川普可能連任

accessed January 4, 2018

川普可能連任
林中斌
名人堂稿件
日期:20180104 本文字數:1100 目標字數:1100

川普總統就任以來,爭議不斷。反對的民調去年三月中之後,超過五十趴,後接近六十趴,居高不下(RealClearPolitics民調平均值,以下同)。儘管如此,他卻可能連任。原因如下:
經濟亮麗:美國上月年終零售狂賣,破七年來紀錄。花錢者自高薪族下移至中低薪族。家庭收入兩年來持續升高,連最低廿趴收入的族群亦然(去年九月十四日國家統計局)。失業率從二年十趴持續下滑至去年十月四點一趴。至去年十一月止,消費者信心指數達十七年來最高。以上或可歸功於八年就任的歐巴馬總統。然而,有些亮點純屬川普表現。GDP成長,去年第二及第三季度,皆突破三趴,遠高於前年一點六趴。至去年十一月底,川普已增加一百七十萬工作。川普上任後,股市一年內打破歷史新高紀錄至少五十次,為廿年來首見。民主國家選舉得票主要靠經濟。川普行情看好。然而,大選還有三年,如何保證經濟不衰?
減稅達陣:去年十二月廿日,美國會兩院通過卅年來最大的稅改法案。川普前年十月對選民的許諾落實了。公司稅由卅五趴降到廿一趴。美國歷史上,每次減稅國庫歲入都增加,包括一九廿年代、甘迺迪及雷根總統時期。例如前者,減稅由七十趴到廿五趴,國家收入由廿一年至廿八年增加六十一趴。三年後大選時,美國經濟看好。
鐵票穩固: 去年一月廿日川普就任,支持度只卅九趴,打破歷任就職總統支持度最低紀錄。而他前年十一月當選時,所得全國票數少於希拉蕊三百萬。川普勝出,得利於美國「選舉人」制度。去年十二月十三日川普支持度為全年最低,也不過卅七趴,至卅一日,升至四十趴。換言之,川普基本票不多,卻穩固,現已上揚。三年後,只會多不會少。
對手乏人:美國民主黨在野一年,只會批評川普,卻無有力主張。而且,黨的政見自由貿易、健保、外交、華爾街--嚴重分裂。國會裡有希望三年後競選總統的民主黨人物,都將七十多歲。放眼望去,不見上升新星。
堵外得利:川普去年三月發佈限八伊斯蘭國人民入美的禁令,違反美國由移民建國的精神,一片譁然。因地方法院反對,禁令無法實行。但一波三折後,十二月四日最高法院通過裁決。禁令於是實施。同時,去年九月結算,美國墨西哥邊逮捕試圖非法入境的人數一年來下降廿四趴,達四十六年來最低。川普限制移民的政策大勝。執政有成,聲勢上漲。
通俄門疲:有跡象顯示,川普當選受益於俄羅斯駭客侵入希拉蕊電腦獲取不利後者資料,而為川普陣營所用。所謂「通俄門」爭議,已進入法律調查程序,可能導致彈劾總統的後果。但是,過程拖長,證據圍繞但無法套中川普。漸不耐煩的選民認為這是民主黨對川普的政治鬥爭,反而激發支持川普的情緒。

川普就任一年,彈劾可能持續下降,有利情勢持續上升。穩住權位的弱勢領袖,他不僅會完成四年任期,很可能成為兩任總統。


作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長,甫發表新書《撥雲見日:破解台美中三方困局》

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公視《即將到來的對華戰爭(下)

●2018年1月12日晚10-11時
公視蔡詩萍節目將播放
及與學者的討論。

 

●另位是傑出學者 林泉忠教授。東京大學博士,哈佛大學研究,沖繩大學任教10年,被中研院挖角聘回台灣。
在下部分,敬請賜教。

https://viewpoint.pts.org.tw/…/%E5%8D%B3%E5%B0%87%E5%88%B0…/

林中斌 2018.1.11

 

過去幾年,中國已成為世界第二大經濟強國,並且被美國領導階層視為「威脅」美國主宰地位的危機。中菲之間的南海主權爭議,最終成為中美關係的引爆點。核戰不是天方夜譚,而是美國國防部口中的「可能性」。而被緊緊包圍的中國,則宣布已將核武警戒層級調高的消息。

 

美國作為世界第一軍事強權,雖無帝國之名,卻有帝國之實,美國本土便有四千座基地,另有將近一千座基地遍佈各大洲,這個「島群帝國」遍布全球。目前共有約400座美軍基地將中國團團包圍,飛彈、轟炸機、戰艦與核武一應俱全。這些基地南起澳洲北境,一路在太平洋地區串連延伸至日韓等國,一直到阿富汗與印度等歐亞地區才終止。美國一位戰略專家說,這些基地形成一個「完美的鎖鏈」。

 

日本沖繩島上共有32座美軍建設,此刻他們的首要目標是中國。在韓國最南端的濟州島上,一座類美軍基地也剛竣工,此地距離上海只有四百英哩,未來將會有核子潛艇停泊此處,最新的神盾飛彈驅逐艦也會進駐。

 

然而,「完美的鎖鏈」纏縛下,卻有許多人選擇以和平的力量,抵抗這些以毀滅作為目標的軍事基地——沖繩當地居民這幾年來積極組織,以和平的方式對抗美國這個軍事巨人,他們以努力向大家證明,一般人民也有能力阻擋這種壓迫性的佔領行動,而且他們已經開始取得勝利。無獨有偶,近10年來,韓國濟州島上的抗爭與抗議,也風雨無阻地發聲,天主教的神父每天在基地大門外舉辦兩次彌撒,身後則是有全亞洲及全世界的人與他同在。這些聲音,讓廣島核爆與比基尼群島所遺留的教訓,顯得更加迫切。沖繩當地反抗行動的領袖,現年87歲的島袋女士說:「我們讓大家選擇,沉默或活下來」。

 

一百年前,帝國主義引發了第一次世界大戰;一百年後,現代世界仍以相似的邏輯在處理問題:船堅砲利、文攻武嚇,差別只是現在我們還多了核子武器。在這個毀滅性武器威力登峰造極的全球化時代,一場核子互射的意外,就可能帶來世界末日般的危機。這將是一場牽涉到所有人的戰爭,沒有人可以置身事外。

 

導演約翰・皮爾格以宏觀視角,拉出以核武危機為中心的兩個對張關係,一個是地緣政治上關於美利堅帝國與初崛起的中國間的權力遊戲;另一個對張關係,則關於我們每個人:一端是馬紹爾群島的核試爆歷史的受害者,而另一端則是沖繩、濟州島反對美國軍事基地的抵抗運動。歷史向前走,人民也可以不只是逆來順受的犧牲者,被動接受;更可以是擁有超級力量的行動者,積極改變。

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公視《即將到來的對華戰爭(上)》

201815日夜10時至11時,公視將播出由蔡詩萍主持的紀錄片
即將到來的對華戰爭(上) The Coming War on China
John Pilger / 90 / 2016

紀錄片開始前及後有蔡詩萍對在下之訪問。
敬請賜教。

林中斌 2018.1.4

另,公視也提供網路免費收看7天服務(從週六凌晨開始,因版權限制,僅限於台灣地區收看),在公視OTT影音平台,網址為https://www.ptsplus.tv/,在首頁最新上架欄位,或點選左方「紀錄片」,進入後拉到網頁最下方找到「主題之夜」。必須註冊為會員或以fb帳號登入才能觀看

 

《即將到來的對華戰爭》上集網址
http://viewpoint.pts.org.tw/…/%E5%8D%B3%E5%B0%87%E5%88%B0%…/

本片導演約翰・皮爾格(John Pilger)是一位優秀的戰地記者、作家與導演,自1962年開始從事調查報導以及紀錄片製作,迄今已有55年時間,其作品囊括各方主題,報導真相並倡導人權,經常點出主流媒體遺忘或刻意忽略的議題。本片《即將到來的對華戰爭》是他的第60部片,片中橫跨廣大地域範圍與長遠歷史縱深,重新檢討了西方主流媒體對於中美角力的觀點,呼籲各界對於核子戰爭一觸即發的警覺與審慎思考。

不過,本片故事的第一章,卻是從太平洋上,一個遙遠小島罕為人知的遭遇開始——馬紹爾群島位在美國與亞洲之間,二戰時,美國從日本手上奪走,長久以來是美國的戰略機密,是通往亞洲和中國的踏腳石。島上人民數千年來自給自足,有豐盛的漁產、麵包果與椰子,他們是航海高手,以星星導航。曾經,馬紹爾群島有著「最後的天堂」之美名。

這一切都在1946年改變了,美國占領馬紹爾群島,作為託管領地,並肩負保護當地居民健康與福祉的義務。惡夢開始,小島變成測試核武的實驗區,居民則成為實驗品。1954年,美國在比基尼環礁測試氫彈「喝采」,把整座島炸得灰飛煙滅,在浩瀚的海洋上留下一個大黑洞。比基尼島的居民從此沒有再回到島上。在那些塵封已久的舊紀錄影片中,記錄下當時經歷核彈試爆的倖存者,他們被稱為「順從的野蠻人」。其中大多數人後來都被診斷出甲狀腺癌或其他惡性腫瘤,卻幾乎沒有獲得任何賠償。

從馬紹爾群島的秘密,故事來到中國崛起,核子武器微妙牽起兩者間的關聯。馬紹爾群島只是核武試驗場,而最後經測試具有強大毀滅威力的核武成品,則得找個地方派上用場。21世紀的大國競技,是一種「永久戰爭」,美國每年挹注六千億美元的軍事開銷,對獨霸全球的美國軍工業來說,是一筆大生意。而投入數兆美元所發展的這些核武庫與太空作戰能力,必得有「用武之地」——這些錢需要一個敵人。

剛剛崛起的中國,正是完美的敵人。

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Assurex Keynote

 

I am honored to be the keynote speaker at the Assurex Asia-Pacific Regional Conference Wednesday morning at 9, Mandarin Oriental. Thanks to seasoned diplomat and art connoisseur Mr. 李文琦's recommendation.

My speech is entitled " China's Atypical Rise: Dominating East Asia without War".

Chong-Pin Lin January 12, 2018

 

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電影《最黑暗的時刻》"Darkest Hour"

極力推薦!!.在這瀰漫負能量的時節,看一場充滿正能量的電影吧!!
"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts" (Winston Churchill)
「成功不是最後的結果。失敗不是要命的結果。重要的是持續奮鬥的勇氣。」

林中斌 試譯邱吉爾名言 2018.1.8
(
請注意邱翁"頭韻"的使用:
1.final,failure,fatal. 2.courage, continue, counts)

 

Arresting and moving. What an inspirational film to watch in this age of platitude and bad faith. Gary Oldman may win more awards than the Golden Globe, even an Oscar for the best actor should not be totally surprising.

Chong-Pin Lin January 8, 2018

 

 

《最黑暗的時刻》(英語:Darkest Hour
https://zh.wikipedia.org/…/%E6%9C%80%E9%BB%91%E6%9A%97%E7%9… 
《最黑暗的時刻》(英語:Darkest Hour)是一部於2017年上映的英國戰爭電影,由喬·萊特執導,安東尼·麥卡騰編劇。主演蓋瑞·歐德曼飾演溫斯頓·邱吉爾,而其他演員還包含班·曼德森、克莉絲汀·史考特·湯瑪斯、莉莉·詹姆士、史蒂芬·迪蘭與羅蘭·匹克等人。該片主要講述英國首相溫斯頓·邱吉爾的事蹟。
該片的發展始於201525日,當時Working Title Films買下了由安東尼·麥卡騰撰寫、描寫第二次世界大戰早期的溫斯頓·邱吉爾的待售劇本《最黑暗的時刻》。主要攝影於201610月下旬開始,並於20171月殺青。
《最黑暗的時刻》於20171129日在英國發行,而美國則提早在1122日上映。此外,該片的首映禮在2017年多倫多國際影展上舉行。該片在上映後收穫普遍影評人的積極評價,主演歐德曼的演出尤其廣受讚譽,被外界認為是奧斯卡金像獎最佳男主角獎的有力競爭者。

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkest_Hour_(film)
Darkest Hour is a 2017 British war drama film directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten. It stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and follows his early days as Prime Minister, as Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup.
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on 1 September 2017,[4] and also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.[5] It began a limited release in the United States on 22 November 2017, followed by general release on 22 December, and will be released on 12 January 2018 in the United Kingdom.[6] The film has grossed $35 million worldwide and was well-received by critics. Oldman's performance received positive reviews, with many critics noting it as one of the best of his career; he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama and was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his work.[7]

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紅害不運動,續當東亞病夫

    ● 記得在華府喬治城大學教書時,很好奇: 為何功課好的學生,不分男女,運動都好,課外活動都忙?

        When I was teaching at Georgetown University, nicknamed "Harvard by the Potomac ", it intrigued me why good students were at the same time athletically and socially active. Here, statistics around the world  have indicated the Intetesting correlations.

Chong-Pin Lin January 8, 2018

林中斌 2018.1.8

 

 

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“Are We Alone in the Universe?” Winston Churchill’s Lost Extraterrestrial Essay Says No

 Brian Handwerk SMITHSONIAN.COM, FEBRUARY 16, 2017

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/winston-churchill-question-alien-life-180962198/

accessed January 8, 2018

邱吉爾即將出任首相之前,寫了一篇科學探討的文章,但死後才被發現,發表。天文學家高度肯定他嚴謹的思路。他認為有外星人。

Winston Churchill, British prime minister and one of history’s most influential statesmen, was undoubtedly a man with weighty questions on his mind. How best to save the British Empire? he must have mused. What will the postwar world look like? he surely wondered. But the legendary leader also focused his prodigious mind on less pragmatic questions. For instance: Is there life on other planets?

In fact, in 1939, Churchill penned a lengthy essay on this very topic, which was never published. Besides displaying a strong grasp of contemporary astrophysics and a scientific mind, he came to a breathtaking conclusion: We are probably not alone in the universe. The long-lost piece of Churchilliana has just floated up to the surface again, thanks to an article written by astrophysicist Mario Livio in this week’s edition of the journal Nature analyzing Churchill’s work. 

“With hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of suns, the odds are enormous that there must be immense numbers which possess planets whose circumstances would not render life impossible,” Churchill concluded in his essay. He wrote these words on the eve of World War II—more than half a century before exoplanets were discovered.  

Until last year, Churchill’s thoughts on the problem of alien life had been all but lost to history. The reason: His 11-page typed draft was never published. Sometime in the late 1950s, Churchill revised the essay while visiting the seaside villa of publisher Emery Reves, but the text still didn’t see the light of day. It appears to have languished in the Reves house until Emery’s wife Wendy gave it to the U.S. National Churchill Museum during the 1980s.

Last year, the museum’s new director, Timothy Riley, unearthed the essay in the museum’s archives. When astrophysicist Mario Livio happened to visit the museum, Riley “thrust [the] typewritten essay” into his hands, Livio writes in Nature. Riley was eager to hear the perspective of an astrophysicist. And Livio, for his part, was floored. “Imagine my thrill that I may be the first scientist to examine this essay,” he writes in Nature.

Churchill did his homework, Livio reports. Though he probably didn’t pore over peer-reviewed scientific literature, the statesman seems to have read enough, and spoke with enough top scientists—including the physicist Frederick Lindemann, his friend and later his official scientific adviser—to have had a strong grasp of the major theories and ideas of his time. But that wasn’t what left the deepest impression on Livio.

“To me the most impressive part of the essay—other than the fact that he was interested in it at all, which is pretty remarkable—is really the way that he thinks,” Livio says. “He approached the problem just as a scientist today would. To answer his question ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ he started by defining life. Then he said, ‘OK, what does life require? What are the necessary conditions for life to exist?’”

Churchill identified liquid water, for example, as a primary requirement. While he acknowledged the possibility that forms of life could exist dependent on some other liquid, he concluded that “nothing in our present knowledge entitles us to make such an assumption.”  

“This is exactly what we still do today: Try to find life by following the water,” Livio says. “But next, Churchill asked ‘What does it take for liquid water to be there?’ And so he identified this thing that today we call the habitable zone.”

By breaking down the challenge into its component parts, Churchill ended up delving into the factors necessary to create what is now known as the “Goldilocks zone” around a star: that elusive region in which a life-sustaining planet could theoretically exist. In our own solar system, he concluded, only Mars and Venus could possibly harbor life outside of Earth. The other planets don’t have the right temperatures, Churchill noted, while the Moon and asteroids lack sufficient gravity to trap gasses and sustain atmospheres.

Turning his gaze beyond our own solar system raised even more possibilities for life, at least in Churchill’s mind. “The sun is merely one star in our galaxy, which contains several thousand millions of others,” he wrote. Planetary formation would be rather rare around those stars, he admitted, drawing on a then-popular theory of noted physicist and astronomer James Jeans. But what if that theory turned out to be incorrect? (In fact, it has now been disproven.)

“That’s what I find really fascinating,” Livio notes. “The healthy skepticism that he displayed is remarkable.”

Churchill suggested that different planetary formation theories may mean that many such planets may exist which “will be the right size to keep on their surface water and possibly an atmosphere of some sort.” Of that group, some may also be “at the proper distance from their parent sun to maintain a suitable temperature.”

The statesman even expected that some day, “possibly even in the not very distant future,” visitors might see for themselves whether there is life on the moon, or even Mars.

But what was Winston Churchill doing penning a lengthy essay on the probability of alien life in the first place? After all, it was the eve of a war that would decide the fate of the free world, and Churchill was about to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Such an undertaking was actually quite typical for Churchill, notes Andrew Nahum, Keeper Emeritus at the Science Museum, London, because it reflects both his scientific curiosity and his recurring need to write for money. It was skill with the pen that often supported Churchill and his family’s lavish lifestyle (recall that he won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature, with a monetary award of 175,293 Swedish Kroner worth about $275,000 today).

“One recent biography is entitled No More Champagne: Churchill And His Money,” Nahum says. “That was a phrase he put into a note to his wife about austerity measures. But he didn’t know much about austerity. He liked luxury so he wrote like crazy, both books and articles that his agent circulated widely.”  

That’s not to say that Churchill was simply slinging copy about aliens for a paycheck. “He was profoundly interested in the sciences and he read very widely,” notes Nahum, who curated the 2015 Science Museum exhibition “Churchill’s Scientists.” Nahum relates the tale of how as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill was once sent a book on quantum physics, and later admitted that it had occupied him for the better part of a day that should have been spent balancing the British budget.

He not only read scientific content voraciously, but wrote on the topic as well. In a 1924 issue of Nash’s Pall Mall Magazine, Churchill anticipated the power of atomic weapons. “Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings nay, to blast a township at a stroke?” he warned. In 1932, he anticipated the rise of test-tube meat in the magazine Popular Mechanics: “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or the wing, by growing these parts separately in a suitable medium,” he wrote.

In 1939 he authored three essays, tackling not just extraterrestrial life but the evolution of life on Earth and the popular biology of the human body. Two were published during 1942 by the Sunday Dispatch, Nahum discovered when reading Churchill’s papers at the University of Cambridge. It remains a mystery why his thoughts on alien life went unpublished.

In the rediscovered essay, Churchill admits that, because of the great distances between us and other planet-harboring stars, we may never know if his hunch that life is scattered among the vastness of the cosmos is correct. Yet even without proof, Churchill seems to have convinced himself that such a possibility was likely—perhaps by swapping his scientific mind for one more finely attuned to the human condition during the troubled 20th century.

“I, for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures,” he wrote, “or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time.”

Seventy-five years after Churchill’s bold speculations, there’s still no proof that life exists on other worlds. But, as was often the case, his analysis of our own still seems prescient.

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川普改變了美國70年來的全球政策

TRUMP, THE INSURGENT,BREAKS WITH 70 YEARS OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

 MARK LANDLER New York Times, DEC. 28, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trump-world-diplomacy.html

accessed January 5, 2018

"Trump ...attacks allies the U.S. has nurtured since WWII... ''
川普批罵美國自二次大戰以來培養的盟友

"He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir Putin of Russia -- leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America.''
川普努力培養他和中國國家主席習近平的友誼,也儘量避免批評俄羅斯總統普丁。而這兩國正是他自己國安報告裡所說的美國面臨最大哼的地緣政治威脅。

"..another hallmark of Mr. Trump's foreign policy: how much it is driven by domestic politics."
另一個川普外交政策特色是內政決定外交。

"...his bark is worse than his bite ..." 
歐洲評論家認為川普的特點是叫狗不咬。

林中斌試摘譯 2018.1.5

WASHINGTON — President Trump was already revved up when he emerged from his limousine to visit NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels last May. He had just met France’s recently elected president, Emmanuel Macron, whom he greeted with a white-knuckle handshake and a complaint that Europeans do not pay their fair share of the alliance’s costs.

On the long walk through the NATO building’s cathedral-like atrium, the president’s anger grew. He looked at the polished floors and shimmering glass walls with a property developer’s eye. (“It’s all glass,” he said later. “One bomb could take it out.”) By the time he reached an outdoor plaza where he was to speak to the other NATO leaders, Mr. Trump was fuming, according to two aides who were with him that day.

He was there to dedicate the building, but instead he took a shot at it.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Mr. Trump told the leaders, his voice thick with sarcasm. “I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.” His visceral reaction to the $1.2 billion building, more than anything else, colored his first encounter with the alliance, aides said.

Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries. His Twitter posts, delivered without warning or consultation, often make a mockery of his administration’s policies and subvert the messages his emissaries are trying to deliver abroad.

Mr. Trump has pulled out of trade and climate change agreements and denounced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. He has broken with decades of American policy in the Middle East by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And he has taunted Kim Jong-un of North Korea as “short and fat,” fanning fears of war on the peninsula.

He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America.

Above all, Mr. Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from a reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. That is a seminal change from the role the country has played for 70 years, under presidents from both parties, and it has lasting implications for how other countries chart their futures.

Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach “has moved a lot of us out of our comfort zone, me included,” the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, said in an interview. A three-star Army general who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and wrote a well-regarded book about the White House’s strategic failure in Vietnam, General McMaster defined Trump foreign policy as “pragmatic realism” rather than isolationism.

“The consensus view has been that engagement overseas is an unmitigated good, regardless of the circumstances,” General McMaster said. “But there are problems that are maybe both intractable and of marginal interest to the American people, that do not justify investments of blood and treasure.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers argue that he has blown the cobwebs off decades of foreign policy doctrine and, as he approaches his first anniversary, that he has learned the realities of the world in which the United States must operate.

They point to gains in the Middle East, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is transforming Saudi Arabia; in Asia, where China is doing more to pressure a nuclear-armed North Korea; and even in Europe, where Mr. Trump’s criticism has prodded NATO members to ante up more for their defense.

The president takes credit for eradicating the caliphate built by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, though he mainly accelerated a battle plan developed by President Barack Obama. His aides say he has reversed Mr. Obama’s passive approach to Iran, in part by disavowing the nuclear deal.

While Mr. Trump has held more than 130 meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders since taking office, he has left the rest of the world still puzzling over how to handle an American president unlike any other. Foreign leaders have tested a variety of techniques to deal with him, from shameless pandering to keeping a studied distance.

“Most foreign leaders are still trying to get a handle on him,” said Richard N. Haass, a top State Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Everywhere I go, I’m still getting asked, ‘Help us understand this president, help us navigate this situation.’

“We’re beginning to see countries take matters into their own hands. They’re hedging against America’s unreliability.”

Difficulties With Merkel

Few countries have struggled more to adapt to Mr. Trump than Germany, and few leaders seem less personally in sync with him than its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the physicist turned politician. After she won a fourth term, their relationship took on weighty symbolism: the great disrupter versus the last defender of the liberal world order.

In one of their first phone calls, the chancellor explained to the president why Ukraine was a vital part of the trans-Atlantic relationship. Mr. Trump, officials recalled, had little idea of Ukraine’s importance, its history of being bullied by Russia or what the United States and its allies had done to try to push back Mr. Putin.

German officials were alarmed by Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge, but they got even more rattled when White House aides called to complain afterward that Ms. Merkel had been condescending toward the new president. The Germans were determined not to repeat that diplomatic gaffe when Ms. Merkel met Mr. Trump at the White House in March.

At first, things again went badly. Mr. Trump did not shake Ms. Merkel’s hand in the Oval Office, despite the requests of the assembled photographers. (The president said he did not hear them.)

Later, he told Ms. Merkel that he wanted to negotiate a new bilateral trade agreement with Germany. The problem with this idea was that Germany, as a member of the European Union, could not negotiate its own agreement with the United States.

Rather than exposing Mr. Trump’s ignorance, Ms. Merkel said the United States could, of course, negotiate a bilateral agreement, but that it would have to be with Germany and the other 27 members of the union because Brussels conducted such negotiations on behalf of its members.

“So it could be bilateral?” Mr. Trump asked Ms. Merkel, according to several people in the room. The chancellor nodded.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied before turning to his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and telling him, “Wilbur, we’ll negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Europe.”

Afterward, German officials expressed relief among themselves that Ms. Merkel had managed to get through the exchange without embarrassing the president or appearing to lecture him. Some White House officials, however, said they found the episode humiliating.

For Ms. Merkel and many other Germans, something elemental has changed across the Atlantic. “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands,” she said in May. “The times in which we can fully count on others — they are somewhat over.”

Concerns on Statecraft

Mr. Trump gets along better with Mr. Macron, a 40-year-old former investment banker and fellow political insurgent who ran for the French presidency as the anti-Trump. Despite disagreeing with him on trade, immigration and climate change, Mr. Macron figured out early how to appeal to the president: He invited him to a military parade.

But Mr. Macron has discovered that being buddies with Mr. Trump can also be complicated. During the Bastille Day visit, officials recalled, Mr. Trump told Mr. Macron he was rethinking his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

That prompted French diplomats to make a flurry of excited calls to the White House for clarification the following week, only to find out that American policy had not changed. White House officials say that Mr. Trump was merely reiterating that the United States would be open to rejoining the pact on more advantageous terms.

But the exchange captures Mr. Trump’s lack of nuance or detail, which leaves him open to being misunderstood in complex international talks.

There have been fewer misunderstandings with autocrats. Mr. Xi of China and King Salman of Saudi Arabia both won over Mr. Trump by giving him a lavish welcome when he visited. The Saudi monarch projected his image on the side of a hotel; Mr. Xi reopened a long-dormant theater inside the Forbidden City to present Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, an evening of Chinese opera.

“Did you see the show?” Mr. Trump asked reporters on Air Force One after he left Beijing in November. “They say in the history of people coming to China, there’s been nothing like that. And I believe it.”

Later, chatting with his aides, Mr. Trump continued to marvel at the respect Mr. Xi had shown him. It was a show of respect for the American people, not just for the president, one adviser replied gently.

Then, of course, there is the strange case of Mr. Putin. The president spoke of his warm telephone calls with the Russian president, even as he introduced a national security strategy that acknowledged Russia’s efforts to weaken democracies by meddling in their elections.

Mr. Trump has had a bumpier time with friends. He told off Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, after she objected to his exploitation of anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-right group in Britain.

“Statecraft has been singularly absent from the treatment of some of his allies, particularly the U.K.,” said Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Trump’s feuds with Ms. May and other British officials have left him in a strange position: feted in Beijing and Riyadh but barely welcome in London, which Mr. Trump is expected to visit early next year, despite warnings that he will face angry protesters.

Aides to Mr. Trump argue that his outreach to autocrats has been vindicated. When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House in March, the president lavished attention on him. Since then, they say, Saudi Arabia has reopened cinemas and allowed women to drive.

But critics say Mr. Trump gives more than he gets. By backing the 32-year-old crown prince so wholeheartedly, the president cemented his status as heir to the House of Saud. The crown prince has since jailed his rivals as Saudi Arabia pursued a deadly intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Mr. Trump granted an enormous concession to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he announced this month that the United States would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But he did not ask anything of Mr. Netanyahu in return.

That showed another hallmark of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy: how much it is driven by domestic politics. In this case, he was fulfilling a campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. While evangelicals and some hard-line, pro-Israel American Jews exulted, the Palestinians seethed — leaving Mr. Trump’s dreams of brokering a peace accord between them and the Israelis in tatters.

With China, Mr. Trump’s cultivation of Mr. Xi probably persuaded him to put more economic pressure on its neighbor North Korea over its provocative behavior. But even the president has acknowledged, as recently as Thursday, that it is not enough. And in return for Mr. Xi’s efforts, Mr. Trump has largely shelved his trade agenda vis-à-vis Beijing.

“It was a big mistake to draw that linkage,” said Robert B. Zoellick, who served as United States trade representative under Mr. Bush. “The Chinese are playing him, and it’s not just the Chinese. The world sees his narcissism and strokes his ego, diverting him from applying disciplined pressure.”

Mr. Trump’s protectionist instincts could prove the most damaging in the long term, Mr. Zoellick said. Trade, unlike security, springs from deeply rooted convictions. Mr. Trump believes that multilateral accords — like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which he pulled out in his first week in office — are stacked against America.

“He views trade as zero-sum, win-lose,” Mr. Zoellick said.

Globalist vs. Nationalist

For some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, the key to understanding his statecraft is not how he deals with Mr. Xi or Ms. Merkel, but the ideological contest over America’s role that plays out daily between the West Wing and agencies like the State Department and the Pentagon.

“There’s a chasm that can’t be bridged between the globalists and the nationalists,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and the leader of the nationalist wing, who has kept Mr. Trump’s ear since leaving the White House last summer.

On the globalist side of the debate stand General McMaster; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; and Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn. On the nationalist side, in addition to Mr. Bannon, stand Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the chief trade negotiator. On many days, the nationalist group includes the commander in chief himself.

The globalists have curbed some of Mr. Trump’s most radical impulses. He has yet to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, though he has refused to recertify it. He has reaffirmed the United States’ support for NATO, despite his objections about those members he believes are freeloading. And he has ordered thousands of additional American troops into Afghanistan, even after promising during the campaign to stay away from nation-building.

This has prompted a few Europeans to hope that “his bark is worse than his bite,” in the words of Mr. Westmacott.

Mr. Trump acknowledges that being in office has changed him. “My original instinct was to pull out,” he said of Afghanistan, “and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

Yet some things have not changed. Mr. Trump’s advisers have utterly failed to curb his Twitter posts, for example. Some gamely suggest that they create diplomatic openings. Others say they roll with the punches when he labels Mr. Kim of North Korea “Little Rocket Man.” For Mr. Tillerson, however, the tweets have severely tarnished his credibility in foreign capitals.

“All of them know they still can’t control the thunderbolt from on high,” said John D. Negroponte, who served as the director of national intelligence for Mr. Bush.

The tweets highlight that Mr. Trump still holds a radically different view of the United States’ role in the world than most of his predecessors. His advisers point to a revealing meeting at the Pentagon on July 20, when Mr. Mattis, Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Cohn walked the president through the country’s trade and security obligations around the world.

The group convened in the secure conference room of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a storied inner sanctum known as the tank. Mr. Mattis led off the session by declaring that “the greatest thing the ‘greatest generation’ left us was the rules-based postwar international order,” according to a person who was in the room.

After listening for about 50 minutes, this person said, Mr. Trump had heard enough. He began peppering Mr. Mattis and Mr. Tillerson with questions about who pays for NATO and the terms of the free trade agreements with South Korea and other countries.

The postwar international order, the president of the United States declared, is “not working at all.”

 

 

 

 

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What Japan can teach us about the future of nationalism

Robert Hellyer and David Leheny, Jan 3, 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/01/03/what-japan-can-teach-us-about-the-future-of-the-nationalism/?sw_bypass=true&utm_term=.5d77f56571b1

accessed January 4, 2018

今年是明治維新150週年。但是如何紀念,如何說明要紀念,日本人拿不定主意。
●這篇由兩位歷史教授所寫的回顧,冷靜的剖析主流說法下的另類史實。非常推薦。

林中斌 2018.1.4

 

On Jan. 3, 1868, a cadre of samurai staged a coup at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, setting Japan on a course to become Asia’s first nation-state. Japanese are not widely commemorating the event today, even though the coup, which began the dramatic transformation of the Meiji Restoration, should rank in global history alongside Bastille Day or July Fourth as a point of national origin.

Stopping to consider this anniversary’s uncelebrated relevance highlights not only the remarkable course of national creation in Japan but also, more importantly, the tenacity of the modernizing nation-state, and its accompanying zealous commitments to sovereignty, as a global political form that continues to influence geopolitics today.

The samurai who staged the coup that day toppled the nearly three-century-old Tokugawa regime. Their alliance of feudal domains from western Japan then went on to defeat an ill-organized resistance in a brief civil war. Upon their victory, they led a new government with the young Emperor Meiji at its head.

Initially, this government formed around a ruling oligarchy that “restored” the emperor’s political role, ultimately signaling a desire to govern by reviving imperial political structures employed in an ideal, ancient past.

But they soon changed course, sensing the need for even bolder change, given the rising tide of European imperialism that many feared might make Japan a European colony. A group of leaders embarked on a nearly two-year diplomatic mission to Europe and the United States to learn firsthand about the ascendant West. Seeing the industrial and military power contained in the modern nation-state, they returned keen to implement that model at home.

With breathtaking speed, the oligarchs initiated reforms that dismantled the politically diffuse feudal state in which samurai lords ruled over semi-independent domains and pledged personal loyalty to the Tokugawa shogun. Drawing inspiration from Western political structures, the leaders eliminated the domains, reorganizing Japan into regional administrative units headed by governors appointed by the new central government. They also eliminated the samurai class, who had served as the administrators of the domain governments, and instead developed an extensive central bureaucracy that acted in the name of Meiji, whose portrait was placed in schools.

 

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自由時報登載中國進步新聞

 

自由時報2017.12.29台灣獨家登載此項中國進步的新聞。同時,那一國際版面涵蓋台灣各報中最多的國際新聞內容。

林中斌 2018.1.3

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