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The assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, and the rationales offered for this killing, exhibit extreme myopia no matter where one looks in space and time.

暗杀伊朗少将卡西姆 · 苏莱曼尼,以及为这次暗杀编织的理由,无论从时间还是空间的角度来看,都表现出极度的短视。

Looking forward, there is no evidence that President Donald Trump’s ordering of the assassination was guided by any appreciation for the ill consequences that would follow, including the recent Iranian retaliation. The administration’s assertions that Americans are now safer are belied by the administration’s own travel advisories and other tacit admissions that Americans are decidedly less safe than they were a week ago. Suggestions that the assassination was intended to pre-empt an imminent Iranian attack—for which the administration has offered no public evidence—are belied by ample indications that the operation was in preparation for some time.

展望未来,没有证据表明,唐纳德 · 特朗普总统下令进行暗杀是出于对随之而来的不良后果的任何认识,包括最近伊朗的报复。
有关暗杀行动是为了预先制止伊朗即将发动的袭击的说法 ( 政府没有提供任何公开证据) 是站不住脚的,有大量迹象表明,这次暗杀行动已经准备了一段时间。

Besides, Suleimani was not the triggerman for any plot that did exist, and killing such a senior leader does not pre-empt anything. Far from the assassination having, as Trump put it, “stopped for good” whatever the Iranians may have been planning, it hardly dents the ability of the Iranian Quds Force, with its deep bench, to operate.

特朗普说,暗杀行动是为了“预先制止” ,不管伊朗人可能在计划什么,它几乎没有削弱伊朗圣城军的运作能力。

That responsibility is not relieved by observations that Suleimani “had blood on his hands” or was “responsible for the death of Americans.” Iranian actions, like the actions of other states, do not take place in a vacuum. Most of those American deaths occurred in a war of choice that the United States launched in Iran’s neighbor Iraq and that triggered both a sectarian civil war and an insurgency against an occupying power. Moreover, applying the bloodied-hands metaphor to a senior military or political leader such as Suleimani, who has ordered or commanded operations amid warfare, opens up one’s own senior military and political leaders to similar rhetorical treatment. How might non-Americans assign responsibility, for example, for the civilian deaths, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, resulting from the offensive war in Iraq that an American president ordered and that U.S. generals commanded?


Beyond the myopia about an immediate destructive past and more destruction yet to come in the immediate future, Americans should reflect on what the assassination of Suleimani (and of a senior Iraqi, in an operation that grossly disregarded Iraqi sovereignty) says about what kind of global citizen the United States has become under Trump. In the past three years, Trump has registered historically low citizenship grades, with behavior ranging from the intentionally destructive, such as crippling international organizations, to the simply boorish, such as shoving heads of government out of the way. But now has come an even more significant and negative departure. The United States had not assassinated foreign leaders, no matter how loathsome they were, for the past half-century—not since the days of exploding cigars intended to kill Cuba’s Fidel Castro and a U.S.-blessed coup in South Vietnam in 1963 that included the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem. With the killing of Suleimani, that moratorium has ended.

除了对眼前的破坏性短视和不久的将来还会出现的更多破坏的目光短浅,美国人应该反思,暗杀苏莱曼尼(以及一名伊拉克高级官员,这次行动严重无视伊拉克主权 ) 说明了在特朗普的领导下,美国已经变成了什么样的世界公民。
自从有人试图用雪茄炸死古巴领导人菲德尔 · 卡斯特罗以及1963年美国支持的南越政变( 包括暗杀总统吴廷琰以来,就没有这样的事情发生过,随着苏莱曼尼的被杀,这一禁令已经结束了。

Apparent exceptions to that moratorium have come within the context of warfare, such as with the opening air salvo of the U.S. war on Iraq in 2003, which included an unsuccessful effort to target Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But if that is considered a precedent, then it means that Trump, despite all he says about not wanting a new war, has already started a such a war with Iran.

这项禁令的明显例外只出现在战争中,例如2003年美国在伊拉克战争中发动空袭,其中包括一次针对伊拉克总统萨达姆 · 侯赛因的失败行动,但如果这被认为是一个先例,那么这意味着,尽管特朗普说不想发动新的战争,但他已经发动了一场与伊朗的战争。

Refraining from assassinating foreign leaders has been a wise American policy, partly to avoid the negative consequences of such killings. The consequences include reprisals by the targeted parties that may be not only in-kind but also take other forms. Moreover, other parties may be encouraged to play the game of nations by such loose and deadly rules. In this regard, it is worth noting that the Russian foreign ministry’s statement about the Suleimani killing included the observation, "We have encountered a new reality—the murder of a representative of the government of a sovereign state, an official in the absence of any legal grounds for these actions."

In addition to avoiding the negative practical consequences, foreswearing the assassination of foreign leaders is a matter of principle. It gets to the character and values of a nation, and to the nation’s self-image and self-esteem. Killing other nations’ leaders is not the sort of thing a good nation does. It is the sort of thing terrorists do.


By doing it, Trump has further discredited whatever he says about terrorism. To talk about Suleimani in the same breath as references to slain ISIS chief Aby Bakr al-Baghdadi, as Trump did in his statement following the assassination, grossly misrepresents Suleimani’s role and status. That status is reflected in the huge crowds of Iranians mourning his death. In a recent poll by the University of Maryland, Iranians named Suleimani as the most popular public figure in their country. And as for terrorism, part of the reason for that popularity was Suleimani’s leading role in successfully combating ISIS, which had conducted major operations against Iran.

特朗普在暗杀事件发生后的声明中把苏莱曼尼和被杀害的 ISIS 头目阿比 · 巴克尔 · 巴格达迪相提并论,严重歪曲了苏莱曼尼的角色和地位,这种地位反映在大批伊朗人哀悼他的死亡。
在最近的一次马里兰大学学院市分校民意调查中,伊朗人将苏莱曼尼 称为他们国家最受欢迎的公众人物。

Openly killing someone with a missile fired from a military drone does not qualify as terrorism according to the official U.S. definition of a terrorist event, which requires it to be perpetrated by either a non-state actor or a clandestine agent of a state. But used for the assassination of a foreign leader, the nature and consequences of the act are the same. The only difference is the available hardware. If Iran had Reaper drones, it no doubt would try to use them to retaliate in kind. But Iran doesn’t have such high-tech aircraft, so its retaliation will use other means that the Trump administration will denounce as terrorism, amid cries to climb another rung on the ladder of escalation that Trump himself created.


If Trump and Pompeo really want to get off that ladder, they need to do more than just say they want de-escalation. They actually need to de-escalate. That means not only backing off from more provocative and deadly kinetic acts; it also means backing off from the economic warfare that started the destructive cycle.


A great nation, as the United States has been throughout its history, sets and observes high standards of international behavior. It does so confident that its strength and character will enable it to protect and advance its interests effectively without stooping to lower standards and doing the sorts of things that rogue states and terrorists do. By acting like a rogue, Trump has diminished America’s greatness.