Donald Trump goes for global regime change


Remember the Eighth of May. History may recall it as the day the United States abandoned its belief in allies. Donald Trump’s exit from the Iran agreement puts Washington — rather than Tehran — in violation of an international deal. For the first time in decades, the US is acting without a European partner. The 2003 Iraq war was backed by Britain, Spain and others — along with halfhearted efforts to coax France and Germany. Mr Trump, by contrast, has isolated America from the rest of the west without serious effort at all. Who else could unify the post-Brexit UK with Europe?

请记住5月8日这个日子。历史可能会记住美国在这一天放弃了其对盟国的信念。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)退出伊朗核协议让华盛顿——而不是德黑兰——违反了一项国际协议。几十年来头一回,美国在没有任何欧洲伙伴支持的情况下行事。2003年的伊拉克战争是在英国、西班牙等国的支持下发动的——美国还曾半心半意地试图争取法国和德国。相比之下,特朗普使美国孤立于其他所有西方国家,而没有付出与盟友协调的任何努力。还有谁能让退欧后的英国与欧洲团结起来?

The first casualty of Mr Trump’s move is any semblance of a global order. The US now finds itself in a lonely group with Israel and Saudi Arabia on one side of a toxic international breach. On the other are China, Russia, Europe and Iran. To that list we should almost certainly add Japan, India, Australia and Canada. It is hard to see how the gap will not widen. Mr Trump was deaf to the unanimous pleading of America’s closest allies. Two of their leaders, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Germany’s Angela Merkel, even trekked to Washington in the last fortnight to press their case. They came away with nothing.

特朗普此举的第一个牺牲品是仅存的全球秩序表象。美国现在发现自己与以色列和沙特阿拉伯组成了一个孤单的小集团,处在一个有毒国际裂口的一边。而另一边是中国、俄罗斯、欧洲和伊朗,几乎肯定还可以加上日本、印度、澳大利亚和加拿大。看不出怎么能阻止这一鸿沟加大。特朗普对美国最铁杆盟友异口同声的恳求充耳不闻。其中两个盟国的领导人,法国总统埃马纽埃尔•马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)和德国总理安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)甚至在过去两周亲自到华盛顿陈情,结果都无功而返。

A third senior ally, Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, pointed out that the world had “no Plan B” to the Iran nuclear deal. That was another way of saying that the alternative to “jaw jaw” is “war war”. Mr Trump has landed Europe with a dilemma it did its best to avoid. He is giving America’s leading Nato allies a choice between upholding a deal they brokered — and that Iran has honoured — or signing up to an “America first” war party over which they have no influence. The first will trigger US sanctions on European banks and energy companies that continue to do business with Iran. The second would mean forfeiting their best judgment and risking a Middle Eastern conflict that would hurt Europe far more than America. Falling in line with the US would also come at a steep political cost. Mr Macron’s domestic poll ratings fell after his “flattery offensive” on Mr Trump.

第三个资深盟友、英国外交大臣鲍里斯•约翰逊(Boris Johnson)指出,世界对伊朗核协议没有“B计划”。换句话说,如果不能谈判,那就只能打仗。特朗普让欧洲陷入一个它竭力躲避的两难困境。美国的主要北约(Nato)盟国面临一个选择:要么维护一个由它们斡旋——且伊朗至今遵守——的协议,要么加入一个“美国优先”的战争派对,而它们对此毫无影响力。第一个将引发美国制裁继续同伊朗做生意的欧洲银行和能源企业。第二个意味着欧洲国家放弃自己的最佳判断,冒险经历一场对欧洲的伤害远远超过对美国伤害的中东冲突。与美国站在一起还会带来高昂的政治代价。在对特朗普发起“奉承攻势”后,马克龙在国内的民调支持率下降了。

It would also mean embracing Mr Trump’s alternative take on reality. The US president said on Tuesday that the 2015 nuclear deal had brought Iran “to the brink” of developing nuclear weapons. Europe’s leaders point out that Iran was within three months of achieving nuclear breakout before the deal was struck. The agreement put that clock back to at least a year. Iran agreed to unscheduled inspections and strict limits on its nuclear research and enrichment activities for 10 to 15 years. Mr Trump has handed Iran the pretext to restart its nuclear programme at any time. The same applies to Mr Trump’s claim that the deal had spurred a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race. No such race was taking place. It might start now.

这也意味着接受特朗普对现实的另类解读。美国总统在5月8日表示,2015年的伊核协议已经让伊朗“走到了开发核武器的边缘”。欧洲领导人指出,在达成该协议之前,伊朗只差不到三个月就能实现核武器突破(nuclear breakout)。该协议将这一时间至少往后推迟了一年。伊朗同意在10至15年内让国际社会对其进行不预先通知的核查,并严格限制其核研究和铀浓缩活动。特朗普此举给了伊朗一个随时可以重启其核计划的借口。至于特朗普声称该协议刺激了中东的核军备竞赛,事实也恰好相反。之前没发生过这样的竞赛,现在可能会开始。

Europe’s response will largely hinge on how Iran reacts. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said on Tuesday that the ball was in Europe’s court. If the three Ms — Merkel, May and Macron — find a way to sustain the deal, Iran is likely to stick to it. That fork leads to a deepening western split. Washington would levy sanctions on European entities. Europe would be forced to retaliate. For years, America’s allies have chafed at Washington’s imposition of secondary sanctions. The fallout over Iran may be the unilateral straw that breaks the camel’s back. It goes without saying that Russia, China and others will continue to do business with Iran. They will also reciprocate in the event of US financial penalties.

欧洲的回应在很大程度上将取决于伊朗做出何种反应。伊朗总统哈桑•鲁哈尼(Hassan Rouhani)在5月8日表示,下一步要看欧洲的了。如果3M(默克尔、梅和马克龙)找到维持协议的方法,伊朗很可能会坚守该协议。这一结局将深化西方的分歧。美国将对欧洲实体实施制裁。欧洲将被迫报复。多年来,美国的盟友们一直对美国实施“二级制裁”感到恼火。伊朗问题引发的冲击波可能会成为压垮骆驼的最后一根稻草。不用说,俄罗斯、中国和其他国家将继续同伊朗开展经贸往来。一旦美国实施金融制裁,他们也会采取反制措施。

Such tit-for-tat will not occur in isolation. The knock-on impact on Mr Trump’s trade talks with China, and hopes of sustaining China’s pressure on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to denuclearise, would be radically uncertain. Asia — like Europe and the Middle East — is watching Mr Trump’s evolution with mounting anxiety. It is unclear how he thinks his Iran brinkmanship could boost prospects of a serious nuclear deal with Mr Kim.

这种一报还一报的过招不会孤立发生。对其他大事(包括美中贸易谈判,以及寄望中国对朝鲜的金正恩(Kim Jong Un)保持高压态势以迫使其弃核)产生的连锁影响将极不确定。亚洲(与欧洲和中东一样)正越来越焦虑地关注特朗普的演变。对于他在伊朗问题上祭出的“边缘政策”如何能够提振与金正恩达成严肃核协议的可能性,不清楚特朗普自己是何种看法。

There was once a debate about whether to take Mr Trump seriously or literally. The answer is both. Now he has a team that shares his America First instincts. John Bolton, his national security adviser, has long argued the US should launch strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Mr Bolton has never met a nuclear inspector whom he believes is worth trusting. The parallels with the build-up to the Iraq war are troubling. Few countries wish to see a repeat of that blunder. On Tuesday, Mr Trump all but declared war on Iran. That will be consequential enough. The collateral damage to America’s global standing may be even worse.

人们曾经围绕要不要把特朗普的话当真展开辩论。答案是要当真,但不一定按照字面意思去理解。如今,他有一个与他的“美国优先”本能情投意合的团队。他的国家安全顾问约翰•博尔顿(John Bolton)长期主张美国打击伊朗核设施。从来没有一个核核查人员赢得博尔顿的信任。有人把当前局面与伊拉克战争前的酝酿阶段相提并论,这令人担忧。几乎没有一个国家愿意看到那种错误再犯。5月8日,特朗普几乎对伊朗宣战。这本身已足够重大,但它对美国全球地位的附带损害可能更为严重。