Assad’s atrocities with appropriate force will help to rebuild American moral authority in the world. If Congress must be involved, it should send that message just as loud and clear as it can—and so should Mr Obama’s allies.

 翻译:攻打叙利亚

这并不是最后一场战争

 

当国会在叙利亚问题投票时候,这将决定美国在世界范围内的地位。

十年之前国际形势变幻莫测, 经济还受制于华盛顿的共识,地缘政治学完全就是不受白宫控制的附属品。如今,在惩罚巴沙尔 阿萨德 使用化学武器时,贝拉克 奥巴马觉得有必要得到国会的祝福。而英国不能和亲密的同盟国并肩作战。而中东形势也可以提现出来美国的衰落。而就连奥巴马的一位副官也认为这次攻击是为了显示美国的强大以免被耻笑。

 

 

 

以前美国一向都是对暴行坐视不管。 在19世纪80年代时候,萨达姆 侯赛因对库尔德人实施毒气攻击时,并没有发射一颗导弹。当阿萨德的父亲 哈菲兹屠杀了20万自己的子民时也无动于衷。萨达姆对战伊朗这场战争在冷战时候发起的,那时候联合国还未禁止使用化学武器。此外,在去年夏天,奥巴马就宣称他无法容忍叙利亚使用化学武器。现在,已经有数千人死于神经性毒剂,这也仅仅是许多袭击中的一次,这也证实了奥巴马的言论是正确的。

 

 

国会的投票结果将是决定美国乃至西方在世界的地位。这将显示出美国还能做什么在伊拉克横行和阿富汗探测未果。美国不仅是经济强国,还是权威的绝对捍卫者(与民主的优柔寡断相反),中国日益增长的影响力也将是对西方自信心的考验。世界正拭目以待。无论是盟国还是敌对国都将依照美国的政策行动。因此美国不仅要行动而且要行之有理。

 

 

 

巴格达的阴影

本报认为美国以及他的同盟国应该给阿萨德一个机会宣布放弃致命化学武器,如果他反对,给他点颜色看看,这并不是为了要改变政权而是要重新建立威慑,因为奥巴马要随时应对危机,不作为只会促使阿萨德使用更多的化学武器。到处都是暴君和核武器国际,包括了伊朗和朝鲜,他们可能更加肆无忌惮。

 

 

希望国会这次能够把原则置于党会关系之上,支持总统的决定。有法国这个异常坚定的盟友加入,奥巴马可以给大马士革的政权进行一次残酷的打击,这样才能打消任何嘲笑的想法,那最好。然而,奥巴马在选择国会投票和言辞上都有缺陷。

 

华盛顿的投票短期内是对奥巴马有利的。似乎大多数美国人反对攻打叙利亚(英国和法国人也是这样)。这意味着攻打叙利亚是合法的,并且会让共和党人的双手沾满鲜血。但是代价多大呢?这可能会失去选票,当然这对于总统来说是毁灭性的打击。而且,就算是国会同意,也会削弱奥巴马在外交政策的可信度,而这又是他一直极力捍卫的。在处理国际事务时候,奥巴马政府需要灵活而快速应对。有时候,政府做出的艰难决策不被认同。奥巴马坚持他选择与国会协商,并不代表必须这么做。但是这次的行动是为了震慑叙利亚。奥巴马要求出兵叙利亚,这让人民认为以后的行动也必须经过国会的同意,这样会消弱美国的震慑力。

 

 

 

奥巴马可能会辩解他是在处理乔治 布什留下的烂摊子。这让美国还有英国和法国质疑情报部门的智力和干预的目的。西方已经为参战伊拉克和阿富汗付出了惨重的代价,包括数万亿美元以及数千条士兵的生命。虽然他们保持低调,但是许多美国人怀疑穆斯林对于西方的民主和忍耐充满向往。如果这么做既不讨好有看不到希望,为什么要尽力去维护和平呢?

 

 

愿景

那些迟怀疑态度的人们正在进行最后一场战争。叙利亚的情况与伊拉克不同。叙利亚政府犯下的错误时毫无疑问的。即使是阿萨德在采用生化武器后公然对抗美国,奥巴马也不打算攻击叙利亚。

 

现在对于参战叙利亚的讨论更加集中,更加实际相对于伊拉克来说。第一,美国利益的权衡。只有执行法律和条约才能维持秩序。作为国际警察,美国能根据自己的喜好和利益规定条约。美国让步更多,插手的国家将会更多。如果美国不愿意作为执行者,自己的规范也会失效。如果别国认为美国不情愿,那么他们就会接受考验。中国已经在敦促美国采取行动,普京已经在准备抵抗,而且,不仅仅是对抗叙利亚。在这场战争进行之前,叙利亚对于美国的利益是否至关重要还存在争议,但是在阿萨德对奥巴马的权威挑战之后就不是了。

 

 

第二,西方价值的重申。美国的力量不仅仅是来自于武力,还源于长久以来对价值的引导。这些比奥巴马香香的要强大。随着中国经济放缓以及政治腐败贪污,北京的共识对新兴国家的人民并没有吸引力。海外扩张,虐待囚犯,布什以及玷污了美国的价值观。动用合适的武力去惩罚阿萨德的暴行有助于美国重建在世界的道德权威。如果国会必须干预,那么他必须支持,美国的盟友也是如此。

 

声明: 本文由( liva )原创编译,转载请保留链接: 【英文精读】Fight this war, not the last one

【英文精读】Fight this war, not the last one:等您坐沙发呢!

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