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时间:2018/3/17 14:13:00  作者:  来源:  浏览:0  评论:0
内容摘要:What would America fight for?美国将为什么而战?A nagging doubt is eating away at the world order—and the superpower is largely ignoring it一种令人不安的疑虑在吞...
What would America fight for?

A nagging doubt is eating away at the world order—and the superpower is largely ignoring it一种令人不安的疑虑在吞噬者国际次序,而超级大国很大程度上还在忽视它




“WHY is it that everybody isso eager to use military force?” America’scerebral president betrayed a rare flash of frustration on April 28th whendealing with a question in Asia about hiscountry’s “weakness”. “为什么每个人都急于使用武力呢?”428日美国总统在亚洲回答一个关于美国软弱的问题时,机智的反驳了这很少出现的挫折 Barack Obama said hisadministration was making steady, if unspectacular, progress. By blunderinginto wars, his critics would only harm America.奥巴马说他的政府正在维护稳定和进步,即使措施是普通的。贸然的卷入战争,这种言论只会害了美国。

Mr Obama was channelling the mood of his people,worn out by the blood and treasure squandered in Iraqand Afghanistan.A survey last autumn by the Pew Research Centre suggests that 52% want theUnited States to “mind its own business internationally”, the highest figure infive decades of polling.
被浪费在伊拉克和阿富汗的流血和压力弄得筋疲力尽的奥巴马先生正在将这种情绪传递给他的民众。去年秋天一份由皮尤研究中心给出的调查表明52%的民众希望美国专心于自己的国际贸易,这是过去五十年里投票的最高值。 But when America’s president speaks of duecaution, the world hears reluctance—especially when it comes to the most basicissue for any superpower, its willingness to fight.
For America’s most exposed allies thatis now in doubt (see article). For decades, America’ssecurity guarantee used to underpin Japan’sforeign policy; now, on his Asian tour, Mr Obama has had to reassure Japan that it can count on America if Chinaseizes the disputed Senkaku islands (which China calls the Diaoyus). After histepid backing for intervention in Libyaand Mali and his Syrianclimbdown, Israel, Saudi Arabia and a string of Gulf emirateswonder whether America willpolice the Middle East. As Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, disrupts Ukraine, eastern Europeans fretthat they are next.
Each situation is different, but in theecho-chamber of global politics they reinforce each other. The Asians note thatin 1994, in exchange for surrendering nuclear weapons, Ukraine received a guarantee from Russia, Americaand Britainthat its borders were safe. The Baltic countries remember the red lines crossedin Syria.Arab princes and Chinese ambassadors count the Republican senators embracingisolationism. Together, these retreats plant a nagging suspicion among friendsand foes that on the big day Americasimply might not turn up.

A poisonous root
Admittedly, deterrence always has some elementof doubt. Between the certainty that any president will defend America’s own territory and the strong beliefthat America would not fightRussia over Ukrainelies an infinite combination of possibilities. A lot depends on how eachincident unfolds. But doubt has spread quickly in that middle ground—and itrisks making the world a more dangerous, nastier place.
Already, regional powers are keener to dominatetheir neighbours. China ispressing its territorial claims more aggressively, Russia interfering more brazenly.In 2013 Asia outspent Europe on arms for thefirst time—a sign that countries calculate they will have to stand up forthemselves. If Mr Obama cannot forge a deal with Iran,the nightmare of nuclear proliferation awaits the Middle East. Crucially, doubt feeds on itself. If next door is arming andthe superpower may not send gunboats, then you had better arm, too. For everyleader deploring Mr Putin’s tactics, another is studying how to copy them.
现在,地区大国正在更热衷于支配他们的邻国。中国正在更具侵略性的表达他的领土主张,俄罗斯的干涉更加是无忌惮。2013年,亚洲国家的军事开支第一次超过了欧洲,这个一个信号表明很多国家开始考虑他们必须为了自己站立起来。如果Obama不能同伊朗达成协议,核扩散的阴霾正等待着中东。 更致命的是,怀疑正在自我加强。如果你的隔壁正在武装,而超级大国并没有给与任何制止,那们你也最好武装。对于每一个谴责普京的领导者,都在学习着如何模仿他。

Such mind games in the badlands of eastern Ukraine and the South China Sea may feel faraway from Toledo or Turin. But the West will also end up payingdearly for the fraying of the global order. International norms, such asfreedom of navigation, will be weakened. Majorities will feel freer to abuseminorities, who in turn may flee. Global public goods, such as free trade andlower cross-border pollution, will be harder to sustain. Global institutionswill be less pliable. Americans understandably chafe at the ingratitude of aworld that freeloads on the economic, diplomatic and military might of the United States.But Americans themselves also enjoy the exorbitant privilege of operating in asystem that, broadly, suits them.

A hegemon’s headaches

The critics who pin all the blame on Mr Obamaare wrong. It was not he who sent troops into the credibility-sapping streetsof Baghdad.More important, Americacould never sustain the extraordinary heights of global dominance it attainedwith the collapse of the Soviet Union. As China grew intoa giant, it was bound to want a greater say. And the president has often madethe right call: nobody thinks he should have sent troops to Crimea,despite the breaking of the 1994 agreement.
Yet Mr Obama has still made a difficultsituation worse in two ways. First, he has broken the cardinal rule ofsuperpower deterrence: you must keep your word. In Syria he drew “a red line”: he wouldpunish Bashar Assad if he used chemical weapons. The Syrian dictator did, andMr Obama did nothing. In response to Russia’s aggression, he threatenedfierce sanctions, only to unveil underwhelming ones. He had his reasons: Britain let him down on Syria, Europeneeds Russian gas, Congress is nervous. But the cumulative message is weakness.
Second, Mr Obama has been an inattentive friend.He has put his faith in diplomatic coalitions of willing, like-mindeddemocracies to police the international system. That makes sense, but he hasfailed to build the coalitions. And using diplomacy to deal with the awkwardsquad, such as Iran and Russia, leads to concessions that worry America’sallies. Credibility is about reassurance as well as the use of force.

Credibility is also easily lost and hard torebuild. On the plus side, the weakened West, as we dubbed it after the Syriandebacle, is still stronger than it thinks. America towers above all others inmilitary spending and experience (see article). Unlike China and Russia, it has an unrivalled—andgrowing—network of alliances. In the past few years Malaysia,Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippineshave all moved towards it, seeking protection from China. And events can swayperceptions. Back in 1991 George Bush senior’s pounding of Saddam Husseinvanquished talk of America’s“Vietnamsyndrome”.

But there will be no vanquishing as long as theWest is so careless of what it is losing. Europeans think they can enjoyAmerican security without paying for it. Emerging-world democracies like India and Brazil do even less to buttress thesystem that they depend on. Americais preoccupied with avoiding foreign entanglements. Mr Obama began hispresidency with the world wondering how to tame America. Both he and his countryneed to realise that the question has changed.





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