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我们正走向生死存亡未知的新时代

更新时间:2022-4-12 9:01:44 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名 浏览:

An Age of Existential Uncertainty
我们正走向生死存亡未知的新时代

I grew up during the Cold War, when, in elementary school, we still participated in bomb drills. A bell would ring or horn would blow and we would duck and cover, or in some teachers’ classrooms, just put our heads down on our desks.

我是在冷战时期长大的,在那个时候,我们在小学还参加过炸弹演习。当响起铃声或吹起喇叭,我们会蹲下躲起来,或者,在一些老师的课堂上,我们只用抱着头趴在桌子上。

From the videos of utter destruction caused by nuclear weapons, I couldn’t see how any of these drills would be helpful (apparently duck and cover did offer some protection). I simply assumed it would be better to be resting when I died than not.

从核武器造成彻底破坏的视频中,我看不出这些演习有什么帮助(貌似蹲下躲起来确实提供了一些保护)。我只是觉得在我死的时候最好是在休息。

Although we lived in a small Louisiana town, in the middle of nowhere really, we were about 30 minutes away from Barksdale Air Force Base, where President George W. Bush would, years later, take refuge after the attacks on 9/11. As children, it felt like we were in the military arena, particularly every time the jets overhead latticed the skies with contrails or produced a sonic boom.

我们住在路易斯安那州的一个小镇,那里实在是很偏僻,距离巴克斯代尔空军基地大约有30分钟路程。在多年后的“9·11”事件发生后,布什总统就是在那里临时驻扎。小时候,我们感觉自己就在军事竞技场上,尤其是每次头顶上的喷气式飞机带着凝结尾迹划过天空或产生音爆时。

Even people of modest means in the area built bomb shelters. Armageddon was in the air.

这个地区即使是经济条件有限的人也建造了防空洞。世界末日随时会到来。

America and the Soviet Union were locked in the doctrine of mutually assured destruction: There were so many nuclear weapons that if one side used them to launch an attack, we were told the other would immediately respond, prompting the annihilation of both countries and possibly the world.

美国和苏联固守着“相互保证毁灭”的原则:核武器太多了,如果一方用它们发动攻击,我们被告知另一方会立即作出反应,从而导致两国——甚至可能全世界——都被毁灭。

This idea offered some assurance, but not enough. The idea that a mistake could be made lingered like a combustible fume. It haunted. In the popular 1983 film “WarGames,” a high school hacker accidentally connects with NORAD computers, and, thinking he’s simply playing a game, almost instigates a nuclear war.

这个想法提供了一些保证,但还不够。可能会出错的念头像易燃的烟雾一样挥之不去。它令人提心吊胆。在1983年的热门电影《战争游戏》(WarGames)中,一名高中生黑客意外连上了北美空防司令部的计算机,并且,他以为只是在玩游戏,差点挑起一场核战争。

I find it hard to explain to younger people what it felt like to live all my formative years with such uncertainty, with the belief that the world might end at any moment. I don’t know how to explain what it felt like to fill a time capsule in the sixth grade and bury it, not just as a classroom exercise, but with the gnawing feeling that all we knew could be obliterated and that all that future generations might ever know of us could be contained in a single capsule.

在这样的不确定中长大,相信世界随时可能会结束是什么感觉,我发现很难向年轻人解释这一点。在六年级时往一个时间胶囊里填东西然后把它埋起来,我不知道如何解释这种感觉,它不仅仅是一个课上练习,而是带着一种痛苦——我们所知道的一切都可能被抹去,后代对我们的所有了解都局限在一个胶囊里。

Fear became so ambient that it became ordinary; it was defanged. The fear wasn’t debilitating. To the contrary, it seemed to produce a sense of bucket-list adventurousness, even among children. What would you do if the world could end tomorrow? It was simultaneously oppressive and liberating.

恐惧弥漫在身边,以至于它变得寻常;它被削弱了。恐惧并没有使人虚弱。相反,它似乎令人产生了一种要去完成遗愿的冒险精神,即使儿童也是如此。如果明天就是世界末日你会怎么做?它令人感到压迫的同时,也令人感到解放。

Then, in 1991, when I was nearly at the end of college, the Soviet Union collapsed and splintered, and the Cold War came to an abrupt end. That is around when Ukraine and other former Soviet republics became independent states.

然后,在1991年,当我快要大学毕业的时候,苏联解体分裂,冷战戛然而止。在那段时间里,乌克兰和其他前苏联加盟共和国成为了独立国家。

That is also, I believe, the last time I thought seriously about mutually assured destruction.
我相信,那也是我最后一次认真思考关于“相互保证毁灭”的问题。

After three decades of freedom from that kind of worry, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, still smarting over the demise of the Soviet Union, has reminded us that many of the nuclear weapons that once terrified us still exist, putting real limits on our ability to confront and control rogue behavior.

从这种担忧中解脱了三十年之后,俄罗斯总统普京仍然对苏联的解体感到痛心,他提醒我们,许多曾经让我们感到恐惧的核武器仍然存在,这给我们对抗和遏制流氓行为的能力造成了真正的限制。

In an interview that aired in December, Putin lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, which he had previously called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. “It was a disintegration of historical Russia,” he said in the interview. “We turned into a completely different country. And what had been built up over 1,000 years was largely lost.”

在去年12月播出的一次采访中,普京对苏联的垮台表示遗憾,他此前曾将其称为20世纪“最大的地缘政治灾难”。“这是俄罗斯历史性的瓦解,”他在采访中说。“我们变成了一个完全不同的国家。一千多年建立起来的东西大部分都失去了。”

Putin wants that back. The invasion of Ukraine is part of that vision.

普京想把它拿回来。入侵乌克兰是这一愿景的一部分。

Putin confessed in the interview that not long after the fall of the Soviet Union, when inflation in Russia reached double digits, he sometimes moonlighted as a taxi driver to supplement his income. “It is unpleasant to talk about this,” he said, “but, unfortunately, this also took place.”

普京在采访中坦言,苏联解体后不久,当俄罗斯的通货膨胀达到两位数时,他有时会兼职当出租车司机以补贴家用。“谈论这件事令人不快,”他说,“但不幸的是,这是发生过的事情。”

Now, he has reversed the humiliation of those hard times. Some experts believe that he could now be the wealthiest man in the world. I believe this makes the 69-year-old more dangerous, not less.

现在,他颠覆了那些艰难时期的屈辱。一些专家认为,他现在可能成为世界上最富有的人。我认为这会让这位69岁的老人更危险,而不是更安全。

Putin now has little need of the shallow pleasure he’d get gathering unto himself more material objects than he already owns. Instead, he may now be consumed by the thing that preoccupies many of the world’s greatest men and women late in life: the building of legacy, the making of history, the casting of a long shadow.

普京现在几乎不需要那种在已有基础上收集更多物质享受的肤浅乐趣。相反,他现在可能会被许多世界上最伟大的男性和女性晚年所关注的事情所消耗:建立遗产,创造历史,制造深远影响。

Putin doesn’t just want to win a war or take a region, he wants to make a point, he wants to be the wings on which Russia rises again. His ego feeds his aggression, and that is why it is hard to imagine him accepting a loss in Ukraine.

普京不只是想赢得一场战争或占领一个地区,他想证明一个观点,他想成为俄罗斯再次飞翔的翅膀。他的自负助长了他的侵略性,这就是为什么很难想象他会接受在乌克兰的失败。

Any form of victory for him will only add to his appetite. Why would he stop with Ukraine, or a portion of Ukraine?

对他来说,任何形式的胜利只会增加他的胃口。他为什么要止步于乌克兰,或止步于乌克兰的部分地区?

And, of course, the West is restrained by the fact that Russia is not only a nuclear power, with roughly 6,000 nuclear warheads, but it also has the world’s largest nuclear stockpile, an arsenal even larger than that of the United States.

而且,当然,西方受到以下事实的限制:俄罗斯不仅是一个核大国,拥有大约6000枚核弹头,而且还拥有世界上最大的核武库,其核武库甚至比美国还大。

Putin keeps gesturing at the possibility of using those weapons. Those may be hollow threats, but it’s impossible to be 100 percent sure.

普京一直在暗示使用这些武器的可能性。也许是虚声恫吓,但无法百分之百确定。

What I feel more sure of is this feeling I can’t shake: that we are drifting into a new age of existential uncertainty.

我比较能够确定的是这种我无法摆脱的感觉:我们正在滑向一个对生死存亡未知的新时代。

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