纽约时报双语:美国军事霸权的失败

美国军事霸权的失败
History Is Clear. America’s Military Is Way Too Big.
JEREMI SURI
2021年9月1日
纽约时报双语:美国军事霸权的失败
2010年,美国士兵在前往阿富汗的途中。 DAMON WINTER/THE NEW YORK TIMES

For much of its history, the United States was a big country with a small peacetime military. World War II changed that permanently: American leaders decided that a country with new global obligations needed a very large peacetime military, including a nuclear arsenal and a worldwide network of bases. They hoped overwhelming military capacity would avert another world war, deter adversaries and encourage foreign countries to follow our wishes.

在建国后的大部分时间里,美国作为一个大国,只有一支规模不大的和平时期军队。第二次世界大战永久地改变了这点:美国领导人做出决定,一个承担着新的全球义务的国家需要一支庞大的和平时期军队,包括拥有核武器和遍布全球的基地网络。他们希望压倒性的军事能力能避免下一场世界大战、威慑对手,并鼓励外国遵循我们的意愿。

Yet this military dominance has hardly yielded the promised benefits. The collapse of the American-supported government in Afghanistan, after 20 years of effort and billions of dollars, is just the latest setback in a long narrative of failure.

然而,这种军事主导地位几乎没有带来所承诺的优势。美国用20年的努力和数十亿美元的投入支持的阿富汗政府的垮台,只是一长串失败故事中的最新挫折。

The war in Afghanistan is much more than a failed intervention. It is stark evidence of how counterproductive global military dominance is to American interests. This military hegemony has brought more defeats than victories and undermined democratic values at home and abroad.

阿富汗战争远不止是一次失败的干预,它也是全球军事主导地位对美国利益产生反作用的严酷证据。这种军事霸权带来的失败多于胜利,而且削弱了国内外的民主价值观。

History is clear: We would be better off with more modest, restrained military and strategic goals. U.S. public opinion seems to have moved in this direction, too. Our country needs to re-examine the value of military dominance.

历史表明:如果有更温和、更克制的军事和战略目标,我们的境况会更好。美国民意似乎也在朝这个方向转变。我们的国家需要重新审视军事主导地位的价值。

The reliance on military force has repeatedly entangled the United States in distant, costly, long conflicts with self-defeating consequences — in Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. American leaders have consistently assumed that military superiority will compensate for diplomatic and political limitations. Time and again, despite battlefield successes, our military has come up short in achieving stated goals.

对军事力量的依赖一再使美国卷入遥远、代价高昂、结果适得其反的长期冲突——在越南、黎巴嫩、伊拉克、阿富汗和其他地方。美国领导人始终如一地认为,军事优势可弥补外交和政治的局限性。我们的军队尽管在战场上取得了胜利,但一次又一次地在实现既定目标上失败。

In the Korean War, the overestimation of American military power convinced President Harry Truman to authorize the Army to cross into North Korea and approach the border of China. He hoped American soldiers could reunite the divided Korean Peninsula, but instead the incursion set off a wider war with China and a stalemated conflict. Now, after seven decades of American military deployments on the peninsula, the Communist regime in North Korea is as strong as ever, with a growing nuclear arsenal.

在朝鲜战争中,对美国军事力量的高估说服了哈里·杜鲁门(Harry Truman)总统授权军队越过三八线向中国边境靠近。他希望美国士兵能把分裂的朝鲜半岛重新统一起来,但突然入侵反而引发了与中国的更广泛战争,以及一场陷入僵局的冲突。如今,美国在朝鲜半岛部署驻军已经70年了,朝鲜的共产主义政权一如既往地强大,还有了一个不断增长的核武库。

In Vietnam, the “best and brightest” experts around President Lyndon Johnson advised him that America’s overwhelming power would crush the insurgency and bolster anti-Communist defenses. The opposite was true. American military escalation increased the popularity of the insurgency while also creating greater South Vietnamese dependence on the United States. Following an offensive by North Vietnam in 1975, American-trained allies collapsed, much as they did in Afghanistan this summer.

在越南,林登·约翰逊(Lyndon Johnson)总统身边“最优秀、最聪明”的专家们向他建议,美国的压倒性力量会粉碎武装起义,加强反共防御。事实正相反。美国的军事升级让武装起义更得民心,同时也使南越更加依赖美国。1975年北越发动进攻后,美国训练的南越盟友崩溃了,就像今年夏天在阿富汗一样。

The fault lies not with the soldiers, but with the mission. Military forces are not a substitute for the hard work of building representative and effective institutions of governance. Stable societies need to have a foundation of peaceful forms of trade, education and citizen participation.

错不在士兵,而在于使命。军事力量不能代替建立有代表性的有效治理机构的艰苦工作。稳定的社会需要有一个和平形式的贸易、教育和公民参与的基础。

If anything, the record shows that a large military presence distorts political development, directing it toward combat and policing, not social development. American military occupations have worked best where the governing institutions preceded the arrival of foreign soldiers, as in Germany and Japan after World War II.

如果说有什么不同的话,那就是记录显示,大规模的军事存在扭曲了政治发展,将其导向了战斗和治安,而不是社会发展。在外国士兵到来之前已经存在治理机构的地方(比如“二战”后的德国和日本),美国的军事占领才发挥了最好的作用。

American leaders have depended on our armed forces so much because they are so vast and easy to deploy. This is the peril of creating such a large force: The annual budget for the U.S. military has grown to more than a gargantuan $700 billion, and we are more likely to use it, and less likely to build better substitutes.

美国领导人非常依赖我们的武装力量,因为这支力量规模庞大,易于部署。这是建立一支如此庞大军队的危险所在:美国军队的年度预算已增长到7000亿美元以上的庞大规模,我们更有可能去使用军队,而不太可能建造更好的替代品。

This means that when nonmilitary overseas jobs like training local government administrators are required, the U.S. military steps in. Other agencies do not have the same capacity. We send soldiers where we need civilians because the soldiers get the resources. And that problem grows worse as the military uses its heft to lobby for yet more money from Congress.

这意味着,有需要培训地方政府行政人员等非军事性的海外工作时,美国军队会介入。其他机构不具备同样的能力。我们把士兵派到需要平民的地方,是因为士兵得到了资源。随着军方利用自己的影响力向国会争取更多的资金,这个问题变得越来越糟。

At home, the growth of the armed forces means that American society has become more militarized. Police departments are now equipped with battlefield gear and military equipment, some of it surplus from the Army. Former soldiers have joined the violent extremist groups that have multiplied over the last decade. Less than 10 percent of Americans have served in the military, but 12 percent of those charged in the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 had military experience.

在国内,武装力量的增长意味着,美国社会已变得更加军事化。警察部门现在配备的是战场用具和军事装备,其中一些是军队的剩余装备。退伍军人加入了暴力极端主义组织,这些组织在过去10年里成倍增加。不到10%的美国人曾在军队服役,但因涉嫌1月6日攻击国会大厦而受指控的人中有12%有军事经验。

Of course, the U.S. military is one of the most professional and patriotic parts of our society. Our uniformed leaders have consistently defended the rule of law, including against a president trying to undermine an election. The trouble stems from how bloated their organizations have become, and how often they are misused.

当然,美国军队是我们社会中最专业、最爱国的部分。我们穿制服的领导人们始终如一地捍卫法治,包括反对一名试图破坏选举的总统。问题的根源在于,他们所在的机构已变得多么臃肿,他们多么频繁地被滥用。

We must be honest about what the military cannot do. We should allocate our resources to other organizations and agencies that will actually make our country more resilient, prosperous and secure. We will benefit by returning to our history as a big country with a small peacetime military.

我们必须正视军队做不到的事情。我们应该把资源分配给其他能使国家变得更有韧性、更繁荣、更安全的组织和机构。回归拥有一支小的和平时期军队的大国的历史,将使我们受益。

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