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Vladimir Putin’s nuclear posturing is a dangerous escalation

来源:FT中文网    2018-03-05 13:09

        There was a large element of posturing in the presentation that accompanied Vladimir Putin’s state of the union address last week, showing a mock-up missile seemingly heading for the coast of Florida. It is hard to know whether the weapons he boasts Russia has developed — including an “invincible” hypersonic missile, an underwater drone and a nuclear-powered cruise missile — really exist, or work as well as claimed. Even if they do, they would hardly change the balance of power. Yet this is still a dangerous escalation in both rhetoric and military strategy.        弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)上周发表国情咨文演讲时使用的画面——一枚模型导弹似乎正在飞向佛罗里达海岸——有很大故作姿态的成分。很难弄清楚他所吹嘘的俄罗斯研发的武器——包括“无敌的”高超音速导弹、水下无人潜航器和核动力巡航导弹——是否真的存在或者像宣称的那样强大。即便真有,这些武器也很难改变当下的力量平衡。然而,此举仍是俄方言辞和军事战略上的一次危险升级。
        The Russian president was addressing a domestic audience in the run-up to an election intended to demonstrate the enduring appeal of his strongman rule. But he was also putting the west on notice, that Russia is back as a global power and determined to keep pace with the US in any efforts to expand and modernise nuclear capabilities.        俄罗斯即将举行大选,这位俄罗斯总统是在面对国内民众进行一次意在展示其强人统治持久魅力的讲话。但他同时也在提醒西方:俄罗斯已经作为全球大国归来,并决意在扩大核能力和实现核能力现代化方面全力与美国保持同步。
        Seen from Moscow, this is a reasonable response to western provocation. Mr Putin has never forgiven Nato’s encroachments on Russia’s sphere of influence. He is still bitter at George W Bush’s decision to pull the US out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, allowing it to press ahead with a land-based missile defence system that Russia views as a direct, deliberate threat.        站在莫斯科的角度,此举是对西方挑衅的合理回应。普京从未原谅北约(Nato)对俄罗斯势力范围的蚕食。他对小布什(George W Bush)令美国退出1972年《反弹道导弹条约》(Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty)的决定一直耿耿于怀,退出该条约使美国得以继续推进其陆基导弹防御系统,后者被俄罗斯视为直接、蓄意的威胁。
        Now the US administration has said explicitly that great power competition, rather than antiterrorism, will be the focus of national security. Donald Trump has pledged to spend freely on upgrading the US nuclear arsenal. Last month, a review of nuclear “posture” set out US plans to equip itself with new “low-yield” nuclear weapons and for the first time consider nuclear strikes in response to non-nuclear threats — such as a devastating cyber attack. Russia has long possessed smaller nuclear weapons, with a military doctrine that conceives of their tactical use to counter conventional threats. But this is a radical departure in US policy that could significantly lower the threshold for nuclear war.        如今,美国政府已经明确表示,大国竞争——而非反恐——将成为国家安全的焦点。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)已承诺大举投入升级美国的核武库。上月,一份核“态势”评估报告显示,美国计划装备新的“低当量”核武器,并首次考虑对非核威胁(如破坏性很大的网络攻击)进行核打击。俄罗斯一直拥有较小型核武器,其军事信条包含对常规威胁使用战术核武器的构想。但美国核政策的此番巨大转变可能大大降低核战争的门槛。
        This is all the more dangerous given the dismal state of US-Russian relations; Russia’s increasing international reach, in Ukraine, Syria and recent western elections; the growing number of third country nuclear forces; and the increasing risks of accidents or miscalculations given more frequent encounters between US and Russian forces.        考虑到如下因素,这就更加危险了:美俄之间关系冷淡;在乌克兰、叙利亚,以及西方近期的选举中,俄罗斯的国际影响力在不断扩大;第三国核力量日益增多;由于美国和俄罗斯部队之间冲突愈加频繁,出现意外事件及错误判断的风险不断攀升。
        It is worrying, then, that both Washington and Moscow show so little interest in maintaining and strengthening the arms control agreements that have helped to regulate relations between the world’s two main nuclear actors for the best part of 50 years.        因此,华盛顿和莫斯科对维持和加强武器控制协议都表现得毫无兴趣就令人担心了。在过去50年的绝大部分时间里,该协议帮助制约了全球两大主要核武器国家之间的关系。
        Each accuses the other of violating the existing treaty governing intermediate range ballistic missiles. As Steven Pifer argues in a paper for the Brookings Institution, there are ways to address these concerns, but they rely on political will on each side.        它们各自指责对方违反了现有的中程弹道导弹条约。正如斯蒂芬•皮斐尔(Steven Pifer)在写给布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)的一篇文章中指出,有许多方法可以解决上述担忧,但它们都要仰仗双方的政治意愿。
        Even if this can be rescued, the next question is what happens when the New Start treaty — the main framework for arms control — expires in 2021. At present, both sides appear prepared to meet its limits, which took full effect last month, but neither has shown any interest in negotiating its extension. Indeed, the US Congress has passed legislation to deny funding for an extension if Russia were in breach of other arms control agreements.        即便这一问题得以解决,下一个问题是2021年新《削减战略武器条约》(New Start)——武器控制的主要框架——到期之后会发生什么?目前双方似乎都准备遵守条约,并于上月满足其设定的限制条件,但都没有表现出任何协商延期的兴趣。事实上美国国会已通过立法,如果俄罗斯违反其他武器控制协议,美国将拒绝为延期提供资金。
        It would not be impossible to chart a way forwards. The experience of the cold war shows it should be possible to pursue dialogue in areas of mutual interest even if there is no hope of progress on difficult issues such as Ukraine and Syria. Mr Putin, however, is choosing to play on American fears about the loss of superpower status. The US must resist the urge to retaliate.        前路也并非无法规划。冷战经验表明,即使在乌克兰和叙利亚等困难问题上没有取得进展的希望,双方还是可以在有共同利益的领域里展开对话。但普京却选择利用美国人对失去超级大国地位的担忧来得到他想要的东西。美国必须遏制住报复的冲动。

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