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更新时间:2017-4-21 12:10:16 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Bold, Unpredictable Foreign Policy Lifts Trump, but Has Risks

WASHINGTON — President Trump turned in his chair at Mar-a-Lago to get a better look at China’s president, Xi Jinping — intent on detecting his first reaction to the news he had just dropped: American missiles were slamming into an airfield in northern Syria.


It took a few moments, but Mr. Xi’s eyes widened in surprise, and he asked his translator to repeat what was said, according to three people who spoke with Mr. Trump after that night two weeks ago. This was exactly the response he was hoping to elicit — surprise, uncertainty and a sense that the rational, predictable statecraft of President Barack Obama had given way to Mr. Trump’s more assertive vision of American power.


Mr. Trump’s confrontational and improvisational approach to foreign affairs has lifted his mood, fortunes and poll numbers in recent days. There are signs it has also made an impact on the Chinese, prodding them to finally use their leverage with their errant neighbor, North Korea.


But Mr. Trump’s mix of chest thumping and real action — the missile attack and the use of a huge bomb against Islamic militants in Afghanistan — entails serious risks overseas. It could also backfire at home, where a majority of Americans, and many of the populist conservatives who backed him in 2016, oppose long-term military commitments.


The biggest risk, critics say, is that Mr. Trump will talk himself into a war. Only slightly less dangerously, he could weaken the nation’s standing by backing off from a threat to use force.


“In Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, they are recalibrating their strategies — you can’t deny it — because they don’t have any idea of how Trump will respond,” said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the highest-ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee.

“在北京、莫斯科、德黑兰,那里的人正在重新调整他们的战略,这点你不能否认,因为他们完全不知道特朗普将如何响应,”弗吉尼亚州的参议员马克·华纳(Mark Warner)说,他是参议院情报委员会中级别最高的民主党人。

“That might be great in the short term,” he added, “but it’s not really a long-term strategy for asserting leadership in a world desperate for American leadership.” Mr. Warner, who criticized Mr. Obama for his failure to act more strongly in Syria, said: “China, Russia and Iran have real, long-term strategies. Why don’t we have one, too?”


Mr. Trump did not time the strike against Syria to impress Mr. Xi, according to White House officials. But he clearly recognized that disclosing the news during their dinner in Palm Beach, Fla., had a dramatic flair that would establish his toughness and unpredictability, while also pressuring Beijing to tame North Korea, its misbehaving client state.


The president’s defenders say those qualities will help restore America’s place in the world. “He’s far more in keeping with 70 years of postwar American leadership than Obama was,” said Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and staunch Trump ally.

总统的捍卫者说,这些特点将有助于恢复美国在世界上的地位。阿肯色州共和党和参议员、特朗普的忠实支持者汤姆·科顿(Tom Cotton)说:“他在维护战后70年的美国领导力上比奥巴马强多了。”

But Mr. Trump’s show of strength in the Middle East was undercut in his response to North Korea by one of his administration’s all-too-common errors. After Mr. Trump warned that “we’re sending an armada” to the waters off the Korean Peninsula, the Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier that leads the strike group, was photographed sailing through Indonesia, thousands of miles away.

但是,由于特朗普政府中一个再常见不过的错误导致其对朝鲜作出的反应,特朗普在中东展示的实力被削弱了。在特朗普警告说“我们正在(向朝鲜半岛水域)派遣大型舰队”之后,有人拍摄到“卡尔文森号”(Carl Vinson)航空母舰带领的打击编队在数千英里远的印度尼西亚出现的照片。

“Your words have to match your actions,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat and former Army Ranger who is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. “If it’s just bluffing, well, that’s dangerous. If it’s because the president was not informed and a mistake because he had bad information, that’s problematic, too.”

“你必须要言行一致,”罗德岛州民主党参议员杰克·里德(Jack Reed)说,他曾在陆军游骑兵团服役,现在是参议院军事委员会的高级别成员。“如果那只是虚张声势,其实是很危险的。如果那是因为总统没有被告知,因为信息不畅犯了一个错误,那也是有问题的。”

In South Korea, feelings were raw, with newspaper headlines branding the episode “Trump’s lie over the Carl Vinson” and politicians warning that they might never again be able to trust the president’s word.


Mr. Trump has pivoted to foreign affairs after a succession of humbling domestic policy defeats — discovering, as his predecessors did, that presidents can operate with more latitude in matters of war and peace than on tax policy or health care legislation.


In a series of taunts, Twitter messages and hawkish pronouncements by surrogates like Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Trump has overturned Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” But his bombastic statements have often been paired with policy reversals, on matters like NATO, which he once wanted to mothball and now supports, or Russia, which he once saw as a potential ally and now views with suspicion.

特朗普通过一系列的奚落、推文,以及通过副总统迈克·彭斯(Mike Pence)等代言人发表的强硬声明,推翻了西奥多·罗斯福(Theodore Roosevelt)的“说话温合而手持大棒”的格言。但是,他大放厥词的声明却常常与政策逆转相结合,比如他曾一度表示北约(NATO)过时了,现在却表示支持北约,他也曾一度把俄罗斯看作是一个潜在的盟友,现在却对其持怀疑态度。

Though Mr. Trump’s words can be harsh and intemperate, his actions have proved less so. As a result, diplomats say, leaders are not yet able to draw firm conclusions about his foreign policy.


“There is the impression that President Trump is moving away from his campaign statements and pivoting back to the Republican mainstream on major foreign and security issues,” said Peter Wittig, the German ambassador to the United States. “But people in Europe aren’t connecting the dots and saying, ‘This is the new Trump doctrine.’”

“给人的印象是,特朗普总统正在偏离他的竞选声明,在重大外交和安全问题上转向共和党主流,”德国驻美国大使彼得·维蒂克(Peter Wittig)说。“但是,欧洲人还没把这些信息联系起来,说‘这是新的特朗普主义’”。

Foreign-policy theorists sometimes compare Mr. Trump’s erratic approach to that of President Richard M. Nixon, who pursued what he called the “madman theory” of statecraft. By behaving vaguely unhinged, his finger poised unsteadily on the nuclear button — Nixon hoped to force North Vietnam into negotiations to end the Vietnam War.


“It was aimed at both our allies and adversaries, and it appears to have worked, to some degree,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former under secretary of defense for policy during George W. Bush’s administration who now teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

“那是同时做给我们的盟友和对手看的,而且看来在某种程度上起了作用,”曾在乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)政府的国防部担任负责政策的副部长的埃里克·S·埃德尔曼(Eric S. Edelman)说,他现在约翰·霍普金斯大学教书。

But Mr. Edelman drew some critical distinctions between the two presidents. Nixon’s “madman” act generally masked a calculated strategy, which is not yet evident in Mr. Trump’s approach. Nixon’s national-security team was better coordinated than Mr. Trump’s, at least so far. And even in Nixon’s case, the madman strategy worked better later in his presidency, when he and his aides were more seasoned.


Mr. Trump won praise for his missile strike on Syria, even from those who have criticized his approach to other crises. Though the president moved swiftly — and by all accounts, emotionally — after a deadly chemical weapons attack by Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, the attack was measured, well planned and followed by an aggressive White House effort to establish Russia’s complicity with the Assad government.


“That missile strike certainly had to get Putin’s attention, and it did show we were determined to enforce international norms on chemical weapons,” said Antony J. Blinken, who was deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. “Equally important was the effort to tie Russia to the use of chemical weapons.”

 “导弹打击当然必定要引起普京的注意,它表明我们有决心执行国际上有关化学武器的规定,”曾在奥巴马政府担任副国务卿和国家安全顾问副助理的安东尼·J·布林肯(Antony J. Blinken)说。“同样重要的是为将俄罗斯与使用化学武器联合起来所作的努力。”

Mr. Blinken has more reservations about how Mr. Trump has approached North Korea. While in the White House, Mr. Blinken helped coordinate a two-pronged pressure campaign against the North Korean government. The first part involved leaning on China to use its vast leverage over Pyongyang. The second involved persuading other countries that do business with North Korea to refuse entry to its guest workers; expel its diplomats, who are engaged in illicit activities; and deny landing rights to its state airline.


Mr. Trump has opted for a noisier, more direct approach, threatening North Korea with military action if it does not curb its provocations. But behind the hard-line rhetoric, the president is actually pursuing a strategy not unlike that of his predecessor: tightening the economic vise on Pyongyang in the hopes of forcing it to make concessions.


The trouble with Mr. Trump’s approach, Mr. Blinken said, is the gap between his words and his actions. “You risk others miscalculating on the basis of bravado,” he said. “We always thought it was better to talk softly but clearly, and to carry a big stick.”