《经济学人》:下降星座-战神火星
日期:2011-06-30 10:37

(单词翻译:单击)

Lexington
来克星敦

Mars in the descendant
下降星座——战神火星

America is tired of war. That would suit Barack Obama, if not for the one he entered in Libya

美国已经厌倦战争。这对奥巴马来说正合适,只要他们不讨厌利比亚战争就行

Jun 23rd 2011 | from the print edition

“I VENTURE to say that no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.” Edmund Burke should be alive today. None of America’s several wars is popular. According to a Pew Research poll this week, a majority of Americans (56%) now believe that their troops should come home from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Only 39% favour waiting for the situation there to stabilise, even though most still think that the original decision to go to war was right. In the case of Libya there was never any equivalent enthusiasm to intervene in the fighting between Muammar Qaddafi and the rebels. And most Americans are delighted that the present plan is to quit Iraq by the end of this year.

“我敢说任何违背人民意愿的战争都打不长。”埃德蒙·伯克曾如是说。他真应该活着看看今天的情况。美国参与的战争没有一个是受欢迎的。皮尤研究中心本周的民意测验显示,虽然大多数美国人仍然认为当初进攻阿富汗的决定是正确的,但是大部分人(56%)现在都认为美军应尽快撤出阿富汗,只有39%的民众愿意等待局势稳定。而对于利比亚,民众从一开始就没什么热情干预卡扎菲和反对派之间的战争。大部分人都很高兴听到目前计划年底撤出伊拉克。

America has reason to be war-weary. Since September 2001 it has spent some $1.3 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which some 6,000 service personnel have died. Even conservative Republicans, the group keenest on “staying the course”, have started to tell pollsters that America should pay less attention to problems overseas and more to the growing ones at home. In their New Hampshire debate several Republican presidential candidates joined the cry to bring the boys home—“as soon as we possibly can,” said Mitt Romney, the putative front-runner.

美国患上战争疲倦症不是没有道理。自从2001年9月起,美国已为伊拉克和阿富汗战争花费1.3万亿美元,牺牲约6千名士兵。即使是最热衷于“按既定道路走下去”的保守共和党人都开始告诉民意调查员,美国应少管些国外的麻烦,多关注与日俱增的国内问题。在新罕布什尔州的辩论中,几个共和党总统竞选人齐声呼吁要让男孩们回家,而且用米特·罗姆尼的话说,“越快越好”。罗姆尼是普遍认为最有希望的竞选人。

For Barack Obama, these signs of Republican softening are a godsend. Many in his own party hate the war in Afghanistan. Some were aghast when, in 2009, he ordered the deployment of 33,000 more troops in an Iraq-style “surge”. He always planned to announce the return of some of them this summer. But too fast a withdrawal would have exposed him to charges of wavering against al-Qaeda. Now the Republicans’ own wobbles, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the public’s spreading war fatigue and the transfer of the gung-ho General David Petraeus from Afghanistan to the CIA have given the president unexpected flexibility.

对于奥巴马来说,共和党态度软化的迹象乃天赐良机。很多民主党人本来就痛恨阿富汗战争。2009年奥巴马命令效仿伊拉克的增兵计划向阿富汗增兵3万3千人,当时很多民主党都无比惊愕。奥巴马一直计划今年夏天宣布撤回部分人员,但是撤兵太快的话会被指责面对基地组织不够坚定。现在因为共和党态度动摇,本拉登被击毙,公众厌战情绪蔓延,好战的大卫·彼得雷乌斯将军从阿富汗调到了中情局,总统获得不期而至的更大政策空间。

On June 22nd Mr Obama announced that all the surge troops will be out by the end of next summer. This will leave about 68,000 behind, and Mr Obama where he wants to be as the 2012 election nears: out of the “dumb” war in Iraq and carefully but visibly winding down (see Banyan) the one in Afghanistan. The tide of war is receding, says Mr Obama; now it is time for nation-building at home, “to reclaim the American dream”.

6月22日,奥巴马宣布明年夏天以前增兵人员将全部撤出阿富汗,这意味着届时将有6万8千人留在阿富汗,奥巴马也将为备战2012年大选获得更有利的地位:退出了“愚蠢的”伊拉克战争,谨慎而明显地缩小阿富汗战争规模。用奥巴马的话说:战争之潮正在退却,是时候进行国内建设,“重拾美国梦了”。

At home, however, the least costly of America’s wars, the one in Libya, is turning into a serious headache. Mr Obama’s grounds for intervening were simple enough. Only America had the means to stop Colonel Qaddafi from perpetrating a massacre in Benghazi. But this war was never popular. Many Democrats, traumatised by Iraq, say that such ventures are bound to fail, however noble the cause. Many Republicans hold that the nobility of the cause is itself the problem. With no vital American interest at stake, argues Michele Bachmann, another of the Republicans’ presidential candidates, the “Obama doctrine” has set a precedent for American intervention in “one country after another”.

但是在国内,美国战事中规模最小的利比亚战争却开始成为最令人头疼的问题。奥巴马干预利比亚的理由很简单:只有美国有能力阻止卡扎菲上校在班加西进行种族大屠杀。但是这场战争从来就不受欢迎。很多民主党人让伊拉克战争伤透了心,认为战争不论初衷多么高尚,最后注定只能失败。很多共和党人则认为这个崇高的目的才正是问题所在。共和党的另一个总统竞选人米歇尔·巴赫曼说,美国的核心利益没有受到直接威胁就参战,这一“奥巴马原则”为美国干预“一个又一个”国家开了个坏头。

Going into one country after another is in fact the last thing on the mind of this hyper-cautious president. No American drones are stopping the slaughter in Syria. Even in Libya Mr Obama was a reluctant warrior. He acted only when Benghazi was on the brink of falling, and only after securing cover and help from NATO, the UN and the Arab League. He also insisted that America’s European allies, who had goaded him into the war, should take over the chief responsibility for it in short order. If Libya was going to end in a mess, the president who inherited the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan wanted someone else to be in charge of it.

这位超级谨慎的总统可完全不想干预一个又一个国家。美国没有派无人机阻止叙利亚的大屠杀,参加利比亚战争奥巴马是心不甘情不愿,仅仅在班加西快陷落时,而且在获得了北约、联合国和阿拉伯国家联盟的掩护和支持后,他才采取行动。他还一直坚持要求推动美国加入战争的欧洲盟友不久后应接手美国承担主要职责。如果利比亚陷入混乱,那么这个继承了伊拉克和阿富汗混乱局面的总统希望其他人能继承利比亚。

It all made perfect sense, at the beginning

开始的时候,一切都很合理

The trouble is that Libya’s dictator has hung on—perhaps precisely because the superpower has chosen to stand back. And standing back has meanwhile not earned Mr Obama the political credit he hoped for. If anything, the opposite has happened.

问题在于利比亚的独裁者一直坚持到了现在,也许其原因正是美国这个超级大国决定靠边站。而靠边站也并未给奥巴马赢得所期望的政治筹码。而且,情况和他预计的恰恰相反。

The White House boasts that since early April America has had only a “non-kinetic”, “supporting” role in Libya. It has no troops on the ground and is not exchanging fire with hostile forces (unless you count the odd drone strike). That makes the war cheaper for America while allies do the dirtier work—the opposite of the dismal pattern in Afghanistan. This looked like a perfectly splendid arrangement, until one of Mr Obama’s advisers was quoted as describing it as “leading from behind”.

白宫宣称自4月初以来,美国在利比亚的行动属于“非动能战”,仅仅发挥“辅助”作用。美国没有派遣地面部队,没有和敌对势力交火(除非将偶尔的无人机袭击算上)。美国为这场战争花费的代价较小,主要的脏活都交给了盟国——和阿富汗的悲惨模式完全相反。看起来这种安排相当美妙,直到奥巴马的一个顾问被报道称美国“从背后领导”。

Such a phrase should never have been uttered in the hearing of a journalist. Since its publication in theNew Yorker, “leading from behind” has become a prime exhibit in the Republicans’ scornful excoriation of Mr Obama’s foreign policy. The president now finds himself accused of being both a warmonger for entering the war and a wimp for his lame prosecution of it.

这句话就不该当着记者的面说。自从《纽约客》刊登了这句话,“从背后领导”已成为共和党人轻蔑地抨击奥巴马对外政策时最主要的靶子。总统发现他一方面因为参与战争被指责为战争贩子,另一方面因为战争执行不力被称作窝囊废。

To make matters worse, he now denies that it is a war at all. Under the War Powers Resolution a president must ask Congress’s permission if hostilities last more than 90 days. That deadline fell on June 17th, but Mr Obama did not ask, on the eccentric ground that America’s “supporting role” no longer amounts to “hostilities”. This has outraged even the war’s supporters, especially since the disclosure that Mr Obama overruled the lawyers in the Justice and Defence Departments and turned to more pliant ones in the White House and State Department. Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, said in the New York Times that this could open the way for “even more blatant acts of presidential war-making in the decades ahead”.

更糟糕的是,他现在根本就否认这是一场战争。根据《战争权利法》,如果军事行动超过90天,总统必须获得国会批准。90天的期限6月17日就到了,但是奥巴马没有申请国会批准,理由很奇怪——美国只发挥了“辅助作用”,不能算是“军事行动”。这个借口甚至激怒了战争的支持者,特别是消息披露奥巴马否决了司法部和国防部律师的建议,采纳白宫和国务院内更听话的律师的意见。耶鲁大学法律和政治科学系教授布鲁斯·阿克曼在接受《纽约时报》采访时表示,此举将为“未来几十年中总统更肆无忌惮地发动战争”打开大门。

It is odd. A weary America has adopted Mr Obama’s wary instincts in foreign policy. He is making a good fist of extricating America from the big wars he inherited from George Bush. But the tiny one he entered so cautiously himself, in which not a single American soldier has died, has brought him disproportionate grief. Even before it disposed of bin Laden, America had lost its appetite for venturing abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

这真是很奇怪。厌战的美国接收了奥巴马在外交政策上的谨慎直觉。总统正成功地将美国从布什留下的几场大型战争中拉出来,但是他本人小心翼翼参与的小型战争却给他带来不成比例的负担,虽然这次没有一个美国士兵阵亡。甚至在处理掉本·拉登之前,美国就已经没什么胃口去海外冒险寻找怪物加以消灭了。

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重点单词
  • eccentricadj. 古怪的,反常的,不同圆心的 n. 怪人
  • dronen. 雄蜂,游手好闲者,嗡嗡声,无人驾驶飞机(或艇等),
  • disclosuren. 揭发,败露
  • permissionn. 同意,许可,允许
  • originaladj. 最初的,原始的,有独创性的,原版的 n. 原件
  • warriorn. 勇士,战士,武士
  • warmongern. 战争贩子,好战者,主战论者
  • reclaimv. 开垦,纠正,收回
  • waryadj. 小心的,机警的
  • transfern. 迁移,移动,换车 v. 转移,调转,调任