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The Trumpian threat to the global order

2020-9-29 17:07| 发布者: 寒夜孤星| 查看: 52| 评论: 0

摘要: There is nothing surprising about Donald Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin. The would-be US president and the Russian leader share an authoritarian bent. They disdain multilateral engagement in f ...
The Trumpian threat to the global order
There is nothing surprising about Donald Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin. The would-be US president and the Russian leader share an authoritarian bent. They disdain multilateral engagement in favour of the raw politics of power. Above all, they are transactional. Deals are to be shaped by narrow definitions of national interest, unconstrained by international rules or shared values.

Mr Putin wants to erase the humiliation of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr Trump promises to “make America great again”. The reason for the Russian leader’s bad personal relationship with Barack Obama is the US president’s wounding refusal to indulge the fantasy of superpower parity. Perhaps Mr Trump has the better understanding of Russian psychology. He never ceases to praise Mr Putin as a strong and decisive leader.

The Republican party’s contender for the White House is not alone in cosying up to the Kremlin. Populists across Europe — Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence party and the fascist Jobbik and Golden Dawn in Hungary and Greece respectively — have all tipped their hats to Moscow. Mr Putin also has sympathisers on the left. Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is more comfortable denouncing US “imperialism” than challenging Russian revanchism.

Until recently the foreign policy establishment was quietly preparing for a Hillary Clinton presidency. Mr Trump’s candidacy was a nightmare it would surely wake up from on November 9. The mood has changed. As the polls have tightened, Republicans and Democrats have begun to imagine Mr Trump as commander-in-chief. A dark quip among US generals — that they would remove the circuit boards before handing over the so-called nuclear football — no longer seems quite so amusing.

The fears are that the “shy” Trump supporters may not be showing up in the polls, that antipathy to Mrs Clinton could see centrists stay at home, and that the resolve of white working-class voters to punish the elites could overwhelm Mr Obama’s winning coalition of educated whites, Hispanics and African Americans. Faced with compelling evidence of Mr Trump’s mendacity, misogyny and racism, too many people reply that “he doesn’t really mean all that stuff”.

The organising fact for the rest of the world is that the US is the only nation that matters just about everywhere. It is no longer the hyperpuissance of the 1990s and has lost the appetite to remake the world, but the capacity of a thin-skinned, shoot-from-the-hip president to wreak havoc is chilling. A lot of people in Washington are trying to persuade themselves that the checks and balances in the system would restrain him. Judging from my conversations this week, they are not succeeding in the task.

The obvious fear is that a temperamentally unstable president Trump would lash out in a crisis. Robert Gates, the Republican former US defence secretary, says simply that he is “unfit to be commander-in-chief”. Mr Trump’s reaction to the latest bomb outrage in New York fitted the pattern. The US had to “knock the hell out of them?…?do something serious over there” — “them” being indeterminate and “over there” being the Middle East.

The bigger danger lies in Mr Trump’s promise to withdraw — to tear up trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, throw up trade barriers against China, repudiate the Paris climate change agreement and the nuclear deal with Iran, and abdicate responsibility for the security of east Asia and Europe. Mr Trump’s policies are shot through with contradictions but one constant drumbeat is his belligerent isolationism. America will go it alone. Hyper-realism, some call it. Dangerous is a better word.

The present global order — the liberal, rules-based system established in 1945 and expanded after the end of the cold war — is under unprecedented strain. Globalisation is in retreat. At a conference in New York organised by the US branch of the Ditchley Foundation I heard a distinguished American elder statesman remark that he has never known a period when the world had been simultaneously buffeted by so many upheavals and crises.

The list is a familiar one. Mr Putin is trying to redraw borders in Europe, the Middle East is in flames, European unity is fracturing, jihadi terrorism is spreading, pluralism is challenged by authoritarianism, China is contesting the status quo in the South China Sea and its neighbours are rearming in response, populists are storming the citadels across advanced democracies.

To Mr Trump, the answer is American retreat. He wants to build walls. He questions the US security umbrella in the Pacific — maybe Japan and South Korea should get their own nuclear weapons? He undercuts the credibility of Nato’s defence of Europe — the US might stand by if Russian troops marched into the Baltic states. There is no sense in any of this that American national security is safeguarded by alliances and international order.

If the polls are to be believed, Mr Trump has wrested momentum from Mrs Clinton in the presidential race. This does not mean he will win on November 8. The structure of the electoral college gives him only a narrow path to the White House. And there are three debates ahead. But the unthinkable has become the plausible. We should be more than worried. Neither America nor the world can afford a lurch into Trumpian isolationism.

唐纳德?特朗普(Donald Trump)敬佩弗拉基米尔?普京(Vladimir Putin),这没有什么让人惊奇的。这位美国总统候选人和俄罗斯领导人都有一种威权倾向。他们蔑视多边接触,喜欢原始的强权政治。最重要的是,他们都是交易型的人。协议将受到狭隘定义的国家利益的影响,不受国际规则或公认价值观的制约。

普京想抹掉苏联垮台带来的屈辱感。特朗普承诺“让美国再次伟大”。俄罗斯领导人跟巴拉克?奥巴马(Barack Obama)的个人关系很差,因为美国总统拒绝让普京陶醉于两个超级大国平起平坐的幻想,令他受伤。或许特朗普更懂得俄罗斯人的心理。他一直称赞普京是一个坚强果断的领导人。

向克里姆林宫示好的,并不只有这位美国总统候选人。整个欧洲的民粹主义者——马琳?勒庞(Marine Le Pen)所属的法国国民阵线(National Front)、奈杰尔?法拉奇(Nigel Farage)所属的英国独立党(UKIP)、匈牙利的法西斯主义尤比克党(Jobbik)和希腊的金色黎明党(Golden Dawn)——都向莫斯科方面表达过敬意。普京在左翼阵营也有支持者。英国工党(Labour)领袖杰里米?科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)更愿意谴责美国的“帝国主义”,而不愿挑战俄罗斯的复仇主义。

直到不久以前,外交政策领域的体制内人士一直在悄悄地为希拉里?克林顿(Hillary Clinton)当选总统做准备。特朗普成为候选人是一场噩梦,这场梦注定会在11月9日醒来。情绪已发生了变化。随着民调支持率差距的拉近,共和党人和民主党人都开始想象特朗普成为总司令的情形。美国将军们当中的一个黑色俏皮话——他们在移交所谓“核足球”(美国总统授权发动核攻击所用的手提箱——译者注)之前会把电路板取下来——不再显得特别好笑了。



人们显然担忧的是,气质上不稳定的特朗普总统在危机期间将会失控。共和党人、前国防部长罗伯特?盖茨(Robert Gates)简要地说,他“不适合担任总司令”。特朗普对不久前纽约发生的爆炸事件的反应符合这个模式。美国必须“痛打他们……在那里认真地做些事”——“他们”不知道指谁,“在那里”指的是中东。


当前全球秩序——1945年建立并在冷战结束后扩大的自由主义的、以规则为基础的制度——正在承受前所未有的压力。全球化正在后退。在纽约一场由迪奇雷基金会(Ditchley Foundation)美国分会组织的会议上,我听到美国一位杰出的老年政治家表示,他从不知道有哪段时期,世界同时受到这么多巨变和危机的冲击。

这是一份大家熟悉的清单。普京正试图重画欧洲国家的边界,中东燃起战火,圣战恐怖主义行动在蔓延,多元主义遭到威权主义的挑战,中国正试图改变南中国海(South China Sea)的现状,促使邻国开始重新武装自己,民粹主义者们在各个发达民主国家冲击要塞。








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