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作者: 来源: 日期:2016-12-02 8:52:54

Donald Trump and the nuclear danger





People who are worried by the prospect of President Donald Trump are often reminded of the checks and balances in the American system. The US president is not a dictator. He is constrained by the constitution, the courts and the Congress.

经常有人提醒那些对唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)即将就任总统感到担心的人:美国的体制具备制衡机制。美国总统不是独裁者。他受到宪法、法院和国会的制约。广州核电翻译公司。


But there is one area where checks and balances do not apply: nuclear weapons. Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, explained the situation clearly in 2008, when he told an interviewer: “The president of the United States for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorised to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. He could launch the kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts.”

但制衡在一个领域并不适用:核武器。2008年初,美国前副总统迪克•切尼(Dick Cheney)清楚地解释了这种情况。他在接受采访时说:“50年来,每时每刻,每天24小时,美国总统后面都跟着一名军事助手,此人携带一枚足球,里面包含着总统在美国遭到核攻击时将使用、并被授权使用的核密码。美国总统可以发动那种世人从未见过的毁灭性攻击。他不必与任何人商量。他不必知会国会。他不需要和法庭商量。”


The president’s powers are even more extensive than those described by Mr Cheney. The US is not committed to a doctrine of “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons. So Mr Trump could order a nuclear strike against an adversary, even if the US itself had not been attacked.



The idea that Mr Trump is too erratic to have his finger on the (mythical) nuclear button was brought up repeatedly during the presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton pointed out that only four minutes would elapse between the president giving the order for a nuclear attack and the US launching its missiles. Since president-elect Trump will be the commander-in-chief, no one further down the chain-of-command would have the legal authority to countermand his order. During the campaign, a group of US military officers who once controlled access to the launch of nuclear weapons published an open letter arguing that Mr Trump is unfit to bear the “staggering” pressures involved in having ultimate authority over the use of the world’s deadliest weapons. One poll suggested that even 22 per cent of Mr Trump’s own supporters thought that he might launch a nuclear war.

在总统竞选期间,特朗普太过反复无常、不能让他的手指触摸(神秘的)核按钮的观点被多次提起。希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)指出,总统下达核攻击的命令仅仅4分钟后,美国的导弹就会发射出去。由于当选总统特朗普将是美国军队总司令,在指挥链上,谁也无权撤销他的命令。在竞选期间,一群曾控制核武器发射程序的美国军官发表一封公开信,声称拥有使用世界上最致命武器的终极权力将带来“惊人的”压力,是特朗普不适合承受的。一项民意调查显示,就连22%的特朗普支持者都认为,他或许会发动核战争。广州核电翻译公司。


In the absence of effective checks and balances on the use of nuclear weapons by Mr Trump, three issues are crucial: the president-elect’s temperament, his advisers and the kind of situations that are likely to confront him.



Mr Trump’s personality is not reassuring. As the officers’ open letter put it, he is “easily baited and quick to lash out”. In a confrontation, his instinct is to escalate, not to seek a compromise. In the wake of the death of Fidel Castro, it is worth recalling the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Faced with the threat of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, President John F Kennedy resisted the advice of his hawkish military advisers to escalate the conflict and invade Cuba. Would a President Trump have the same instincts?

特朗普的性情并不令人放心。正如前述军官们的公开信所说,他是“容易上钩,动辄大发雷霆”。在对抗中,他的本能是升级,而不是寻求妥协。在菲德尔•卡斯特罗(Fidel Castro)去世后,1962年古巴导弹危机是值得回忆的。面对与苏联打一场核战争的威胁,美国总统约翰•肯尼迪(John F Kennedy)抵制住了鹰派军事顾问有关升级冲突、入侵古巴的建议。特朗普会有同样的本能吗?


In a foreign policy crisis, the president’s most important counsellor is his national security adviser, whose office is in the White House. The man that Mr Trump has appointed to head the National Security Council, General Michael Flynn, does not have a reputation as a calm leader. Leaked emails from Colin Powell suggest that Gen Flynn was sacked as the head of the Defence Intelligence Agency in 2014 because he was “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy”. Mr Powell, who served as President George W Bush’s secretary of state, dismissed Gen Flynn as “right-wing, nutty”. Another very senior figure in the Bush administration privately agrees, describing Gen Flynn as “crazy” and predicting that he will not last more than a year. Those who want a sense of Gen Flynn’s temperament might care to watch the video of his speech to the Republican National Convention in which he joined in chants of “lock her up” aimed at Mrs Clinton.

在外交政策危机中,总统最重要的顾问是他的国家安全顾问,后者的办公室设在白宫内。被特朗普任命为国家安全委员会(NSC)负责人的迈克尔•弗林(Michael Flynn),并不拥有一位沉着领导者的声誉。泄密的科林•鲍威尔(Colin Powell)电子邮件似乎表明,弗林将军在2014年被解除了国防情报局(DIA)局长职位,因为他“辱骂员工,听不进意见,违反政策”。曾在乔治·W·布什(George W Bush)总统手下担任国务卿的鲍威尔,对弗林不屑一顾,认为他“持右翼立场、很愚蠢”。布什政府的另一位非常资深的官员私下表示同意,描述弗林是个“疯狂的人”,并预测他在国家安全顾问的位置上撑不了一年。那些想要了解弗林性情的人,不妨看看他在共和党全国委员会(RNC)发表演讲的视频——他跟观众一起高呼“把她(指希拉里)关起来”。广州核电翻译公司。


One of the most urgent problems that will confront Mr Trump is the North Korean nuclear programme. It is one of the three main subjects the president-elect discussed with President Obama at their first meeting. North Korea is thought to be about two years away from developing a nuclear-tipped missile, capable of hitting the west coast of the US. It is often said that no American president could tolerate that situation. But President Barack Obama has, to date, rejected military options for dealing with North Korea because of the risks that an American attack would spark devastating retaliation against South Korea, or even the use of North Korea’s remaining nuclear weapons. Will president-elect Trump be as restrained?



Another potential crisis is brewing in eastern Europe. Russia has been increasingly open in rehearsing for the use of battlefield nuclear weapons in a conflict with Nato. As one Russian analyst puts it: “President Putin has put the nuclear gun on the table.” Might President Trump be tempted to respond in kind?



In the coming weeks, president-elect Trump will be introduced to America’s nuclear secrets contained in the “football” (in reality, a briefcase). These including the “presidential decision handbook” which contains the menu of targets that President Trump could choose to attack, along with estimated death tolls, which run into millions and, in some cases, more than 100m. This is said to be a sobering experience for all new presidents. Let us hope it has the same effect on President Trump.