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(2008-06-18 15:22)
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杂谈

分类: 英文
 

Europe's century

Despite the Irish no vote, the EU's destiny is to lead the world on security, trade and climate change

This past week saw not only the Irish rejection of the Lisbon treaty, forcing a crisis summit this week to chart an alternative path to EU continuity, but also the annual EU-American summit in Slovenia, aiming to forge a common transatlantic agenda on Middle East peace, climate change and trade. The Irish vote is likely to fuel rumours of the EU's demise, yet it is the latter summit that will prove more revealing about its future. While mending transatlantic divides is commendable, the summit presents an opportunity to rectify misperceptions about the US leading and Europe following on global issues. No matter who occupies the White House, the actual trend is the reverse.

On May 23 in Brasilia, a treaty was signed to establish Unasur, the South American union of nations. It was the most recent example of the real geopolitical revolution that has been under way since the end of the second world war: the regionalisation of international relations on the precedent set by the six nations who established the Treaty of Rome, which became the European Economic Community in 1957. It was this breakthrough in thinking that offers the greatest potential to prevent the return of what conservative thinkers take for granted: superpower conflict between the US and China, or an east-west conflict between democracies and autocracies.

From the Association of South East Asian Nations to Unasur and the African Union, it is globalisation within regions that has become the driving narrative of political and economic life. The issue is not whether rival trade blocks will emerge, but rather that each regional grouping promises to eliminate conflict among its members, as Europeans have done. The US is no longer providing the security blanket or umbrella; rather, each region is building its own.

For elite observers in western capitals, it has always been easier to conceive of globalisation as global first and local second. Globalisation is thought to be synonymous with westernisation. But in many places today, globalisation starts with bringing down barriers between neighbours, building common diplomatic institutions and eventually even common armies, peacekeeping forces, and criminal courts - all of which the AU has now established.

A world of regions still needs leadership, but not necessarily a single leader. While many have fretted that Europe follows the US without providing an alternative course, in fact the EU has been providing this model for decades, and it is bearing fruit around the developing world, despite the US's post-9/11 actions, which have served only to discredit the west.

Today the EU provides more than itself as an institutional model. Its emissions trading system is the world's leading carbon market and a model progressive US voices yearn to replicate. It is the largest aid donor and market for goods from developing countries. And next year it will launch an external action service through which eventually the embassies of the EU will be larger abroad than those of individual members. The EU is not finished: even if its expansion stops at 30 or 35 members, its global presence will be increasingly felt on matters of global concern.

Even as multilateral institutions such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank strive for reform to remain relevant, the EU has paved the way for a world of unions to focus on resolving their own problems and managing globalisation as collectives. One sees this in East Asia's selective integration of WTO standards, and even in the push for an EU-style North American union to boost competitiveness. Europe has become the gold standard for creating such institutions, and is far better poised than the US to be the arbiter of disputes among them.

A future concert of powers among the US, China and EU - capable of setting basic global standards and leveraging the adherence of other major powers such as Russia and India - is a vision with which Americans should be familiar, for it resembles Roosevelt's "Four Policemen". A half century later, it is clear who the three most influential global actors are and who must assume responsibility for preserving peace. But among these three, the EU has the most credibility today, and must ensure that the other two do not return the 21st century to the 19th.

· Parag Khanna directs the global governance initiative at the New America Foundation and is author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order; Alpo Rusi is ambassador in the office of the president of the UN's general assembly and author of Dangerous Peace: New Rivalry in World Politics
www.paragkhanna.com

欧洲世纪

 
 
 
 
在过去一周,人们看到爱尔兰拒绝里斯本条约,迫使本周召开危机峰会制定维护欧盟连贯性的另一道路,但人们也看到在斯洛文尼亚举行的年度欧盟-美国峰会,旨在就中东和平、气候变化和贸易达成共同议程。爱尔兰的表决可能助长关于欧盟消逝的流言,然而斯洛文尼亚峰会对欧盟的未来却更具启发意义。修补大西洋两岸分歧的工作值得称道,而且峰会呈现了一个机会,修正人们认为在全球问题上美国领导欧洲跟随的错误印象。

  在5月23日,在巴西利亚,一份关于成立南美洲国家联盟(UNASUR)的条约签订了。这是二战结束后一直在进行的真实地缘政治革命的最新例子:1957年签订《罗马条约》的六个国家打开了国际关系区域化的先例。正是这种思维的突破,最有潜力阻止世界回归保守派思想家视为理所当然的事物:美国和中国之间的超级大国冲突,或者民主和专制之间的东西方冲突。

  从东盟到南美洲国家联盟到非洲联盟,区域内的全球化变成政治和经济生活的故事。问题不在于会否出现敌对的贸易区域,而在于各区域组织承诺消除成员间的摩擦,就像欧洲人那样。美国不再提供安全覆盖或保护伞;而是每个区域建立自己的安全覆盖。

  对于西方的精英观察家而言,构想全球为先、地方第二的全球化比较容易。全球化被认为是西方化的同义词。但如今在很多地方,全球化以拆除邻国之间的壁垒为开端,建立共同外交机构,最后甚至建立共同的军队、维和部队以及刑事法庭。

  区域世界需要领袖,但不一定是单一的领袖。很多人担心欧洲会一心追随美国,事实上,欧盟数十年来一直在提供它自己的模式,而且在发展中国家取得成果。

  如今欧盟作为一种制度模式已经超越自身。它的排放权交易机制是世界主要的碳交易市场,是美国改革派渴望复制的模式。它是发展中国家最大的援助者和商品市场。明年它将推出对外行动服务机构,这些机构最终成为欧盟的大使馆,将比成员国的大使馆都要大。欧盟还没有完成:即使它的扩张止步于30到35个成员国,但人们在全球关注的问题上将越发感受到欧盟的全球影响力。

  当联合国、国际货币基金组织和世界银行等多国机构努力改革以维持影响力,欧盟已经为关注解决自身问题以及集体处理全球化的联盟世界铺路。有人在东亚选择性融合世界贸易组织标准中看到这一点,甚至在欧盟式北美联盟的推动中看到这一点。欧洲已经变成建立此类机构的黄金标准,而且比美国更有准备成为纠纷仲裁者。

  美国应该熟悉未来美国、中国和欧盟之间的权力协调,因为那类似于罗斯福的“四个警察”。半个世纪后,人们已经清楚哪三个是最有影响力的全球玩家,谁必须承担维和和平的责任。但在这三个玩家当中,欧盟如今最具公信力,必须确保另外两个玩家不要把21世纪倒退回19世纪

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  • News
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  • Young author gives a voice to China's rebel generation

    A bestseller turns the spotlight on moody middle-class teenagers, reports Jason Burke in Beijing

    Chinese author Tang Chao

    Chinese author Tang Chao

    He is sullen, brooding, 15 years old and now among China's bestselling authors. Tang Chao's paperback, Give Me Back The Dream, a dark tale of unrequited teenage love, conflict with parents and adolescent suicide, reached the top of the bestseller lists last week, a success confirming the coming of age of what has been dubbed the country's 'Generation Z'.

    'I just tell the story of people I know,' Tang said in a telephone interview from his home in the central Chinese city of Chengdu. 'We are the post-Nineties generation and society doesn't understand us.'

    Such sentiments might be the staple of sulky adolescents in the West, but they are new in China. If the country's Generation X grew up in the aftermath of the devastating Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, and Generation Y enjoyed the extraordinary economic growth of the Eighties and Nineties, 'Generation Z' has a different teen spirit.

    Books such as Give Me Back The Dream and the 'adolescent anguish' series of Rao Xuenan sell millions of copies. So do the novels of Guo Jingming, 24 - whose melancholy young heroes seek an answer to their anguish by sitting alone on top of high buildings for hours pondering their plight or by plunging into a vortex of violence, alcohol and karaoke. Alternative music with a darker, more nihilistic style than the saccharine pop that has dominated the Chinese market for a decade is also beginning to make inroads. More than anything, the real novelty is simply the idea that teenagers can be grumpy, hostile and apathetic.

    'Our parents think we are like them, but we are not,' said Ye Jiadi, 18, smoking a cigarette outside the D-22 club in the university area of Beijing early yesterday. 'We just want to hang out. We don't want to live like our fathers lived. We have our own way.'

    In a country where hundreds of millions still live below the poverty line, the 'Z' phenomenon remains restricted to the comfortable and educated middle class of urban centres, but nevertheless many still see it as significant.

    'The writers say what their readers - high-school students for the most part - want to say themselves,' said Zheng Tan, professor of literature at Fudan University, Shanghai. 'These are people who have grown up in a China that is becoming steadily wealthier, and as material conditions have improved they have become more concerned with private emotion.'

    The work of the new writers is also less politically controversial. 'Their focus is very personal and they deal less with social, political or economic themes. So the government leaves them alone - and that suits everybody, publishers, authors and consumers alike,' Zheng said.

    For Deng Jun, a child psychologist in Beijing, books such as Give Me Back the Dream portray the reality for millions of young people. 'Official government statistics speak of between 500 and 700 teenagers reported with depression in China, but these figures are very conservative,' she said. 'The hotline I run received more than 2,500 calls in the last year from young people showing depressive tendencies.'

    A further problem is China's 30-year-old policy limiting parents to one child. 'This has created a generation of over-indulged children who have little ability to confront disappointment or hardship,' Deng said. 'There is also an enormous pressure on only children to succeed. They feel depressed, anguished and can easily become suicidal. They often have problems making friends.'

    In Tang's book, one character kills himself by jumping from the top of his apartment block after a row with his ambitious parents, who have banned him from pursuing a love affair with a schoolmate for fear it could damage his exam results. Young fans of the author said he was describing something many of them felt.

    'Our generation lack confidence, and as we are often only children we are terrified of being alone or losing friends,' said Wei Peng Fei, 17, a schoolgirl queuing to buy Tang's book at a central Beijing bookshop.

    A series of studies in recent years have revealed that Chinese teenagers are smoking and drinking more and having sex at a younger age. Another concern is internet addiction. The government has set up a series of centres which use a mixture of military-style bootcamp discipline and sympathy to treat teenagers who had become dependent on the internet, particularly on video games.

    Yet Rao Xuenan, 35, whose Young Anguish series has sold millions, says that the 'post-1990s generation' also have 'a positive side' that is often forgotten. The recent earthquake in which 70,000 died has brought out the best in many teenagers in the wave of solidarity and charity activism that swept China, he said. 'I thought they were just anguished and depressed but they are much stronger and less selfish than we imagined.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
年轻作家发出中国叛逆一代的声音
这个闷闷不乐的15岁少年如今是中国畅销书作家之一。唐朝(Tang Chao)的《把梦还我》讲的是关于少年爱情未得回报、与家长冲突、青少年自杀的阴郁故事,上周登上畅销书榜首,这个成功确认该国Z一代的来临。

  唐朝表示,“我只是说出我所认识的人的故事。我们是‘90后’,社会不了解我们。”

  在西方闷闷不乐的青少年当中,这种情绪可能很普通,但在中国却是新鲜事。如果说该国的X一代成长于文革之后,Y一代则享受了八九十年代非凡的经济增长,那么Z一代则是有着不同的阴郁精神(teen spirit)。

  《把梦还我》等书热销。24岁的郭敬明的小说也很畅销,他书中忧郁的青年英雄想为他们的苦恼寻找答案,要么独坐高楼数小时思考他们的困境,要么陷入暴力、究竟和卡拉OK的漩涡。更阴沉虚无的的另类音乐开始侵入。更重要的是,真正的新意在于认为青少年也可以是暴戾的、敌对的、冷漠的。

  这个国家仍然有数以亿计的民众生活在贫困线以下,Z一代现象仍然仅限于城市中心生活舒适的、受过教育的中产阶级,但仍然有很多人认为它是重要的。

  复旦大学文学教授郑潭(音译,Zheng Tan)表示,作者们说出读者(主要是高中生)想说的事情,那些成长于日渐富裕的中国的人们变得更加关注个人的情感。

  这些新作家的作品较少政治争议性。郑潭表示,他们的焦点非常个人化,较少处理社会、政治或经济主题,因此政府也由得他们。

  北京的儿童心理学家邓君(音译,Deng Jun)认为,《把梦还我》等书描述了数百万青少年的现实。“我经营的热线去年接到超过2500个来自有抑郁倾向的年轻人的电话。”

  更进一步的问题是中国实施了三十年的独生子女政策。邓君表示,儿童过于受宠,没有能力面对失望或者艰难。而且独生子女承受很大的期望压力,他们感到沮丧、苦恼、容易有自杀倾向、而且在交朋友方面也有问题。

  近年来的系列调查显示中国青少年吸烟、喝酒、发生性行为的年龄更趋年轻化。另一个令人关注的问题是沉迷互联网。政府已经设立一系列的中心,以军队纪律结合同情来治疗依赖互联网的青少年

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分类: 英文
 

How Iran Has Bush Over a Barrel

An aircraft of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards flying over an oil tanker during in the Persian Gulf.
An aircraft of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards flying over an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
AFP / Getty
If wasn't clear before it should be now: the Bush Administration can't afford to attack Iran. With gas already at $4 a gallon and rising almost every day, Iran figuratively and literally has the United States over a barrel. As much as the Administration is tempted, it is not about to test Iran's promise to "explode" the Middle East if it is attacked

The Iranians haven't been shy about making clear what's at stake. If the U.S. or Israel so much as drops a bomb on one of its reactors or its military training camps, Iran will shut down Gulf oil exports by launching a barrage of Chinese Silkworm missiles on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and Arab oil facilities. In the worst case scenario, seventeen million barrels of oil would come off world markets.

One oil speculator told me that oil would hit $200 a barrel within minutes. But Iran's official news agency, Fars, puts it at $300 a barrel. I asked him if Iran is right, what does that mean?

"Four-dollar-a-gallon of gasoline only reflects $100 oil because the refiners' margins are squeezed," he said. "At $300, you have $12 a gallon of gasoline and riots in Newark, Los Angeles, Harlem, Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit, Dallas."

In either case, whether at $200 or $300, Bush does not want to be the President who leaves the White House on a mule-drawn cart. But Iran's blackmail is not just about oil. The Iranians truly believe they have us hostage in Iraq — our supply lines, the acquiescence of the Shi'a in the occupation. It would all change in an instant, though, especially if we were to borrow Iraq to attack Iran. The way Fars put it: "In Iraq, fighters would rise up in solidarity with each other and begin ... making the Tet Offensive in 1968 Vietnam."

If this all sounds very alarming, Iran meant it to, and it seems to be working. On Tuesday Bush was talking about the prospect of new sanctions rather than attacking.

Which leaves Israel. Are the Israelis, who have a lot more on their minds than the price of gas in the United States, going to launch a pre-emptive attack? One hard and fast rule in the Middle East is never rule out Israel's readiness to turn the table over. But an Israeli hawk on Iran, with close ties to Israel's Ministry of Defense, told me to forget about it. "There's not a chance Israel will do anything. Maybe there's a window after the American elections and the new President but even that's doubtful. Washington does not have the stomach for another war."

Israel cannot attack or contain Iran on its own; it needs the full military might of the United States behind it. So in the meantime Israel can only huff and puff, hoping new sanctions on Iran will do the trick.

伊朗如何任意摆布布什

如果以前不清楚,现在应该清楚了:布什政府打不起伊朗。汽油已经涨到4美元一加仑,而且几乎每天都在涨,伊朗无论是在象征意义上还是实际上都任意摆布美国。尽管政府蠢蠢欲动,但它不打算考验伊朗说自己一旦受攻击就“引爆”中东的诺言。

  伊朗人并不羞于表明筹码。如果美国或以色列向伊朗反应堆或军事训练营投炸弹,伊朗就会向霍尔木兹海峡的油轮及阿拉伯石油设施连续发射中国桑蚕(Chinese Silkworm)导弹,封锁海湾石油出口。按照最坏的设想,会有1700万桶石油离开世界市场。

  一位石油投机者表示,石油会在几分钟内突破200美元每桶。但伊朗官方新闻机构Fars说会涨到300美元每桶。我问那位投机者伊朗的说法对不对,这意味着什么?

  他表示,“汽油4美元一加仑反映的是100美元每桶的石油价格,因为炼油商的利润受到挤榨。到300美元每桶的时候,一加仑汽油就要12美元,而且纽瓦克(Newark)、洛杉矶、哈林(Harlem)、奥克兰、克里夫兰(Cleveland)、底特律、达拉斯就会有暴动。”

  无论是200美元每桶还是300美元每桶,布什都不希望自己坐着骡拉车离开白宫。但伊朗的勒索不仅仅与石油有关。伊朗人真的相信他们抓住我们在伊拉克的人质——我们的供应线,我们默许什叶派占据。但是,一切将立即改变,特别是如果我们打算借伊拉克袭击伊朗。Fars是这样说的:“在伊拉克,战斗员将团结起来叛变,并开始……制造越南1968年 的‘新年攻势(Tet Offensive)’。”

  这些听起来非常令人担忧,但伊朗就是这个意思,而且似乎奏效了。布什周二(10日)谈论新的制裁,而不是谈论袭击。

  这就剩下以色列了。以色列人的心事远不止是汽油的价格,他们会发起先发制人的袭击吗?中东有一条不可违逆的规则:从来不排除以色列准备翻脸的可能性。但一位以色列鹰派叫我忘掉这条规则。这位与以色列国防部有密切联系的鹰派表示,“以色列没有机会做任何事,可能在美国大选后有新转机,但这也是不能确定的。华盛顿无法再容忍一场战争。”

  以色列无法自己袭击或牵制伊朗;它需要美国的全力支持。因此在此期间,以色列只能气鼓鼓,希望对伊朗的新制裁将达到目的

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Subsidies: a big culprit in high gas prices

Gasoline would be cheaper if countries ended their oil subsidies and let markets rule.

In China, the government caps gas prices. Drivers there pay about half of what Americans pay. In many countries, oil prices are held artificially low, either by fiat or subsidy. The result? Consumption keeps rising, boosting global prices. The rest of the world – the part now racing to conserve – ends up paying more than it should.

Unfair?

Yes, say global actors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is calling on governments to let consumers face market prices in order to kick-start conservation and reduce official spending.

About half of humanity, from India to Chile, now benefits from cut-rate petroleum prices. In 2008, these countries will account for all the growth in world oil demand, or an additional one million barrels a day, according to Deutsche Bank. Their consumption will be the highest in eight years.

And these subsidies will cost as much as $100 billion in 2008, or twice as much as last year, estimates the International Energy Agency. That would be money better spent on reducing oil use – what's called "demand erosion" – than encouraging it. And sadly, it is the rich who benefit the most. The IMF says the top one-fifth of households in income receive 42 percent of fuel subsidies because they are the heaviest users.

Shielding consumers from the real costs of an oil-based economy only makes it more difficult for them to face the coming end of the oil era.

For wealthier nations that generally shun subsidies, the price of oil – still over $130 a barrel – is quickly altering lifestyles.

As onerous as it is for Americans to bear $4-a-gallon gasoline, the results are encouraging. Mass transit use is way up and oil demand is falling. For the first time since 1979, the number of miles driven has dropped. And General Motors is weighing an end to production of the Hummer as buyers flee such gas-guzzling vehicles.

A few nations that do subsidize fuel are feeling the financial pinch on budgets and moving to reduce subsidies or end price caps, despite street protests against such moves. Most of them are in Asia, the region that will account for 70 percent of the increase in oil demand this year.

In China, oil demand is estimated to rise 5 to 10 percent this year, but the government has resisted calls to end price controls. A few other countries – Chile and South Korea – are now moving toward subsidies to appease political pressures.

The biggest culprits are oil exporting nations, especially in the Gulf. They continue to throw petrodollars at both fuel subsidies and big projects that consume oil.

In Europe, political pressures are building to reduce fuel taxes, similar to a call by John McCain to suspend the federal gas tax for the summer. Such moves would be a mistake. Fuel taxes help send the right price signals for conserving oil as well as reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

In Congress, bills to combat global warming would raise costs for oil users, even possibly adding a dollar to gasoline prices. But proposals by lawmakers to relieve those costs with subsidies to consumers would only defeat the purpose of reducing oil demand.

Governments that try to create a false economy for oil are not revealing the truth to their people.

高油价的一大罪人:津贴

在中国,政府给汽油价格设定上限。那里的司机所支付的约为美国人支付的一半。在许多国家,油价被人为压低,要么通过法令,要么通过补贴。结果呢?消费量持续上涨,推高全球价格。结果,世界其他地方(如今努力节能的地方)就要支付更多。

  不公平?

  没错,国际货币基金会等呼吁各国政府让消费者直面市场价格,以厉行节能,减少官方开支。

  从印度到智利,半数的人类如今从汽油打折价中获益。根据德国银行的数据,在2008年,世界石油需求的增长(每天额外增加的100万桶)都来自这些国家。他们的消费量将处于八年来的最高点。

  国际能源机构估计,在2008年,这些津贴耗费高达1000亿美元,是去年的两倍。这笔钱如能用于节约石油而不是鼓励使用石油,那就好了。可悲的是,富裕者最得益。国际货币基金组织称收入最高的五分之一家庭拿到42%的燃油津贴,因为他们是最大的用户。

  不让消费者直面石油经济的真正成本,只会令他们更难面对即将来临的石油时代之末。

  对于通常避免这些津贴的富裕国家而言,石油价格迅速改变生活方式。

  美国人艰难承受4美元一加仑的汽油,但结果令人鼓舞。公共交通的使用量上升,石油的需求下降。自1979年来,驾驶的英里数首次减少。通用汽车正在权衡停产悍马(Hummer),因为买家现在回避这种耗油量大的车辆。

  少数几个津贴燃料的国家感受到预算的财政压力,准备减少津贴或者取消价格上限,尽管民众上街抗议反对这样的举措。他们多数在亚洲,这个地区将占今年石油需求增长的70%。

  在中国,石油需求今年预计上涨5%到10%,但政府顶住那些呼吁终结价格控制的呼声。少数其他国家(包括智利和韩国)如今走向津贴,以缓解政治压力。

  最大的罪人是石油出口国家,特别是海湾国家。它们继续投入石油美元助长津贴,支持消耗石油的大项目。

  在欧洲,正在形成减少燃油税的政治压力,类似于马侃呼吁夏季暂停联邦汽油税。这样的举动是错误的。燃油税有助于发送正确的价格信号,节省石油,同时减少导致气候变化的温室气体。

  在美国国会,对付全球变暖的法案将提高石油用户的成本,甚至可能让油价再升一美元。但议员们提出以津贴消费者来减轻成本的建议只会挫伤减少石油需求的目的。

  试图创造虚假石油经济的政府没有向他们的民众揭示这个真相

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June 11, 2008

EU referendum: The Luck of the Irish

The Irish should vote to free us all from the Lisbon Treaty and the loss of sovereignty it represents

Oh, for the luck of the Irish. They are the only people in Europe to have a vote on the future of the European Union. That is thanks to their Constitution, not their leaders. Until recently the Irish Establishment had assumed that its citizens would rubber-stamp the Lisbon treaty, the repackaged EU constitution. Now, in the face of a formidable “no” campaign, it is trying to scare them into doing so. That tomorrow's poll is too close to call, in a country that has benefited so much from EU largesse, is a measure of how wrong-headed the whole process has been.

The Irish “no” coalition is a ragbag that includes Sinn Fein, pro-life campaigners and business executives. Like the French and Dutch rejections of the EU constitution in 2003, an Irish “no” vote would have its own parochial dimension. But that would not undermine its legitimacy. Most of those planning to vote “no” tomorrow have one thing in common: they do not trust a treaty that they do not understand. They show a good deal more common sense than the politicians.

The lack of clarity should make it impossible for any country to sign this document. It is a piece of deliberate obfuscation by technocrats who wish to proceed with a considerable erosion of national sovereignty under a smokescreen of “tidying up”. As a result of its vague wording, the treaty is dangerously ambiguous. Countries which imagine that they have negotiated opt-outs from unpopular bits risk finding out in years to come that the European Court of Justice takes a different view.

The “yes” camp argues that the Lisbon treaty is essential to the smooth functioning of the EU after enlargement, and that a rejection will throw the institutions into “chaos”. But the European Union is not paralysed. In the past year alone, 177 EU directives have passed into British law.

It is equally disingenuous to portray the treaty as a purely administrative exercise to cope with enlargement. A change in voting weights is an inevitable consequences of the arrival of new members, although small states such as Ireland stand to lose out disproportionately from that, and from the reduction in commissioners. But enlargement is no justification for the proposed removal of more than 40 vetoes in areas ranging from “economic co-ordination” to energy policy. The Lisbon treaty would give the European Court of Justice jurisdiction over crime and justice matters for the first time. It would make the EU a legal personality, able to sign treaties in its own right. Through a self-amending clause it would allow ministers to abolish national vetoes without any further treaty, and so without ratification by national parliaments or referendums. It is anti-democratic at its very core.

These changes, and others, would dramatically alter the powers of member states. Politicians hold these powers in trust for the people. They are not theirs to give away by executive order. Gordon Brown was wrong to insist that Labour's manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the EU constitution did not apply to the Lisbon treaty. He has wilfully ignored the evidence of two select committees that the two documents were substantially similar.

The Lisbon treaty does nothing about EU corruption and waste, which have returned to centre stage this week. It does nothing about the EU's notorious farm subsidies. It enshrines, rather than bridges, the gulf between the public and the elite. Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister, has implied that an Irish “no” vote would be a vote to “disengage” from Europe. That is disingenuous. An Irish “no” would signal that the elites must go back to the drawing board. Deprived of our own vote, we must pin our hopes on Ireland to speak for all of us.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
欧盟公投:爱尔兰人之幸
哦,爱尔兰人的运气。他们是欧洲唯一可以为欧盟未来表决的人们。那是因为他们的宪法,不是因为他们的领袖。直到最近,爱尔兰当局假定它的公民会不经审查就批准里斯本条约(重新包装的欧盟宪法)。如今,在强大可畏的“说不”运动面前,它试图吓唬他们顺从。明日(12日)的投票无法猜测(这个国家从欧盟的慷慨中获得很多好处),但可以衡量整个进程有多错。

  爱尔兰的“说不”联盟是一个杂烩,包括新芬党(Sinn Fein),反堕胎运动家和商界人士。和法国及荷兰2003年拒绝欧盟宪法一样,爱尔兰“说不”有其狭隘性。但这无损于它的合法性。大多数打算“说不”的人有一个共同点:他们不会信任一个他们并不了解的条约。他们展示的常识出比政治家多得多。

  缺乏明确性这一点让任何国家都不可能签署这份文件。它是技术官僚蓄意制造的混乱,那些技术官僚希望在“整理(tidying up)”的烟幕下大大削弱国家主权。由于用词含糊,该条约危险地模棱两可。

  “支持”阵营认为里斯本条约本质上是为了让扩大后的欧盟运作顺畅,而表示反对会令这个机构陷入“混乱”。但欧盟没有瘫痪。仅在过去一年,就有177条欧盟指示进入英国法律。

  把该条约描述成应对欧盟扩张的、纯粹的行政做法也同样危险。新成员加入,投票权重必然改变。但扩张并不能成为取消从经济合作到能源政策等超过40个领域的否决权的理由。里斯本条约将让欧洲法院(European Court of Justice)首次获得犯罪与司法问题的权限。赋予欧盟法人资格,可以凭借自身的权利签署条约。它将通过自我修正的条款,允许部长们取消国家否决,而无须更多条约,无须国家议会或公投的批准。其核心是反民主。

  这些以及其他一些改变将显著改变成员国的权力。政治家行使民众托管的权力。戈登·布朗错误地坚称工党承诺就欧盟宪法举行公投的宣言并不适用于里斯本条约。他任性地忽视两个专责委员会提供的、关于这两份文件大致相同的证据。

  里斯本条约没有提到欧盟的腐败与浪费。它没有提到欧盟声名狼藉的农业津贴。它凸显公众与精英之间的沟壑,而不是充当桥梁。爱尔兰总理科恩(Brian Cowen)已经暗示爱尔兰的否决票相当于支持“脱离”欧洲。那是狡猾的说法。爱尔兰“说不”将表明精英必须重新筹划。我们自己的表决权被剥夺了,我们只能寄望于爱尔兰为我们所有人发言。

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(2008-06-11 20:26)
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 Editorial

Threatening Iran

Published: June 10, 2008

Israeli leaders spent last week talking tough about Iran and threatening possible military action. The United States and the other major powers need to address Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but with more assertive diplomacy — including greater financial pressures — not more threats or war planning.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who is bedeviled by a corruption scandal that could drive him from office, led the charge. “The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means,” he said in Washington, a day before meeting President Bush at the White House.

Then Israel’s transportation minister, Shaul Mofaz, who is jockeying to replace Mr. Olmert as head of the ruling Kadima Party if the prime minister is forced to resign, declared that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks “unavoidable.”

We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors in Washington — or what Mr. Olmert heard from Mr. Bush. But saber-rattling is not a strategy. And an attack on Iran by either country would be disastrous.

Unlike in 1981, when Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, there is no single target. A sustained bombing campaign would end up killing many civilians and still might not cripple Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran also has many frightening ways to retaliate. And even Arab states who fear Iran shudder at the thought of America, or its ally Israel, bombing another Muslim country and the backlash that that could provoke.

Mr. Olmert may be trying to divert attention from his political troubles. Still, there is no denying a growing and understandable sense of urgency in Israel, which Iran’s president has threatened with elimination. A recent report by United Nations inspectors on Iran’s nuclear progress, and worrisome links to military programs, has only fanned those fears.

Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, is scheduled to visit Tehran later this month to discuss, in more detail, an incentives package first offered in 2006 by the United States and other major powers. It is likely to fall far short — both in incentives and punishments — of what is needed to get Tehran’s attention.

There is no indication it will contain tougher sanctions — including a broader ban on doing business with Iranian banks and bans on arms sales and new investments. It also needs a stronger commitment from Washington to lift sanctions and to fully engage Iran if it abandons its nuclear efforts. The United States is the only major power not sending a diplomat with Mr. Solana.

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain disagree on holding direct talks with Iran (Mr. Obama would; Mr. McCain would not). But last week, both endorsed enhanced sanctions, including limiting gasoline exports to Iran. That is an idea well worth exploring. Iran relies on a half-dozen companies for 40 percent of its gasoline imports. The United Nations Security Council is unlikely to authorize a squeeze, but quiet American and European appeals might persuade some companies to slow deliveries, and it would grab Tehran’s attention.

On his trip to Europe this week, President Bush is expected to press the Europeans to further reduce Iran-related export credits and cut ties with Iran’s financial institutions. He also must make clear that America will do its part on incentives. We wish he had the will and the skill to propose a grand bargain — and to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver it. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that. At a minimum, he should send a senior official with Mr. Solana to Tehran.

If sanctions and incentives cannot be made to work, the voices arguing for military action will only get louder. No matter what aides may be telling Mr. Bush and Mr. Olmert — or what they may be telling each other — an attack on Iran would be a disaster.

威胁伊朗

以色列领袖上周放出强硬的话,威胁可能对伊朗采取军事行动。美国和其他大国要解决德黑兰的核野心,但不是用威胁或者战争计划,而是以更自信的外交,包括实施更大的经济压力。

  以色列总理奥尔默特深陷可能导致他下台的贪腐丑闻,是他发起了这种指控。在白宫会晤布什总统的前一天,他在华盛顿表示必须用所有可能的手段制止伊朗的威胁。

  然后以色列的运输部长莫法兹(Shaul Mofaz)宣布,以色列袭击伊朗核地点看来是“不可避免的”。若奥尔默特被迫辞职,莫法兹渴望取代奥尔默特成为执政的“前进党(Kadima Party)”的党魁。

  我们不知道华盛顿闭门会谈背后的事情,不知道奥尔默特从布什那里听到什么。但叫嚣武力不是战略。无论两国无论谁袭击伊朗都将是一个灾难。

  在1981年,以色列摧毁伊朗奥西拉克(Osirak)核反应堆,但如今没有单一的目标。持续的轰炸将造成很多平民伤亡,而且可能根本无法削弱伊朗的核计划。德黑兰也有很多可怕的报复方法。甚至连畏惧伊朗的阿拉伯国家,想到美国或其盟友以色列再轰炸一个穆斯林国家都会不寒而栗,可能挑起反弹。

  奥尔默特可能试图转移大家对其政治麻烦的视线。但是,以色列的紧迫感无可否认与日俱增,这是可理解的,因为伊朗的总统曾扬言消灭以色列。联合国检查员最近一份关于伊朗核计划的报告只会助长这些恐惧。

  欧盟外交政策高级代表索拉纳(Javier Solana)计划在本月晚些时候访问德黑兰,更详细地讨论美国和其他大国在2006年首次提出的奖励方案。无论是奖励还是惩罚,它可能远远未能引起德黑兰的注意。

  没有迹象表明它将包含更严厉的制裁——包括更广泛地禁止与伊朗银行做生意,禁止军售和投资。而且它需要华盛顿作出更强的承诺,如果伊朗弃核就取消制裁,全面接触伊朗。美国是唯一一个没有派出外交官追随索拉纳的大国。

  参议员奥巴马和马侃在与伊朗直接谈判的问题上意见不一(奥巴马统一;马侃不同意)。但上周,两人都认可实施制裁,包括限制对伊朗的汽油出口。这是一个值得探讨的想法。伊朗40%的进口汽油要依赖几家公司。联合国安理会不大可能授权挤压,但美国和欧洲静悄悄的呼吁可能说服一些公司放缓交付,这会引起德黑兰的注意。

  布什总统本周访问欧洲,预计他会敦促欧洲人进一步减少与伊朗相关的出口信贷,切断与伊朗金融机构的联系。他还必须清楚表明美国将作出自己的奖励。我们希望他有意愿有技巧地提出一个大计,并派出国务卿赖斯兑现计划。不幸的是,没有这样的迹象。他至少应该派出一名参议院官员和索拉纳一起前往伊朗。

  如果没有制定可行的制裁和奖励,呼吁军事行动的声音只会有增无减。无论幕僚怎样给布什和奥尔默特讲,无论布什和奥尔默特互相说了什么,袭击伊朗将是一个灾难

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(2008-06-11 20:25)
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Israel's Syria Card

Talks with Damascus about a peace deal are worth trying, but a breakthrough is probably a long way off.

 

AS THE CHALLENGE from Iran has grown, the United States and its allies have repeatedly been tantalized by the possibility of driving a wedge between Tehran and its chief Arab ally, Syria. The two countries work together to sponsor the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip; removing Syria from the equation could cripple Iran's bid to become the dominant power in the Middle East. The problem is how to move the murderous and corrupt regime of Bashar al-Assad, which hosts Hamas's leadership and is under investigation by the United Nations for assassinating Lebanese politicians. Sanctions against Syria have been too weak to be effective, and most of the political bribes that might interest Mr. Assad would be self-defeating -- such as allowing him to restore Syria's political hegemony over Lebanon.

Oddly, the key to unlocking this puzzle may be held by Israel, Syria's mortal enemy. A central Syrian goal remains recovering the Golan Heights, territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war. In the past, Israel has been willing to discuss the return of the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace settlement with Damascus; in 2000, a deal broke down over the question of a few hundred yards of disputed territory along the Sea of Galilee. Now Israel has a larger incentive than ever to negotiate: its preoccupation with Iran and its Lebanese and Palestinian proxies. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to begin exploratory talks with Syria a year ago, using Turkey as an intermediary, was a logical one.

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What remains unclear is whether either side seeks more than short-term tactical gain from the talks, which were publicly revealed by the two governments late last month. For Syria, the public announcement of the talks -- which it pressed for -- eases the isolation that the Bush administration has tried to impose on Mr. Assad and distracts attention from his continuing campaign of murder in Lebanon. Soon after the announcement, several European governments resumed their contacts with Damascus. For its part, Israel calculates that even the suggestion of a peace deal must place strain on relations between Damascus and Tehran. And Mr. Olmert, in danger of criminal indictment, also benefits from a change of subject.

For now, it's difficult to believe that either side is willing or able to strike a larger bargain. In the absence of a convincing demonstration of change in Syria's strategic orientation, most Israelis and their representatives in parliament will strongly oppose giving up the Golan. Mr. Assad has become so deeply enmeshed in his alliance with Iran and in criminality in Lebanon that he is almost certainly incapable of such a switch. He recently told a visiting British delegation that asking for a rupture in his ties with Iran was comparable to demanding a break between the United States and Israel. If that's true, the talks Turkey is sponsoring will prove to be another dead end.

以色列的叙利亚牌

 

随着伊朗的挑战增大,离间德黑兰和叙利亚的可能性多次逗弄美国及其盟友。叙利亚是伊朗主要的阿拉伯盟友。两国一起支持黎巴嫩的真主党以及加沙地带的哈马斯;拿掉叙利亚就可以削弱伊朗争取成为中东主导势力的计划。问题是如何推动喜欢暗杀及腐败的阿萨德政权。阿萨德政权扶持哈马斯,而且联合国正调查该政权涉嫌暗杀黎巴嫩政治家的案件。对叙利亚的制裁太薄弱,难以受到成效,而且令阿萨德可能感兴趣的大部分政治贿赂(例如允许他恢复叙利亚对黎巴嫩的政治霸权)将弄巧成拙。

  奇怪的是,揭开这个难题的钥匙可能掌握在叙利亚死敌以色列手中。叙利亚的中心目标仍然是重获戈兰高地,以色列在1967年的战争中取得这片土地。在过去,以色列一直愿意讨论归还戈兰高地以换取与大马士革关系的和平解决;在2000年,由于加利利海沿线的几百码争议领土,协议破裂。如今以色列比以往更有兴趣谈判:它的当务之急是伊朗以及伊朗在黎巴嫩和巴勒斯坦的代理人。以色列总理奥尔默特一年前决定开始与叙利亚的试探性会谈(借土耳其当中间人),这是一个合乎逻辑的决定。

  目前尚不清楚的是,有没有哪一方寻求从会谈中获得超越短期战术得益的目标。叙利亚和以色列于上月末公开透露以叙会谈。对叙利亚而言,公开宣布谈判可以缓和布什政府试图给阿萨德实施的孤立,并转移大家对黎巴嫩暗杀案的注意力。在宣布发表不久后,一些欧洲政府就恢复与大马士革的接触。对以色列而言,它考虑即使是和平协议的建议也肯定给大马士革与德黑兰的关系带来紧张。而面临刑事起诉的奥尔默特也可以转移话题。

  如今,难以相信任何一方愿意或者可以达成更大的契约。在缺乏范例证明叙利亚的战略倾向变化之时,大部分以色列人和他们的议会代表将强烈反对放弃戈兰高地。阿萨德已经深陷他与伊朗的同盟以及他在黎巴嫩犯下的罪行,他几乎肯定没有能力作出这样的转变。他最近向来访的英国代表团表示,要求他和伊朗决裂相当于要求美国与以色列决裂。如果这是真的,那么土耳其主持的会谈将又是一条死胡同。

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Tom Plate / Syndicated columnist

The Hollywood Squares do China

Syndicated Columnist

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Sharon Stone should stick to acting.

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LAURENT EMMANUEL / AP

Sharon Stone should stick to acting.

LOS ANGELES — So now it's Sharon Stone. Before her, it was Steven Spielberg. And before him and her and it sometimes seems now and forever there was Richard Gere.

These are America's High Pontificators the Hollywood Squares of the world situation. They like to offer their special wisdom on what China is doing wrong, especially in Tibet. They like it so very much when people all over the globe actually take them seriously and listen to them. And they especially like it when China takes them seriously by getting furious with them.

As for us ordinary Americans — well, whatever would we do without the Hollywood Squares?

Stone, looking rather fetching, we must admit, in her skintight leopard dress at the Cannes Film Festival, offered the Cannes crowd this in-depth analysis of the tension in Tibet: "I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And then the [Sichuan] earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"

Wow, what a great thought! Stone has this new theory that earthquakes are caused by bad government policies. Now please — and you know who you are — stop laughing. It is just theoretically conceivable that she is right. If she is, let us consider for a moment the enormously consequential implications.

For example, I live in Southern California, also known as Big Earthquake Country. We all sit around our pools, barbecues and Jacuzzis waiting for the Big One. We assume that some day it will come. While we're waiting, we smoke or drink different things to ease the pain of the future shocks.

But maybe just maybe if we had better government policies, we'd have fewer quakes here? Maybe if we pulled out of Iraq and finally improved our public schools and were nicer to immigrants.

If this is the case, then why are the Hollywood Squares wasting their advice on China and its earthquakes. What about California and our earthquakes?

If Sharon and for that matter Steven and Richard would just for once turn the focus and policy brilliance on what America is doing wrong karma-wise, then perhaps we can avoid having to endure Mother Nature at her meanest old witch worst.

I mean, why go through what the poor Chinese have had to endure these past few weeks?

In addition to warmly welcoming Stone's advice about counterproductive karmic government policies here, I'd like to widen that invitation to all the Hollywood Squares who have advice for foreign governments.

My advice is this: Maybe we Americans ought to work harder to get our own backyard in really good shape before we start nagging faraway neighborhoods about their shortcomings.

Look at Japan. It is most interesting that the Japanese, who actually live in China's neighborhood, managed to resist the temptation to hurl stones at China as Sharon did. Perhaps that's because many Japanese, unlike many Americans, have really good memories. They vividly recall their own Kobe quake of 1995. They recall that they reacted very poorly then — about as ineptly as the U.S. government reacted to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Instead, the Japanese sought to light some candles in China rather than curse the darkness that could be arguably attributable to misguided China's policies. Most laudably, Tokyo responded instantly to Beijing's surprising request for Japan's Air Self Defense Forces to fly relief teams and equipment into the province of Sichuan. This was the first time since 1945 that Japanese military aircraft landed on Chinese soil.

This is not to suggest that Hollywood's High Pontificators are cheap to dish out the charity. The whole world's heart has been touched by the tragedy. But as an editorial on the Taiwan Journal, the official weekly newspaper out of Taipei, put it: "Political disagreements and contentions between nations were relegated to the back burner as human survival prevailed over all other contending issues." Like China-rival Japan, even Taiwan — officially dubbed a runaway province by Beijing — lost no time in coming to China's aid.

The fact of the matter is that the Hollywood Squares are just too quick to dish out unwanted advice and judgments, and sometimes at the worst possible time. Sharon, of all people, should recall the New Testament warning (John 8:7): "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

UCLA professor Tom Plate lives in Beverly Hills, not far away enough from the huge San Andreas fault.

好莱坞与中国

现在是莎朗斯通。在她之前,有斯皮尔伯格。在他和她之前还有李察基尔。

  这些是好莱坞广场(Hollywood Squares)的世界形势。他们喜欢提出关于中国犯错(特别是在西藏问题上)的特殊智慧。当全世界民众严肃地听他们讲话的时候,他们非常喜欢这样。而且当中国拿他们当回事,对他们发怒的时候,他们特别喜欢这样。

  看起来相当迷人的莎朗斯通在夏纳电影节上发表她对西藏紧张的“深度”分析:“我不喜欢中国人对待西藏人的方式,因为我认为任何人都不该对别人不好。我想地震以及所发生的一切是不是报应?如果你不好,坏事就会发生在你身上?”

  哦,伟大的想法!沙朗斯通的新理论:地震是政府的坏政策引起的。大家先别笑。如果她是对的,那我们就要想想巨大的相应后果。

  例如,我住在南加州,那也是大地震之乡。如果我们有更好的政府政策,我们这里就会少些地震?如果我们撤出伊拉克,并最终改善我们的公立学校,对移民更友好,这里就会少些地震?

  若然如此,好莱坞广场干嘛要把他们意见浪费在中国和它的地震上?干嘛不说说加州和我们的地震? 如果莎朗斯通、斯皮尔伯格和李察基尔把焦点放在美国做错事会招致报应上,那么我们就可能不必承受自然之母最可怕的巫术。

  我的看法是:我们美国人在指点遥远地区的缺点之前,可能应该更加努力地整顿好自己的后院。

  看看日本。中国的邻居日本并没有像莎朗斯通那样落井下石。可能那是因为很多日本人记性很好,不像美国人。他们还生动地回想起1995年的神户大地震。他们想起他们那时的回应很糟糕——差不多和美国政府在2005年卡特里娜飓风中的反应那样无能。

  日本人寻求在中国燃起一些光亮,而不是诅咒黑暗。更值得称赞的是,当北京令人惊讶地请求日本空中自卫队运送救援队伍和设备到四川,东京立即响应。

  全世界的心都被悲剧触动。诚如台湾一份报纸所言,政治分歧和争执降到次要位置,人类的生存压倒所有争论。像中国的对手日本,甚至被北京称为叛离的省的台湾,都毫不犹豫地伸出援手。

  事实上,问题在于好莱坞匆匆端出不受欢迎的建议和判断,有时候是在最不适当的时候。莎朗斯通和所有人都应该记得《新约圣经(约翰福音8:7)》的警告:让没有罪的人拿起第一块石头(即没有罪的人才可以审判别人)。

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(2008-06-05 06:36)
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杂谈

分类: 新知
 Bloomberg Is Said to Explore a Third Mayoral Term or a Bid for Governor
Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently commissioned a poll of how voters would feel about repealing the city’s term limits law.

Published: June 4, 2008

As the end of his term nears, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his senior advisers have been exploring strategies that would allow him to remain in political life, including undertaking a campaign to overturn the city’s term limits law or making a bid for governor, according to two people who have been briefed on the deliberations.

Mr. Bloomberg, as part of that effort, commissioned a poll recently to determine whether city voters would be open to lifting the term limits law, which forces him and other elected city officials from office after two four-year terms. The poll found that even as voters approved of his performance as mayor, they would strongly oppose any attempt to undo the limits. Voters were receptive to the idea of a Bloomberg candidacy for governor, however.

Either move by the mayor would dramatically shake up the political world in New York and beyond, given his national profile and previous pledge to try to shape the presidential campaign this fall, perhaps by establishing an independent political organization.

In addition, Mr. Bloomberg, 66, has a record of overcoming long political odds with his single-minded focus and willingness to spend tens of millions of dollars on campaigns, so his ruminations about his future or a race for governor would be viewed with seriousness — and some alarm — by other potential candidates.

The deliberations are occurring as the mayor expresses frustration that his agenda is unfinished and that some of his more ambitious proposals, like congestion pricing, have been blocked by lawmakers in Albany. And despite his previous public statements that he is looking forward to focusing on philanthropy full time after leaving office, people who have spoken to Mr. Bloomberg say he has clearly been bitten by the political bug and is not eager to give up the power that comes with elected office.

The mayor’s current term is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2009.

The people who have been briefed on the deliberations say that the poll results will not dictate the mayor’s ultimate course.

“The mayor was interested in seeing the lay of the land,” said one of the people, a former political adviser to the mayor who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be seen as betraying the confidence of the mayor’s inner circle.

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, would not confirm or deny that a poll had been conducted.

But he said that the mayor, who has previously said he will respect the will of voters, was standing by that position. The voters approved term limits in 1993.

“The mayor’s views haven’t changed,” he said.

If the mayor and his advisers decide to try to overturn the term limits law, they will have until September to gather signatures to put the question before voters in this November’s election.

Some of Mr. Bloomberg’s advisers are strongly warning against such a campaign, saying that taking on such an unpopular issue — even if the fight is ultimately successful — would cause lasting damage to Mr. Bloomberg’s reputation and what they see as his brand: the reform-minded political outsider.

Mr. Bloomberg’s deliberations echo those of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who sought to extend his term as mayor after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although Mr. Giuliani was at the height of his popularity at the time, and almost universally applauded for his leadership in the crisis, his efforts to stay on for a few months drew swift condemnation and a less than enthusiastic response from the public.

The former political adviser to Mayor Bloomberg sought to play down the significance of the polling, saying the questions regarding the term limits law and a race for governor were included in a larger survey the mayor conducted to measure his overall job approval and other city issues.

“He had his advisers throw in the question about term limits and a run for governor,” the former adviser said. “It was part of a regular process the mayor goes through to update himself on public opinion.”

And while the poll showed voters were open to the idea of a Bloomberg run for governor, it is not clear how eager the mayor is to pursue that path. In the past he has strongly denied any interest in doing so. Thus far, he has had a friendly relationship with David A. Paterson, the Harlem Democrat who took over in March to replace Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after he was implicated as a client of a prostitution ring.

“I think the mayor likes David Paterson and I don’t think he is going to launch a campaign any time soon,” said the former political adviser.

The mayor is said to find other jobs potentially attractive, including Treasury secretary and president of the World Bank.

“One wouldn’t poll for those jobs,” a person close to the mayor said.

Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of Bloomberg L.P., a media and financial services giant, is not the only one within his tight-knit circle itching for something to do next. Kevin Sheekey, a top political assistant who spent months trying to build support for an independent presidential campaign by Mr. Bloomberg, is said to be equally distressed at the prospect of his boss’s leaving public life. As much as anyone in the Bloomberg operation, Mr. Sheekey is considering the mayor’s future options.

The syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, in a column last weekend, suggested that Mr. Sheekey was under consideration by Senator John McCain’s campaign to run the Republican national convention this summer in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But Republican operatives played down that possibility on Tuesday, saying Mr. Sheekey’s chances for the job could be hurt because Mr. Bloomberg is an independent and no longer a Republican.

The deliberations come after an extraordinary, but in some ways deflating, year for Mr. Bloomberg.

A year ago this month, he grabbed the attention of the national political establishment by announcing he was leaving the Republican Party and criticizing “rigid adherence to any particular political ideology.” He flirted with a presidential run for the next nine months, traveling the country and appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek while pushing a message of nonpartisan problem-solving.

But the excitement among Democratic voters about Senator Barack Obama and the emergence of Mr. McCain as the Republican nominee — both of whom promote nonpartisan approaches — undercut the Bloomberg rationale for running. In February, despite months of elaborate behind-the-scenes effort to build the infrastructure of a campaign in all 50 states, the mayor said he would not run.

Fernanda Santos contributed reporting.

 

马侃与奥巴马主要政见对比

主要议题

奥巴马

马侃

伊拉克问题

1、反对伊战,誓言结束冲突,立即撤军;

2、反对在伊拉克建立永久基地。

3、若伊拉克发生大灾难或种族灭绝行动,愿意恢复派兵。

1、强烈支持增兵伊拉克。

2、誓言永不放弃,深信能赢得对付叛乱的战争。

3、美军可能像在德国与韩国长期驻扎一样,留守伊拉克一百年。

伊朗核问题

1、赞成与伊朗对话,指伊朗对中东地区和美国构成严重威胁;

2、愿意先举行较低层级的会谈;

3、赞成实施国际制裁,迫使伊朗更加透明化。

1、曾说唯独拥有核武的伊朗比军事攻击更严重;

2、反对举行任何总统层级会谈,认为这只会给该政权强硬派合法性;

3、应在联合国架构之外加强制裁,特别是经济制裁。

中东和谈

1、美国对以色列的承诺“不能讨价还价”;

2、孤立哈马斯和真主党组织;

3、赞同增强温和派巴勒斯坦人影响力的政策。

1、 支持美国给予以色列军事援助,并称自己是哈马斯集团的最大敌人;

2、鼓励以色列与巴勒斯坦自治政府主席阿巴斯会谈,孤立哈马斯、真主党和叙利亚;

3、以色列在2006年对黎巴嫩发动的战争是正当的

经济政策

1、承诺对劳工阶层及年收入七万五千美元以下低收入户减税,同时提高平均年薪二十五万美元以上家庭的赋税;

2、房市危机方面,赞成设立基金,协助使民众房屋避免因拖欠偿还贷款遭到查封,并由联邦政府协助取得贷款。

1、证维持布什总统任内实施的减税政策;2、对财政赤字,坚决反对笼络选民的政治拨款,也就是国会议员的专项拨款,建议冻结一年非军事联邦支出;

3、房市危机方面,建议房贷和学生助学贷款由政府担保。

医疗保健

1、希望使全体国民加入普遍性健保计划;

2、他的计划是以奖励办法与降低成本作基础,民众可以自愿加入,但父母有义务为子女投保。

1、认为应让更多人获得健保;

2、建议加强对保险业及药厂的监督,防止他们牺牲消费者,牟取不当利益。

移民政策

支持强化边境管制的移民改革措施,同时在特定条件下让一千两百万非法移民取得合法地位。

在2006年试图规范非法移民问题的立法中扮演关键角色,但坚持必须先做好边境管制,才能推动其它改革。

国际贸易

曾批评与美国加拿大和墨西哥的北美自由贸易协议,并说要重启谈判。

支持北美自由贸易协议,并认为自由贸易是美国外交政策的重要工具,特别是在中东。支持与哥伦比亚签署自由贸易协议。

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分类: 英文
 News Analysis

Next on Agenda Is Clinton’s Role

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, on Tuesday in St. Paul, watching Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on television.

Senator Barack Obama heads into the general election with obvious advantages: He is a Democratic candidate running in a sour atmosphere for Republicans, in a contest where voters are hungry for change and coming out of a campaign in which he filled arena after arena with supporters.

Yet while he would like to shift his attention fully to the onslaught already coming from Senator John McCain and the Republicans, Mr. Obama still has problems in his own party that may overshadow everything else until he addresses them: How to repair relations with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her supporters and whether to offer her a spot on the ticket.

Mrs. Clinton used her final hours of the long primary season to make clear that she would be open to being Mr. Obama’s running mate. If there was ever any hope in Democratic circles that she would let Mr. Obama off the hook with an evasion or a flat declaration of no interest, Mrs. Clinton dashed it on Tuesday.

Like her husband, Mrs. Clinton has a way of becoming the center of attention even when the spotlight is supposed to be trained elsewhere, a reality that Mr. Obama will no doubt continue to confront no matter how he proceeds. It was hardly a surprise that Mr. Obama lavished praise on Mrs. Clinton and her accomplishments in his remarks Tuesday night.

Until he deals with the Clinton question, it could be hard for Mr. Obama to move on to what he would like to achieve next: presenting himself to the entire electorate and not just Democrats, laying out his political ideology before Mr. McCain does it on his terms and trying to rectify some of the weaknesses highlighted by the combative primary process.

Beyond that, there are other questions. Can he survive an onslaught from a Republican machine that has proved adept over the past 20 years at discrediting Democratic candidates, particularly those with limited experience in running national campaigns? Is he, given his voting record, vulnerable to the kind of attacks Mr. McCain began Tuesday night as he sought to portray Mr. Obama as out of touch with much of the country on issues like taxes, government and threats to American security?

Much of the cautious optimism in the Obama campaign is based on the expectation that this is a turn-the-page election, that deep anger with President Bush, along with discontent over the war in Iraq and the economy will be channeled into a Democratic victory in November. But it is not yet clear that those substantive issues will fully trump cultural issues and values — like race, patriotism and class — or the question of whether voters will judge Mr. Obama, just a few years out of the Illinois legislature, to have the experience necessary to sit in the Oval Office.

There would be obvious advantages to an Obama-Clinton ticket. For one, it would go far toward healing wounded feelings among Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, especially women. Some of those supporters have suggested that they would either stay home or vote for Mr. McCain, who made an explicit appeal for their support Tuesday night as he tried to increase pressure on Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton would provide Mr. Obama with some of the foreign policy credentials he needs, bring her own bank of contributors and probably help put more states in play.

“I think the world of both of them,” said Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware. “I want to see them run as a team.”

Yet there is clear, if not publicly expressed, apprehension in Mr. Obama’s circle about the wisdom of asking her to join the ticket. After gaining so much attention by campaigning on a promise of bringing fresh faces to Washington, Mr. Obama would be asking voters to put another Clinton in the White House, though in the No. 2 spot.

Mrs. Clinton does not come alone; beyond her own history — and the legions of voters who do not like her — she would bring along former President Bill Clinton, whose baggage might well be judged by Mr. Obama to outweigh his political skills, especially after a primary season that left Mr. Clinton’s reputation dented.

And running for president is very much about presenting command and authority. A crucial rule in the vice-presidential selection process is to avoid the perception of being pressured into a decision by a potential running mate.

“It’s backward looking to pick a Clinton at this point — and he’s all about forward looking, to being about change,” said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. “He’s all about a fundamentally new kind of politics. Picking a Clinton is by definition backward looking, and I just don’t think he wants that.”

What is more, some Democrats argued that rather than producing a ticket that would be bigger than the sum of its parts, it might have the opposite effect by pushing away both the groups of voters who are reluctant to vote for an African-American and those who are reluctant to vote for a woman.

Throughout the campaign, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama had a relationship that veered between strained and strange. Mr. Obama once referred to her during a debate as “likable enough,” while Mrs. Clinton at one point said she and Mr. McCain could offer voters “a lifetime of experience” while Mr. Obama “will put forth a speech he made in 2002,” a reference to the address in Chicago before he was elected to the Senate in which he came out against the Iraq war.

Inevitably, as the campaign continued, relations between the two sides got worse — exacerbated by Mrs. Clinton’s unwavering insistence that she would be the stronger candidate against Mr. McCain; some of Mr. Clinton’s remarks, like his characterization of Mr. Obama’s strong and consistent opposition to the war as a “fairy tale”; and impatience among Mr. Obama’s supporters with Mrs. Clinton’s decision to stay in the race to the end.

Mrs. Clinton’s actions on Tuesday could not have raised her stock with Mr. Obama. Whether she intended to or not, her remarks pulled the spotlight away from him, reminding him that in many ways, she is a character that is hard to push off the stage

下一议程是希拉里的角色

参议员奥巴马以明显的优势向大选发起冲锋:共和党的形势不佳,选民渴望改变,而且一路走来,他赢得了众多支持者。

  然而,尽管奥巴马希望把注意力完全转向马侃与共和党的冲击,但他的党内仍然有一个问题足以令其他一切失色:如何修补与参议员希拉里·克林顿及其支持者的关系,是否让她成为搭档。

  希拉里用漫长初选的最后几个小时清楚表明她对成为奥巴马竞选搭档持态度开放。

  和她的丈夫一样,希拉里总有办法成为注意力的中心,哪怕当聚光灯本将瞄准其他地方。这是一个事实,奥巴马毫无疑问要继续面对这个事实。奥巴马在周二晚上(6月3日晚)大方地赞赏希拉里及其成就,这算不上希奇事。

  在奥巴马处理完希拉里问题以前,他很难达成他希望在下一步达成的成就:在所有选民而不仅仅是民主党人面前表现自己,在马侃面前罗列他的政治理念,试图矫正杀气腾腾的初选进程所凸显的某些弱点。

  此外,还有其他问题。他能否经受住共和党机器的冲击?过去二十年证明共和党机器善于抹黑民主党候选人,特别是那些经验有限的人。

  奥巴马阵营的谨慎乐观的基础在于预期这是一场翻开新一页的选举,人们对布什的愤怒,加上对伊拉克战争和经济的不满将带来民主党11月的胜利。但目前尚不清楚那些重大问题会否完全盖过文化和价值观的问题——例如种族、爱国主义和阶级——或者选民会否认为只在伊利诺斯州立法机关呆过几年的奥巴马是否有坐镇白宫的必要经验。

  “奥希配”有明显的优势。首先,可以愈合希拉里支持者的伤痛感觉,特别是女性的。一些支持者已经表示他们要么呆在家中(不去投票),要么给马侃投票。马侃在周二晚直率地呼吁他们的支持,试图给奥巴马增加压力。希拉里可以给奥巴马提供他所需要的一些外交政策经验,带来她自己的银行捐助者,并很可能带动更多的州。

  特拉华州民主党、参议员卡帕(Thomas R. Carper)表示,他希望看到他们组成团队竞选。

  然而,奥巴马圈子显然有所忧惧。奥巴马承诺给华盛顿带来新面孔,凭借这一点吸引了众多注意力,然后却要求选民让另一位克林顿进入白宫(虽然是在第二的位置)。

  希拉里并非孤身前来;除了她自己的历史(以及大批不喜欢她的选民),她还携带着前总统克林顿。奥巴马可能认为克林顿的包袱超过他的政治技巧,特别是初选让克林顿的名声受损。

  而且竞选总统很大程度上是关于表现指挥权和权威。副总统选择进程的一条关键规则就是避免让人产生这样的感觉:他的决定要承受一个潜在竞选搭档的压力。

  温和民主党组织“第三条路”的联合创始人班尼特(Matt Bennett)表示,在这个点上选择希拉里是朝后看,而奥巴马完全是要向前看,要改变的。“他根本上是新品种的政治。选择希拉里显然是向后看,我认为他不想这样。”

  此外,一些民主党人认为,这个组合并非一加一大于二,而可能产生反效果,推开那些不愿意给非裔美国人投票和不愿意给妇女投票的选民。(作者 ADAM NAGOURNEY)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/us/politics/04assess.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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