RAMALLAH, West Bank — Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, finally lost it this month. After a year of bamboozling signals from President Trump, including a cordial White House meeting last May followed by a blowup in Bethlehem weeks later, Abbas dismissed Trump’s peace efforts as the “slap of the century.” He ruled out American mediation.
He called the American ambassador to Israel an “offensive human being” and pronounced the Oslo Accords dead. His tirade was as much an expression of Palestinian impotence as resolve. All Abbas has left is words. Still, it was a striking requiem for the Israeli-Palestinian “ultimate deal” that Trump promised.
So it goes with a president whose foreign policy watchword is “incoherence,” when it’s not outright indecency of the “shithole” variety. Trump has honed offensiveness to a fine art. A diplomatic deal is built with stubborn persistence, not conjured through insult. Only the genius in chief can know how it made sense, a year into Jared Kushner’s Middle Eastern diplomatic labors and before they had yielded a peace plan, to torpedo his efforts.
That is what Trump’s recognition last month of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and subsequent tweeted boast that he’d taken Jerusalem “off the table,” achieved. It was a provocation. To address Jerusalem, city of passions, with such truculence was to invite disaster, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis tried to impress on a president captive to his impulses.
上月特朗普承认耶路撒冷是以色列的首都，后来又发推得意地表示耶路撒冷的问题“不容谈判”，这就是他会得到的结果。这是一种挑衅。耶路撒冷是一座充满激情的城市，要用这样好斗的态度来解决它的问题，只会招来灾祸，国务卿雷克斯·蒂勒森(Rex Tillerson)和国防部长詹姆斯·马蒂斯(James Mattis)也试图让这位爱冲动的总统明白这一点。
The Palestinians have seen the president in all his facets. “Trump was so agitated at the Bethlehem meeting, shouting, accusing Abbas of incitement, saying Abbas was not the nice man he’d believed — it was awful,” Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told me. “But at their next meeting in September, things were fine. Then, all of a sudden, we get this unilateral Jerusalem measure that sabotages everything. So, for us, what sort of message is the president sending?”
One year into the Trump presidency, a lot of people around the world are asking that question. A nation of erratic disruption and “America First” belligerence has supplanted the underwriter of the post-1945 global order. The multilateral institutions of that order — from the United Nations to NATO — are mistrusted by the president. A void has opened up. Neither chaos nor China has quite filled it yet. In Gramsci’s words, written between the 20th century’s two global conflagrations, “The old is dying, and the new cannot be born.”
Trump’s universe is a place of dread, not deals. If there was no catastrophe in the first year, the possibility of one in the second was ratcheted up, from North Korea to Iran. In the National Security Strategy published in December, the subheading under “Diplomacy and Statecraft” is “Competitive Diplomacy” — not cooperation. Money is apparently no object to ensure “weapons systems that clearly overmatch” in “lethality.” Diplomacy, by contrast, requires “efficient use of limited resources.” The evisceration of the State Department and big increases in military budgets reflect Trump’s mind-set.
特朗普的宇宙里充斥着惧怕，而不是交易。如果他上任后的第一年没有发生灾难，那么在第二年里，从朝鲜到伊朗，发生灾难的可能性已经出现提升。在12月发表的《国家安全战略报告》(National Security Strategy)中，“外交与治国方案”下的小标题是“竞争性外交”——而不是合作外交。要保证“武器系统”在“杀伤力”方面“明显超过对手”，花钱显然不在话下。相反，外交方面则需要“有效利用有限的资源”。对国务院预算的削减和军费预算的大幅增加反映了特朗普的思维。
His nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea seems to involve a belief that nuclear war might just be feasible as a means, short of a blood bath, to bloody Kim Jong-un’s nose. That — and I’m being charitable — is hard to imagine. Limited nuclear war is a near oxymoron. It is not inconceivable, however, especially if Trump begins to feel cornered by the Russia investigation and in need of a foreign policy surprise. New lower-yield nuclear weapons, whose threshold for use might be lower, are contemplated in the Pentagon’s draft Nuclear Posture Review. The surprise could also come with Iran. The president’s foolish undermining of the Iran nuclear deal is perverse. If North Korea could have been stopped short of a bomb, as Iran has been, even Trump’s White House would be happy.
他对朝鲜采取的核边缘战略似乎表明，他相信核战争可能是一种可行的手段，不用血流成河，就能给金正恩迎头痛击。这种情况——我厚道地说——很难想象。有限的核战争近乎一种矛盾修辞。然而，这并不是匪夷所思的，特别是如果特朗普开始对通俄门的调查感到不满，并且需要在外交政策方面带来惊人之举。五角大楼的《核态势评估报告》(Nuclear Posture Review)草案考虑了新的低当量核武器，其使用门槛可能较低。伊朗方面也可能带来意外。总统愚蠢地破坏伊朗核协议是非常任性的行为。如果朝鲜能像伊朗那样，在造出炸弹前停止核计划，就连特朗普的白宫都会为此感到高兴的。
But Trump is deaf to reason. He talks of revived American greatness. Yet, as president, he has not set foot in California, where American technology and innovation create companies that capture the world’s imagination. All that interests him is that Californians tend to dislike him. Disrespect, whether domestic or foreign, is intolerable to him.
A global power shift long preceded Trump; China’s share of global output rose to about 15 percent from less than 4 percent in the past two decades. The Obama presidency talked down American greatness. In Syria, Barack Obama’s abdication was complete. But through dereliction, President Trump has fast-forwarded this American retreat.
Of course, mistrust of America’s rivals is not misplaced. Russia and China, ideological foes, are in an assertive and expansionist mood. Russia has won in Syria. It has not retreated in Ukraine. European nations, including Hungary, have proved susceptible to Vladimir Putin’s democratic authoritarianism. Russian cyberattacks on Western democracies have proved disruptive, especially in the United States.
President Xi Jinping of China, in a speech late last year, offered his nation’s model as “a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.” This amounted to a remarkable expression of self-confidence. It is of a piece with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, an attempt to weave other countries’ fates into China’s growing ambitions.
As the Cold War demonstrated, such challenges to American interests are best confronted through coherent strategy backed by a credible threat of force and a clear set of values. This, however, is not Trump’s thing. Value-free outbursts are. The president is “so boxed in on Russia that he’s deprived of any ability to conduct a policy, and that paralysis is dangerous,” Jonathan Eyal, a London-based strategic analyst, told me. On nuclear weapons and on Syria, the United States has no mechanism for dialogue with Russia at the highest level because Trump is frozen in genuflection to Putin, his own National Security Strategy notwithstanding.
With China, too, policy has veered: trade bellicosity one moment, blandishments designed to enlist Beijing’s help in squeezing North Korea the next. Xi, deploying pomp and flattery during the president’s visit last year, knows how to get Trump where he wants him. America First makes China look like the more responsible global power. Tillerson labors to open diplomatic channels to Pyongyang; Trump tells his secretary of state he’s “wasting his time.” In the end the confidence of both China and Russia is buttressed by Trump’s wackiness and compromised hesitations.
Last September, Trump met with Emmanuel Macron, the young president of France, who, unlike Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, has a relationship with him. Syria came up. Trump said he’d hit Syria with 50 missiles after the chemical-weapons infringement. “Didn’t I?” he asked his aides who, in cowering unison, confirmed he had. Iran came up. Macron, like other European leaders, is concerned that the nuclear deal Trump opposes be upheld. Trump was uninterested. He veered off on a bizarre tangent about the trade France does with Iran.
去年9月，特朗普会见了法国年轻的总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)。与德国总理安格拉·默克尔(Angela Merkel)不同，马克龙与特朗普有些交情。谈到叙利亚问题时，特朗普表示，在叙利亚违反化学武器规定后，他用50枚导弹打击了它。“是这样吧？”他问助手们。助手们畏畏缩缩地一致证实的确如此。在提到伊朗问题时，马克龙和其他欧洲领导人一样，认为特朗普反对的核协议应该得到维护。特朗普对此不感兴趣。他突然奇怪地转移话题，谈起法国与伊朗的贸易。
It’s tough to do business with Trump — not least for those who serve him. This month offered the extraordinary spectacle of the United States ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, rebuffing Trump over the new American Embassy that the president had described as being in an “off location” and costing $1.2 billion. It didn’t “cost the U.S. taxpayer a cent,” Johnson retorted. Trump was really looking for a reason to cancel a British trip that would have provoked protests. It has come to this: an American president who’s unwelcome in London!
The unthinkable is now commonplace. Perhaps that’s what Trump wanted above all: to shake up Western complacency over how the world could, and could not, be run. That’s not a bad thing. The anger he intuited among the losers from globalization was real. His words have been worse than his deeds. The global economy is purring. The terrorists of the Islamic State have taken a devastating blow. In a best-case scenario, his wild North Korean threats are just a bad-cop show.
But something terrible, and perhaps irreparable, has happened. The idea of America has been sullied. It has fallen victim to Trump’s untruth, indecency, racism and contempt for the values without which American greatness is inconceivable. The president is at home with despots because he sees himself in them.
Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German ambassador to Washington, told me: “I cannot explain to my 13-year-old daughter, who was born in the United States, that for her, President Trump should be the symbol of the values we stand for: human dignity, personal freedom and so on. A fundamental anchor has been lost.”
The disarray Trump has engendered reflects the degree to which he has turned the meaning of the word “America” on its head. He has empowered bigots, thugs, bullies, racists, nationalists and nativists the world over.
In Israel, I asked Hannah Pollin-Galay, a senior lecturer in Yiddish literature at Tel Aviv University, what she thought of Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. “It destroyed hope on both sides,” she said. “It gives right-wing nationalists the stage and sense they are right. Look! The rightist strategy works. You are rewarded for not listening to the Palestinians, for not sharing holy ground. That is disastrous, the most dangerous thing imaginable.”
在以色列，我询问特拉维夫大学(Tel Aviv University)意第绪语文学高级讲师汉娜·波林-加莱(Hannah Pollin-Galay)对特朗普的耶路撒冷宣言有何看法。“它毁掉了双方的希望，”她说，“它给右翼民族主义者提供了舞台，让他们感觉自己是对的。看！右翼策略起作用了。他们没有倾听巴勒斯坦人的意见，没有分享圣地，却得到了回报。那是灾难性的，是你能想到的最危险的事。”
Gramsci thought the perilous interregnum between world orders was a time of “the most varied morbid symptoms.” Trump’s second year will show whether those he has unleashed, and nurses within himself, can still be contained short of what he calls “fire and fury.”