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我眼中的三任美国总统

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2010年9月1日,英国前首相托尼·布莱尔的自传《旅程》(A Journey: My Political Life)一书在全球上市。该书不仅记录了布莱尔历时十年的首相生涯,同时也讲述了关于美国的诸多故事。本文即节选自《旅程》,描述了克林顿、布什和奥巴马三任美国总统在这位英国前首相眼中的独特印象。在他看来,这三位总统不只是高高在上、执掌权柄的政治领袖,还是具有独特个性魅力、有血有肉的性情中人。

As British Prime Minister, you see the U.S. President close-up pretty often—you see the personal side, and no longer look at Presidents as remote officeholders but also as human actors in the unfolding dramas of political affairs. This is the best vantage1) point, and in my case, it has led me to an even greater sense of respect for the quality of leadership that America can produce.

作为英国首相,你能十分频繁地与美国总统近距离接触,这就意味着你能看到他作为普通人的一面。这时,总统在你的眼中不再只是高高在上的执掌权柄的统帅,而且还是情节不断展开的政治戏剧里有血有肉的演员。这是首相这个位置最具优势的一点。就我而言,这一位置使我对美国所能打造的高素质领导者充满了更深的敬意。

On Bill Clinton   比尔·克林顿
  
When I first got to know Bill, he was the most formidable politician I had ever encountered. And yet his very expertise and extraordinary capacity at the business of politics obscured the fact that he was also a brilliant thinker, with a clear and thought-through political philosophy and program. He had an endless ability for rapport2) with ordinary people. I remember an occasion in 2003 when he came to the annual Labour Party conference, and went out for a late-night McDonald’s burger and fries, shooting the breeze3) with folks, much to the amusement and astonishment of a sprinkling of4) late-night diners, as if it were what he did every Tuesday night.

Bill had inimitable resilience5). When you reflect on what he went through during the impeachment saga6), you have to sit down. It’s too much. How could he, how did he, survive it? But he did, leaving office with an approval rating of more than 60%. And he was, of course, a brilliant President. At times he made it look easy. He ran a good economy, made big reforms, handled the Kosovo crisis with real leadership. It is fascinating to speculate how he would have handled later world-changing events, the whole crisis and sequence of tough decisionmaking that was started by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There neither charm nor intellect would have been sufficient. It would have been pure caliber7) that determined the outcome. I believe he would have had it.

我最初认识比尔时就认识到,他是我所遇到过的最令人钦佩的政治家。然而,他在政治事务中的独特专长和非凡才能却掩盖了一个事实,那就是他还是一个具有清晰、缜密的政治思想和政治纲领的卓越思想家。他具有同普通民众融洽相处的无限能力。我还记得2003年他来出席工党年会时,一天深夜我们去麦当劳吃汉堡和薯条,在餐厅里他同当地人闲聊、拉家常,自如得就好像这是他每周二晚上的惯例一样,这令当时在场的几个深夜来就餐的人又惊又喜。

比尔的韧性和应变能力无人能及。只要你想想当年弹劾事件中他所经历的一切,你就能体会到其中的压力。那一切太令人难以承受了。他怎么能挺过来?又是如何挺过来的呢?但是他做到了,当他卸任时(编者注:克林顿总统于2001年1月卸任),他的支持率超过了60%。毋庸置疑,他曾是个伟大的总统。他的游刃有余有时会使总统这个差事显得轻而易举。他使经济向好,大刀阔斧地推行改革,以真正的领导气魄处理了科索沃危机。我们可以推测一下,如果当时他在其位的话,又会如何处理那些后来改变了整个世界的事件,那由2001年9月11日的恐怖袭击引发的一切危机和一连串艰难决定。这样的猜想必定引人入胜。要知道,解决这些问题仅靠魅力或智慧是远远不够的。只有真正的才干才能决定结果的成败。我相信他就具备这种才干。

On George Bush   

乔治·布什
  
George Bush was straightforward and direct. And very smart. One of the most ludicrous8) caricatures of George is that he was a dumb idiot who stumbled into9) the presidency. No one stumbles into that job, and the history of American presidential campaigns is littered with political corpses of those who were supposed to be brilliant but who nonetheless failed because brilliance is not enough. To succeed in U.S. politics, you certainly have to be clever, otherwise you will be eaten alive; but you have to be more than clever.

George has a sense of calm. I was in the White House on the evening of Sept. 20, 2001, with George just before he was to give his first speech to Congress after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He was not panicking or fretting or even plain worrying. He was at peace with himself. He had his mission as President. He hadn’t asked for it. He hadn’t expected it. He hadn’t found it. It had found him. But he was clear. The world had changed, and as President of the world’s most powerful country, he was tasked with making sense of that change and dealing with it. I asked him if he was nervous. “No, not really,” he replied. “I have a speech here, and the message is clear.” I marveled at it.

George had great intuition. But his intuition was less about politics and more about what he thought was right or wrong. This wasn’t expressed analytically or intellectually. It was just stated. At times I would find this puzzling, even alarming. I would be at a press conference with the President, in the epicenter10) of those world-changing events, and I would think, George, explain it; don’t just say it.

However, over time, and more even in retrospect as events have continued to unfold after I left office, I have come to admire the simplicity, the directness, almost the boldness of George, finding in it strength and integrity. Sometimes, in the very process of reasoning, we lose sight of the need for a destination, for finding the way out of the labyrinth11) to solid ground that stands the test not of a few weeks, months or even a year or two, but of the vastness of the judgment of history.

乔治·布什为人坦诚直率,而且非常聪明。关于乔治的讽刺漫画有很多,而最为荒谬的一幅莫过于将他刻画成一个误打误撞坐上总统宝座的愚蠢白痴。但没有人能靠误打误撞坐上这个位子,纵观美国总统的竞选历史,那些断送了政治生命的竞选者们俯拾皆是,他们被认为才华横溢,但却惨遭失利,因为仅凭才华尚不足以制胜。要在美国政坛取得成功,聪明当然必不可少,否则你会死无葬身之地;但你必须明白,仅靠聪明还远远不够。

乔治处事冷静。2001年9月20日晚,我在白宫,与乔治在一起,当晚他要对国会进行演讲,那也是恐怖分子袭击纽约和华盛顿后他对国会作的首次演讲。他既没有惊慌失措,也没有烦躁不安,甚至没有表露出丝毫的忧虑。他平静自如,泰然自若。他肩负着总统的使命。对于这一使命,他不曾祈求,不曾期待。并非是他找到了这一使命,而是使命找到了他。但是他十分清醒。世界已经发生了变化,而作为世界上最强大的国家的总统,他肩负着认清并应对这一变化的重担。我问他是否紧张。“不,真的不紧张,”他回答说,“我只是要作个演讲,而且演讲的主题很明确。”对此,我惊叹不已。

乔治具有超凡的直觉。但他的直觉较少关乎政治,而更多关乎他心目中的对与错。当他在表达自己的直觉时,既不予以分析,也不讲求理性,只是张口把其说出来而已。有时候,我发现这种做法让人迷惑不解,甚至令人担忧。每当我与这位总统一起出席新闻发布会,在时事风云的风口浪尖上谈论那些改变世界的事件时,我都会忍不住地想:乔治,把你的想法解释一下,别只是说出来就算完了。

然而,随着时间的流逝,尤其是在我卸任之后再回想起那些一直以来还在不断发展演化的事件时,我开始钦佩乔治的简单明了、直截了当,甚至是莽撞无畏,我从中发现了力量和诚实。有时,在对事件进行思考和论证的过程中,我们会迷失,忽略了我们需要设定一个目标,忘记了我们需要找到一条途径,好走出“迷宫”,步入“安全稳妥之地”,而这一“安全稳妥之地”并非只需经得起数周、数月甚至是一到两年的时间考验,而是要经历历史的漫长审判。

On Barack Obama   
巴拉克·奥巴马
  
Then there is Barack Obama, who stepped into the aftermath12) of the financial crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And as if that weren’t enough, he faces the challenges of avoiding a double-dip recession13) and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear-weapons capability. As ever, with a new leader, the political character cannot be fully formed or comprehended immediately but happens over time. The personal character, however, is clear: this is a man with steel in every part of him. The expectation of his presidency was beyond exaggeration. The criticism is now exaggerated. He has remained the same throughout. And believe me, that is hard to do.

I think I understand what the new President is trying to do. He is less opposed to some of the aims of the previous President than is supposed. He is under no illusions as to14) the scale of the economic or security challenge and, in his own way, every bit as tough as George. He is trying to shape a different policy to meet these aims, avoiding market excesses in economics and the alienation of America from its allies, potential or actual, in meeting the security challenge.

继布什之后执掌乾坤的是巴拉克·奥巴马,他入主白宫之时,正值金融危机以及伊拉克和阿富汗战争余波未平之际。而仿佛这些考验不够焦头烂额似的,他还面临着避免经济二次衰退和遏制伊朗获取核武器制造能力的挑战。同往常一样,当一个新的领导人上台时,他的政治品质不可能立即得以充分塑造或获得广泛理解,这需要时间的积淀。然而,他的个人品质却彰显无遗:这是个充满着钢铁意志的男人。人们对于他上台执政寄予很高的期待,这样的期待并非是 无道理的夸大。而时下对他的批评则的确是被夸大了。其实一直以来,他始终如一。相信我,这一点很难做到。

我想我知道这位新总统正在努力做的事情是什么。他并非像人们所想的那样如此反对前任总统的一些目标。他只是对所面临的经济或安全方面的艰巨挑战不抱任何幻想,他遵循自己的方式,但一如乔治般强硬和顽强。他正试图打造一种与之前不同的政策来实现这些目标,而在这个过程中,他要力图避免经济上出现市场过剩现象,防止美国在应对安全方面的挑战中疏远盟国——包括潜在的盟国和事实上的盟国。
  
1. vantage  n. 优势,有利情况
2. rapport  n. 和谐,亲善
3. shoot the breeze: 闲谈,吹牛
4. a sprinkling of:少量,一点儿
5. resilience  n. 复原力,(活力、精神等的)恢复力;适应力
6. 这里是指1998年克林顿因与白宫的女秘书莱温斯基有不正当关系而遭到的弹劾。impeachment  n. 弹劾
7. caliber n. 才干
8. ludicrous  adj. 滑稽的,可笑的,荒谬的
9. stumble into:无意中卷入,偶尔走入
10. epicenter n. 震中,中心
11. labyrinth n. 迷宫,错综复杂
12. aftermath  n. 结果,后果
13. double-dip recession:双下沉衰退,也称为“W型衰退”。它是经济衰退的形态之一,指的是经济出现衰退后,出现一个短暂的回升,而后很快又出现衰退的情况。
14. be under no illusion as to:对……不存幻想

49
2010-12-27 16:21 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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