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揭秘“核按钮”:首先,并没有什么按钮

更新时间:2018-1-4 19:04:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The ‘Nuclear Button’ Explained: For Starters, There’s No Button
揭秘“核按钮”:首先,并没有什么按钮

HONG KONG — President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, traded threats this week about the size, location and potency of their “nuclear buttons.”

香港——唐纳德·特朗普总统和朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong-un)本周在各自“核按钮”的大小、位置和威力上相互威胁。

The image of a leader with a finger on a button — a trigger capable of launching a world-ending strike — has for decades symbolized the speed with which a nuclear weapon could be launched, and the unchecked power of the person doing the pushing.

数十年来,一名领导人把手指放在一个按钮——一个能够发动一场毁灭世界的袭击的装置——上的形象,一直象征着核武器的发射速度和按按钮的这个人不受约束的权力。

There is only one problem: There is no button.

唯一的问题在于,根本没有按钮。

William Safire, the former New York Times columnist and presidential speechwriter, tracked the origin of the phrase “finger on the button” to panic buttons found in World War II-era bombers. A pilot could ring a bell to signal that other crew members should jump from the plane because it had been damaged extensively. But the buttons were often triggered prematurely or unnecessarily by jittery pilots.

前《纽约时报》专栏作家、总统演讲稿撰稿人威廉·萨菲尔(William Safire)追踪发现,“手指放在按钮上”这个说法起源于“二战”时期的轰炸机上的紧急按钮。飞行员可以按下这个按钮,示意其他机组人员跳下飞机,因为飞机受损严重。但紧张的飞行员常常过早或在非必要情况下按下按钮。

The expression is commonly used to mean “ready to launch an atomic war,” but the writer added in “Safire’s Political Dictionary” that it is also a “scare phrase used in attacking candidates” during presidential elections.

这个表达通常被用来表示“做好了发动一场核战争的准备”,但萨菲尔在《萨菲尔的政治词典》(Safire’s Political Dictionary)中补充说,在总统选举期间,这也是一个“用来攻击候选人的恐吓用语”。

President Lyndon B. Johnson told Barry M. Goldwater, his Republican opponent in 1964, that a leader must “do anything that is honorable to avoid pulling that trigger, mashing that button that will blow up the world.”

林登·B·约翰逊(Lyndon B. Johnson)总统在1964年对他的共和党对手巴里·M·戈德华特(Barry M. Goldwater)说,一个领导人必须“采取一切得体的举措,避免扣动扳机,按下那个会炸掉全世界的按钮”。

Richard M. Nixon told advisers during the Vietnam War that he wanted the North Vietnamese to believe he was an unpredictable “madman” who could not be restrained “when he’s angry, and he has his hand on the nuclear button.”

理查德·M·尼克松(Richard M. Nixon)在越南战争期间对顾问表示,他想让北越的人认为他是一个不可预测的“疯子”,“当他生气并把手放在核按钮上时”,没人能阻止他。

During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton said of her opponent, “Trump shouldn’t have his finger on the button, or his hands on our economy.”

在2016年大选期间,希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)谈到对手时说,“特朗普不该把手指放在那个按钮上,也不该把手放在我们的经济上。”

Each nuclear-capable country has its own system for launching a strike, but most rely on the head of government first confirming his or her identity and then authorizing an attack.

每个拥有核能力的国家都有自己的袭击发动制度,但大部分依赖政府首脑先确认自己的身份,然后授权发动袭击。

Despite Mr. Trump’s tweet that he has a “much bigger & more powerful” button that Mr. Kim, the fact is, there is no button.

尽管特朗普发推文说,他的按钮比金正恩的“更大且更有威力”,但事实上,根本没有这样一个按钮。

There is, however, a football. Except the football is actually a briefcase.

但有一个足球。不过这个足球其实是一个公文包。

The 45-pound briefcase, known as the nuclear football, accompanies the president wherever he goes. It is carried at all times by one of five military aides, representing each branch of the United States armed forces.

无论总统走到哪里,这个被称作“核足球”的45磅(约合20公斤)重的公文包都会跟着。它一直由五名军事助手中的一人携带,他们代表美国武装部队的五个组成部分。

Inside the case is an instructional guide to carrying out a strike, including a list of locations that can be targeted by the 900 nuclear weapons that make up the American arsenal. The case also includes a radio transceiver and code authenticators.

公文包里有一份实施打击的指导手册,包括一份清单,上面列出了构成美国武器库的900件核武器可以瞄准的地点。包里还有一个无线电收发机和多个代码验证器。

To authorize the attack, the president must first verify his identity by providing a code he is supposed to carry on him at all times. The code, often described as a card, is nicknamed “the biscuit.”

要授权攻击,总统必须先提供一个代码,证实自己的身份。他应该把这个代码随时带在身上。这个代码常被说成是一张“卡片”,绰号“饼干”。

In his 2010 autobiography, Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the final years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, wrote that Mr. Clinton had lost the biscuit for several months without informing anyone.

在比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton)总统任期的最后几年,担任参谋长联席会议(Joint Chiefs of Staff)主席的亨利·H·谢尔顿(Henry H. Shelton)上将在2010年出版的自传中写道,克林顿把“饼干”弄丢了几个月,没有告诉任何人。

“That’s a big deal,” General Shelton wrote, “a gargantuan deal.”

“这是大事,”谢尔顿写道,“天大的事。”

The president does not need approval from anyone else, including Congress or the military, to authorize a strike — a decision that might have to be made at a moment’s notice.

总统不需要得到其他任何人的批准,包括国会或军方,便可授权打击。这个决定可能不得不立即做出。

Nevertheless, some politicians have called for more layers of approval.

然而,一些政界人士呼吁增加审批程序。

“The longer I’m in the Senate, the more I fear for a major error that somebody makes,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said in 2016. “One man, the president, is responsible. He makes an error and, who knows, it’s Armageddon.”

“在参议院待的时间越长,越担心有人犯重大错误,”加利福尼亚州民主党参议员黛安·费恩斯坦(Dianne Feinstein)在2016年说。“总统一个人全权负责。如果他出错了,天晓得,就是大决战了。”

Much of North Korea’s nuclear program is shrouded in mystery.

朝鲜核计划的很多细节都笼罩在神秘之中。

Mr. Kim, however, is the undisputed ruler of his isolated country. Any decision to initiate an attack would most likely be his alone. In recent months, Mr. Kim has threatened to ignite an “enveloping fire” of missiles near the Pacific island of Guam, an American territory, and has warned that North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles are capable of reaching the mainland United States.

但金正恩是这个与世隔绝的国家无可争辩的统治者。发动攻击的任何决定都极有可能是他独自做出的。近几个月,金正恩威胁要用导弹在美国位于太平洋上的领土关岛附近点燃“包围的火焰”,并警告说朝鲜的洲际弹道导弹具备抵达美国本土的能力。

“It’s not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office,” Mr. Kim said in a speech on Monday. “All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

“核按钮始终放在我办公室办公桌上,这并不是威胁,而是事实,”金正恩在周一的讲话中说。“美国本土全境已进入我们的核攻击射程内。”

It is doubtful that there really is a button on his desk. Furthermore, an intercontinental attack from the North probably could not happen in seconds, let alone minutes.

他的桌子上是否真的有一个按钮值得怀疑。此外,朝鲜可能无法在几秒钟内发动洲际攻击,更别说几分钟了。

The North’s longest-range missiles are believed to be powered by liquid rocket fuel. That means the missiles cannot be stored and ready-to-fire at a moment’s notice. They must be loaded with fuel before launch, a process than can take hours.

据信,朝鲜射程最远的导弹是由液体火箭燃料驱动的。这意味着导弹无法储存和随时发射。它们必须在发射前装载燃料,这个过程可能要花好几个小时。

Newer, shorter-range missiles, are loaded with solid fuel, however, making them easier to launch before the North’s enemies detect an attack.

然而,更新、射程更短的导弹装载的是固体燃料,这降低了它们在朝鲜的敌人发现攻击之前发射的难度。

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