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Europe in a foreign field
The Europeans’ ability to deploy force abroad is falling, but Mali shows it is still needed
When young men go to war resentment turns against those shirking danger. In Iraq the Americans denounced the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys. In the intervention in Mali, French politicians are dismayed by the absence of allies, especially Europeans, in the fight against jihadists.
青年前赴沙场时,就无比憎恶逃兵。在伊拉克战争中,法国人被美国人贬为“投降派奶酪猴”(cheese-eating surrender monkeys, 译者注:讽刺法国人在战场上表现软弱)。而本次对抗伊斯兰圣战教徒的马里军事介入中,法国又因缺乏盟友(尤其在欧洲)而使其政府官员深感失望。


The French conservative opposition leader, Jean-Francois Cope, was among those complaining that “for now, our country is alone at the front.” Plantu, cartoonist for Le Monde, had President Francois Hollande as Tintin riding into battle, with the European Union depicted as the comically inept policemen, Dupond et Dupont (Thomson and Thompson in the English version), calling from their couch: “We are all with you!”

在这些官员中有法国右翼反对党党首让·弗朗斯·库佩(Jean-Francois Cope),他们一起抗议道:“现在只有我国孤军上前线。”任职于法国《世界报》的漫画家伯朗都则将其画入漫画。画中的法国总统弗朗索瓦·奥朗德(Francois Hollande)成了漫画人物丁丁(Tintin),并坐车前赴战场,而欧盟则成了成了搞笑的菜鸟警察杜邦与杜帮(Dupond et Dupont,英文版中为“汤姆森与汤普森”(Thomson and Thompson)),两人坐在板凳上上喊道:“你不会一个人的!”
Such criticism is harsh. The British, the Belgians, Danes, Italians, Germans and Canadians offered airlift support; the Americans are thinking of offering intelligence and air-to-air refuelling. French officials, who usually deride Cathy Ashton, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, are pleased she called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers on January 17th, and is ready to speed the deployment of a planned military training mission to Mali.
该批评略显苛刻。本次马里冲突中,英国、比利时、丹麦、意大利、德国和加拿大五国都向法军提供了空运援助;而美国则考虑提供情报共享与空中加油。本月17日欧盟外长(EU’s foreign-policy chief)凯瑟琳·阿什顿(Cathy Ashton)召开紧急外长会议,准备向马里政府军提供军事训练团。这让向来爱对其冷嘲热讽的法国官员十分满意。
Yet the reality is that only the French are putting their troops in harm’s way to push back the militants. African forces that were meant to lead the reconquest of northern Mali in the autumn are being sent pell-mell, but many worry about their abilities. Nobody in Europe or America disputes the danger posed by the emergence in the Sahel of a Taliban-style haven. For one senior (non-French) security source, the region has become “al-Qaeda’s fastest-growing franchise”.
As the former colonial power in the region, and a target of jihadist menaces, France feels the danger more acutely than others. And the fact is that, among Europeans, only the French and the British have the will and wherewithal to fight abroad at short notice. The French never wanted a front-line role. Instead they had hoped to send a small contingent of French experts wrapped in a European training mission, inside a multinational West African force—all enveloped in a political strategy to promote the return to democracy in southern Mali and reconciliation with some rebels in the north and sealed with a UN mandate. It was the jihadists’ pre-emptive assault on the south that forced the French to abandon the indirect approach.
由于马里原为法属殖民地,并存在伊斯兰圣战教徒的威胁,这让法国对马里冲突之担忧超乎其他各国。事实上,欧洲各国中,唯独英法两国具备短时间出兵海外的意向与资金。而法国却从不希望打头阵。相反,法国本希望以欧洲培训团的名义派遣一小批法国专家,加入包含各国成员的西非(West African)军中。该行动囊括于“对南恢复民主、对北绥靖叛军”的马里政治方针之下,并已得到联合国授权。但伊斯兰教徒抢先袭击了马里南部,这让法国不得不放弃原先的间接援助政策。
Still, Mali is the sort of contingency that the EU’s “battlegroups” (formations of about 1,500 soldiers deployable at short notice) could be taking on. The unit currently on the roster, the “Weimar battlegroup”, is led by Poland with contributions from France and Germany. But for the Poles, already committed in Afghanistan, Mali is a foreign war too many. And the Germans are always reluctant to put boots on the ground. Established since 2007, the battlegroups have never seen action. Enthusiasm for them is already waning. There are supposed to be two battlegroups at the ready in each six-month period, but lack of contributions means this has dropped to one.
但是,马里冲突仍属欧盟“战斗群”(由约1500名士兵组成的部队,可在短时间内立即调动)可解决的突发事件。如今当值的“魏玛战斗群(Weimar battlegroup)”由波兰军带头,外加法、德二军组成。但已投身于阿富汗的波兰军无暇顾及马里战争。德军也不愿涉足于该地。2007年成立后的“战斗群”从未投入实战中过。“战斗群”的士兵热情已大不如前。原本两支“战斗群”将轮换待命,但由于其无所作为,两支已精简为一支。
L’Europe de la defence, as the French call the idea of an autonomous EU force, has an unhappy history. France killed the idea of a European army in 1954. Europeans’ reliance on America during the Balkan wars of the 1990s revived the idea of greater EU military capacity, launched at the 1998 St Malo summit by Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac. But the plan ran afoul of America, which feared France was trying to undermine NATO, and was then stalled by Franco-British spats over the Iraq war in 2003. Reassured by France’s return to NATO’s command in 2009, the Americans then encouraged a stronger EU military role. But last year Britain vetoed plans for a new EU military headquarters. At the behest of Britain and others, NATO took charge of the war in Libya, leaving the EU on the sidelines.
建立欧洲独立军队这一想法被法国人成为“欧洲国防(L’Europe de la defence)”,该设想进展并不顺利。1954年,欧洲建军的设想遭法国封杀。而随后1990年代巴尔干半岛接连发生战争,多次依靠美国后让欧洲再次兴起欧盟扩军的想法。该计划于1998年的圣马洛(St Malo)峰会上,由英国前首相托尼·布莱尔(Tony Blair)和法国前总统雅克·希拉克(Jacques Chirac)发起。但该计划却让美国担心法国企图削弱北约(NATO)而损害其利益。而后的2003年伊拉克战争中,英法两国不合让该计划暂时搁置一旁。2009年,法国重掌北约后,终于说服美国,使欧盟扩军计划得到了其支持。但去年,在新建欧盟军事总部的计划上,英国投了反对票。最终,去年的利比亚战争根据英国等国的要求,全权由北约负责,而将欧盟军队架空一边。
Now a new Franco-British pragmatism is gaining ground. The French have discreetly set aside institution-building and the British have quietly accepted the benefit of modest EU operations. The most visible is Operation Atalanta, the anti-piracy naval patrols off Somalia. Last year an Italian helicopter was sent in to shoot up a pirate supply base. The EU now runs a training mission for Somali forces (based in Uganda), pays for the African intervention force in Somalia and is training neighbouring countries to secure their own coastlines. This has reduced piracy and raised hopes for a better future in Somalia. Some of this is being applied to the Sahel. Apart from training the demoralised Malian army, the EU will help African contingents with money and logistics. It is already training forces in Niger, and may soon help the new Libyan government secure its border.
而今,英法两国重新走上务实路线。一方面,法国谨慎地将建立总部的计划搁浅,而另一方面,英国则默默承认欧盟采取适当军事行动的益处。最明显的一例莫过于驱逐索马里(Somalia)海盗的“亚特兰大行动”(Operation Atalanta)。而去年,欧盟还派出一架意大利直升机,在海盗补给基地上空进行扫射。如今,在索马里冲突问题上,欧盟不但为索马里政府提供军事训练(训练基地位于乌干达(Uganda)),资助非洲军队武装介入消除该冲突,而且还为加强索马里各邻国海岸防线而对其进行训练。欧盟的介入在削弱海盗的同时,也让索马里的前景一片光明。而上述手段现都已投入到马里冲突之中。除了为士气不振的马里政府军提供军事训练外,欧盟还在资金和后勤上援助了数支非洲军。尼日尔的训练基地已投入运营,或许不久后将支援利比亚(Libyan)新政府驻守国境。
Unappealing, but unavoidable?
The French may have felt compelled to go in alone, but to get out they will have to rely on the EU and the Africans. Mali shows that, although the French and the British retain the ambition to fight on day one, they want the EU, for all its flaws, to help maintain stability on day 100 and beyond.
Europe’s strategic outlook is changing. As the Americans pivot towards the Pacific, Europeans will need to take charge of their own security and the stability of their “neighbourhood”. Yet their means to do so are dwindling. The debt crisis has forced many countries to cut their defence budgets, often in an unco-ordinated manner. The British and French are retrenching, too.
Even given more money, soldiers and equipment, the formula for success in foreign wars remains mysterious. Iraq, Afghanistan and even Libya have hardly been unqualified successes for Western intervention. Some Europeans hoped these would end the appetite for overseas adventures. Yet the war in Mali came unexpectedly and may have been unavoidable. For better or worse, it will not be the last European intervention.


重点单词   查看全部解释    
security [si'kju:riti]


n. 安全,防护措施,保证,抵押,债券,证券

opposition [.ɔpə'ziʃən]


n. 反对,敌对,在野党

visible ['vizəbl]


adj. 可见的,看得见的
n. 可见物

reluctant [ri'lʌktənt]


adj. 不情愿的,勉强的

ambition [æm'biʃən]


n. 雄心,野心,抱负,精力
vt. 有 ..

intelligence [in'telidʒəns]


n. 理解力,智力
n. 情报,情报工作,情报

mysterious [mis'tiəriəs]


adj. 神秘的,不可思议的

reconciliation [.rekənsili'eiʃən]


n. 调和,和解
n. [会]对账

military ['militəri]


adj. 军事的
n. 军队

enthusiasm [in'θju:ziæzəm]


n. 热情,热心;热衷的事物