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Syria strikes: What Assad can learn from ‘The Godfather’

来源:FT中文网    2017-04-14 06:24

        I thought of Michael Corleone when I listened to Donald Trump pledging to act to stop Syria’s “beautiful babies” from being gassed. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” he must have been thinking last week, much like the quote from The Godfather Part III. Sure enough, even as pundits enumerated the many times Trump had previously railed against intervening in Syria, and reminded him of his “America first” doctrine, US missiles were raining on a Syrian air base.        当我听到唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)承诺采取行动阻止叙利亚“漂亮的孩子们”被毒气毒死时,我想到了迈克尔•科莱奥内(Michael Corleone)。“我刚刚金盆洗手,他们就逼我重出江湖,”他上周一定这么想过,就像《教父3》(The Godfather Part III)中的这句台词一样。可以肯定的是,就在专家们列举特朗普此前多次谴责干预叙利亚局势的例子、并提醒他“美国优先”(America First)原则时,美国导弹正如雨点般落在叙利亚的一个空军基地。
        President Trump restored the red line on the use of chemical weapons that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had ignored, sending his cheerleaders into frenzied criticism and his detractors into bemused approval. In several corners of the Middle East, his missile strike was met, above all, with relief. The US, many reckoned, was back in the game.        特朗普总统恢复了针对使用化学武器的红线——这是其前任巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)曾忽视的——这使他的支持者疯狂地批评他,而令他的批评者困惑地赞同他。在中东多个角落,他下令的导弹袭击都让人松了口气。很多人认为,美国又重新加入了游戏。
        It is apparently the inevitable fate of US presidents to be dragged into the swamp of Middle Eastern conflicts, no matter how resistant they start out. Some are lured by dreams of peacemaking greatness; others are forced into rescuing allies and reminding enemies of American leadership.        很明显,被拖入中东冲突泥潭是美国总统在所难免的命运,无论他们最初有多么抵抗。一些人是被实现和平壮举的梦想所吸引;其他人则是被迫营救盟友或提醒敌人美国的领导地位。
        Bill Clinton believed he would achieve the impossible feat of ending the Arab-Israeli conflict; he came close but in the end failed. George Bush waged war to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and secure the free flow of oil; he left the job unfinished. His son, George W, went back to Iraq to oust Saddam; he left the dictator’s liberated successors a broken country.        比尔•克林顿(Bill Clinton)认为他可以完成终结阿拉伯-以色列冲突的不可能壮举;他差点就实现了,但最后功亏一篑。老布什(George Bush)为了把萨达姆•侯赛因(Saddam Hussein)赶出科威特并确保石油自由流动而发动了战争;他未能实现目标就离任了。他的儿子小布什(George W Bush)为了推翻萨达姆而重返伊拉克;给这位独裁者的获得解放的继任者留下了一个支离破碎的国家。
        Even those who religiously oppose intervention and dissociate regional conflicts from US national security, interests are eventually embroiled. Obama was the most reluctant interventionist in recent history. He was determined to avoid his own Middle Eastern war and quick to give up on peacemaking when he hit the first hurdles. His answer to his predecessors’ adventures was to strike from afar. In his first year, his administration ordered more drone strikes than during the previous eight-year presidency of George W Bush. Yet he soon discovered that the efficiency of drones had its limits and the cost of inaction could be higher than action. Before the end of his second term, Isis had swept through northern Iraq, erased the border with Syria and declared a caliphate. Obama was soon leading a coalition to crush it.        即使是那些真心反对干预、认为地区冲突与美国国家安全利益无关的人,最终也被卷了进来。奥巴马是美国近期历史中最不愿干涉的领导人。他下定决心避免中东战争,但当他遇到第一个障碍时,他迅速放弃了达成和平的目标。他对前任们冒险行为的回答是从远处袭击。在他上任第一年,其政府下令的无人机袭击的次数超过了之前小布什8年总统任期的总数。不过他很快发现无人机存在局限性,不作为的代价可能超过作为。在他第二任期结束前,“伊拉克与黎凡特伊斯兰国”(ISIS)已经横扫伊拉克北部,抹掉了伊拉克和叙利亚之间的边境线,宣布建立了哈里发国。奥巴马很快领导联盟以摧毁它。
        Unlike the fictional mafia boss driven back to his old tricks, Trump’s sudden foray into Syria was the right move. Whether his motives were emotional or tactical is less important than the necessity to warn Syria and others against the use of weapons of mass destruction. But the missile strike will not be enough. About 1,500 Syrians have died from chemical attacks, many more have been killed by barrel bombs. It won’t be long before more beautiful babies suffer and pressure mounts on Trump to throw himself deeper into the Middle Eastern morass.        与电影中被迫回到老本行的黑手党老大不同,特朗普突然插手叙利亚局势是明智之举。无论他此举是出于情绪化的冲动还是战术考量,这个问题都不如警告叙利亚和其他国家不得使用大规模杀伤性武器的必要性重要。但发动导弹袭击还不够。约有1500名叙利亚人死于化学武器袭击,而更多人是死于油桶炸弹。用不了多久就会有更多漂亮的孩子承受痛苦,特朗普将承受更大压力去更深地踏入中东泥潭。
        • The Godfather saga came to mind as I heard analysts ponder the question of why the regime of Bashar al-Assad would risk international fury with a chemical attack.        当我听到分析人士思考巴沙尔•阿萨德(Bashar al-Assad)政权为什么会冒着引起众怒的风险进行化学武器袭击时,《教父》浮现在我的脑海中。
        The Syrian strongman has been on a winning streak, restoring regime control over all of the country’s urban centres. Only days before the Idlib atrocity, the Trump administration had signalled that it would no longer work for Assad’s overthrow, handing him another victory.        这位叙利亚强人接连取得胜利,重新获得了对叙利亚所有城市中心的政权控制。在伊德利卜(Idlib)暴行发生前几天,特朗普政府曾发出信号称不再为推翻阿萨德政权而行动,这给了他又一个胜利。
        But this regime operates likes a mob family and thinks like a mafia. A hit is sometimes about delivering a message rather than achieving an immediate gain. Government forces had no military need to poison people. But having bottled up most rebel groups in Idlib, the regime apparently wanted them — and the population around them — to know that no pocket of resistance will be tolerated anywhere in Syria. The message was: there is no way out and no one to call upon for rescue. Given that the world has watched for years while civilians are killed and the clamour for Assad’s removal has subsided, the risks of the attack must have appeared contained.        但该政权就像一个暴徒家族一样运作,像黑手党一样思考。有时袭击是为了传递消息,而不是获得直接的好处。在军事上,政府军没有毒害百姓的必要。但通过对伊德利卜多数叛军组织实施封锁,阿萨德政权明显希望他们——以及他们周围的民众——明白政府不允许叙利亚任何地方出现任何抵抗。这个消息是:你们无处可逃,没人能叫来援救。这个世界多年来一直旁观平民被杀,且推翻阿萨德的呼声已经减弱,因此发动毒气袭击的风险看上去一定是可控的。
        The regime clearly miscalculated. The extent of the blunder will depend on where Trump’s Syria policy settles, and how he reacts when more beautiful babies are massacred.        阿萨德政权明显失算了。此次错误的严重程度将取决于特朗普叙利亚政策的落脚点在哪、以及当更多漂亮宝贝被残忍杀害时他会如何行动。

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