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美利坚帝国的衰落
Fall of the American Empire

[2018年6月25日] 来源:纽约时报 作者:保罗·克鲁格曼   字号 [] [] []  

The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.

美国政府正在执行一项政策,生生把孩子从父母怀里抢下来,关进围栏里(官员们坚称那不是笼子,绝不是)。美国总统要求执法机构停止调查他的关系人,转而去追查他的政敌。他一边赞扬杀人的独裁者,一边侮辱民主盟友。而一场全球贸易战似乎越来越有可能。

What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House, surely the worst human being ever to hold his position. But there’s also a larger context, and it’s not just about Donald Trump. What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.

这些故事有什么共同之处?显然,他们都和白宫那位人物的性格有关,此人肯定是这个位置上有史以来最糟糕的人选。但它们还有一个更大的背景,并不止于唐纳德·特朗普。我们正在见证对美国长期价值观的系统性排斥——正是这些价值观令美国拥有伟大荣光。

America has long been a powerful nation. In particular, we emerged from World War II with a level of both economic and military dominance not seen since the heyday of ancient Rome. But our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals: America stood for something larger than itself — for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles.

美国一直是一个强大的国家。特别是我们在第二次世界大战后的崛起,当时我们的经济和军事优势达到了自古罗马鼎盛时期以来所未见的地步。但是,我们在世界上的角色永远不仅仅关乎金钱和枪炮。它也和理想有关:美国曾经坚持某些比自己更重要的东西——作为普世原则的自由、人权和法治。

Of course, we often fell short of those ideals. But the ideals were real, and mattered. Many nations have pursued racist policies; but when the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his 1944 book about our “Negro problem,” he called it “An American Dilemma,” because he viewed us as a nation whose civilization had a “flavor of enlightenment” and whose citizens were aware at some level that our treatment of blacks was at odds with our principles.

当然,我们经常达不到这样的理想。但这些理想是真实的,并且非常重要。许多国家实行种族主义政策;但瑞典经济学家贡纳尔·默达尔(Gunnar Myrdal)把他1944年那本关于美国“黑人问题”的书命名为《美国的困境》(An American Dilemma),因为他认为我们国家的文明具有“启蒙气息”,我们的公民在某种程度上明白,我们对待黑人的态度与我们的原则不符。

And his belief that there was a core of decency — maybe even goodness — to America was eventually vindicated by the rise and success, incomplete as it was, of the civil rights movement.

他相信,美国的核心是正直,甚至是善良,这个信念最终被民权运动的崛起和成功(虽然在当时还不够彻底)所证实。

But what does American goodness — all too often honored in the breach, but still real — have to do with American power, let alone world trade? The answer is that for 70 years, American goodness and American greatness went hand in hand. Our ideals, and the fact that other countries knew we held those ideals, made us a different kind of great power, one that inspired trust.

美国人经常违背自己的善良,然而它仍是真实的——但是它和美国的力量有什么关系,何况还有世界贸易?答案是,70年来,美国的善良和美国的伟大是齐头并进的。我们的理想,以及其他国家知道我们坚持这些理想的事实,令我们成为另一种强大的力量,一种可以激发人们信任的力量。

Think about it. By the end of World War II, we and our British allies had in effect conquered a large part of the world. We could have become permanent occupiers, and/or installed subservient puppet governments, the way the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe. And yes, we did do that in some developing countries; our history with, say, Iran is not at all pretty.

想想看。到第二次世界大战结束时,我们和我们的英国盟友实际上征服了世界的很大一部分。我们本可以成为永久性的占领者,并且(抑或)像苏联在东欧所做的那样,扶持恭顺的傀儡政府。是的,我们在一些发展中国家这样做了。在某些国家,比如说伊朗,我们的历史并不总是那么好看。

But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values.

但我们做得最多的却是帮助被击败的敌人重新站起来,建立民主制度,分享我们的核心价值观,并且成为保护这些价值观的盟友。

The Pax Americana was a sort of empire; certainly America was for a long time very much first among equals. But it was by historical standards a remarkably benign empire, held together by soft power and respect rather than force. (There are actually some parallels with the ancient Pax Romana, but that’s another story.)

美利坚治世是一种帝国;在很长一段时间里,美国在同等国家中肯定居于首位。但是,按照历史标准来看,这是一个非常仁慈的帝国,它的凝聚力来自软实力和尊重,而不是力量。(这其实与古代的罗马治世有些相似之处,但那是另一个故事了。)

And while you might be tempted to view international trade deals, which Trump says have turned us into a “piggy bank that everyone else is robbing,” as a completely separate story, they are anything but. Trade agreements were meant to (and did) make America richer, but they were also, from the beginning, about more than dollars and cents.

你可能会觉得,有必要把国际贸易协议当作另一个完全独立的故事来看,特朗普说这些协议已经把我们变成一个“被他人抢劫的存钱罐”,然而根本不是这样。贸易协定的目的是令美国变得更加富有(而且确实如此),但是从一开始,它们就不仅仅是为了金钱。

In fact, the modern world trading system was largely the brainchild not of economists or business interests, but of Cordell Hull, F.D.R.’s long-serving secretary of state, who believed that “prosperous trade among nations” was an essential element in building an “enduring peace.” So you want to think of the postwar creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as part of the same strategy that more or less simultaneously gave rise to the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO.

事实上,建立现代世界贸易体系主要是富兰克林·D·罗斯福的长期国务卿科德尔·赫尔(Cordell Hull)的想法,而不是出自经济学家的构思或是从商业利益出发。赫尔认为,“国家之间兴旺发达的贸易”是建立“持久和平”的基本要素。因此,战后《关税和贸易总协定》(General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)的创建与马歇尔计划(Marshall Plan)和北约(NATO)的创建,几乎发生在同一时期,你应当把它们视为同一战略的组成部分。

So all the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.

所以现在发生的一切都是一回事。边境的暴行、攻击国内法治、侮辱民主领袖、赞扬恶棍、破坏贸易协定,这一切都是要结束美国例外主义,让我们抛弃那些令我们与其他强大国家不同的理想。

And rejecting our ideals won’t make us stronger; it will make us weaker. We were the leader of the free world, a moral as well as financial and military force. But we’re throwing all that away.

放弃我们的理想不会使我们变得更强大;只会削弱我们。我们曾是自由世界的领导者,是道德的重要力量,也是金融与军事的重要力量。但是我们正在把所有这一切统统抛弃。

What’s more, it won’t even serve our self-interest. America isn’t nearly as dominant a power as it was 70 years ago; Trump is delusional if he thinks that other countries will back down in the face of his threats. And if we are heading for a full-blown trade war, which seems increasingly likely, both he and those who voted for him will be shocked at how it goes: Some industries will gain, but millions of workers will be displaced.

更何况,它甚至不能为我们自身的利益服务。美国已经远不是70年前那样的头号强国;如果特朗普认为其他国家面临威胁时会退缩,那他是在妄想。如果我们正在发动一场全面的贸易战(这看起来越来越有可能),那么他和那些投他票的人都会对事态的发展感到震惊:一些行业将会获益,但数百万工人会失业。

So Trump isn’t making America great again; he’s trashing the things that made us great, turning us into just another bully — one whose bullying will be far less effective than he imagines.

所以特朗普并不是在恢复美国的伟大荣光。他是在破坏那些令我们伟大的东西,把我们变成另一个霸凌者——而霸凌所收到的效果远远低于他的想象。

翻译:晋其角

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