纽约时报文摘 | 美国的最大威胁是我们自己


Near the close of last Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, Chuck Todd asked the candidates what he called “a simple question.” In “one word,” he asked, who or what is the biggest geopolitical threat to America today?
在上周三民主党总统竞选人辩论接近尾声时,查克·托德(Chuck Todd)问了一个他所谓的“简单问题”。他要求两人用“一个词”说出当今美国面临的最大地缘政治威胁是谁,或者是什么?

Reflecting on that moment, I asked myself what I would say. It didn’t take long to decide. It’s not China or Russia or Iran. It’s us. We’ve become the biggest threat to ourselves.

China, Russia, Iran and even North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man” aren’t going to take us down. Only we can take ourselves down.

Only we can ensure that the American dream — the core promise we’ve made to ourselves that each generation will do better than its parents — is not fulfilled, because we fail to adapt in this age of rapidly accelerating changes in technology, markets, climates, the workplace and education.

And that is nearly certain to happen if we don’t stop treating politics as entertainment, if we don’t get rid of a president who daily undermines truth and trust — the twin fuels needed to collaborate and adapt together — if we don’t prevent the far left from pulling the Democrats over a cliff with reckless ideas like erasing the criminal distinction between those who enter America legally and those who don’t, and if we fail to forge what political analyst David Rothkopf described in a?recent Daily Beast essay?as “a new American majority.”
如果我们继续把政治当作娱乐;如果我们无法摆脱一个每天都在破坏真相和信任的总统——真相和信任是合作与适应的两大动力;如果我们不能阻止极左翼用抹去合法与非法进入美国者之间的刑事区别这类不计后果的想法把民主党拖向悬崖;如果我们不能达成政治分析家戴维·罗斯科普夫(David Rothkopf)最近在《每日野兽》(Daily Beast)的发文中所描述的那种“新美国多数”,这种事几乎肯定会发生。

That’s a majority that can not only win the next election but can?actually govern?the morning after, actually enable us to do big hard things, because we have so many big hard things that need to be addressed — and big hard adaptations can only be done quickly together.

Sounds na?ve? No, here’s what’s na?ve. Thinking we’re going to be O.K. if we keep ignoring the big challenges barreling down on us, if we just keep taking turns having one party rule and the other obstruct — with the result that no big, long-term and well-thought-out adaptations get built.

Indeed, this moment reminds me of something that Mark Mykleby, a retired Marine colonel, said in a book I co-authored in 2011 with Michael Mandelbaum, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back:
事实上,现在这一刻让我想起2011年我与迈克尔·曼德尔鲍姆(Michael Mandelbaum)合著的《我们曾是那样——美国是如何在自己发明的世界上落后的,我们要怎样才能回来》(That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back)一书中引用退役海军上校马克·麦克莱比(Mark Mykleby)所说的话:

“At no time in our history have our national challenges been as complex and long-term as those we face today.” But, he said, the most salient feature of our politics of late has been our inability “to respond coherently and effectively to obvious problems before they become crises. … If we can’t even have an ‘adult’ conversation, how will we fulfill the promise of and our obligation to the Preamble of our Constitution — to ‘secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity’?” How indeed?

Here are just a few of the challenges coming head-on:

First, if we have four more years of Trump, we’ll probably lose any chance of keeping the global average temperature from rising only 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees — which scientists believe is the difference between being able to manage the now unavoidable climate-related weather extremes and avoiding the unmanageable ones.

Second, as Ray Dalio, the founder of the Bridgewater hedge fund, recently pointed out, there has been “little or no real income growth for most people for decades. … Prime-age workers in the bottom 60 percent have had no real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) income growth since 1980.” In that same time frame, the “incomes for the top 10 percent have doubled and those of the top 1 percent have tripled. The percentage of children who grow up to earn more than their parents has fallen from 90 percent in 1970 to 50 percent today. That’s for the population as a whole. For most of those in the lower 60 percent, the prospects are worse.”
其次,正如布里奇沃特对冲基金(Bridgewater hedge fund)创始人雷·戴利奥(Ray Dalio)最近指出的那样,“几十年来,大多数人的实际收入几乎或根本没有增长……自1980年以来,处于底层60%的黄金年龄段员工就没有真正的收入增长(扣除通货膨胀因素)。”在同一时期,“最富有的10%人群的收入翻了一番,而最富有的1%人群的收入翻了三倍。长大成人后收入超过父母的孩子所占的比例从1970年的90%下降到了今天的50%。这是针对全体人口的。对于大多数收入水平在60%以下的人来说前景更糟。”

The anger over that is surely one of the things that propelled Trump into office and, if not addressed, could propel someone even worse, like Donald Trump Jr., in the future.
对此事的愤怒肯定是促使特朗普上台的原因之一,如果不加以解决,未来可能会促使更糟糕的人上台,比如小唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump Jr.)。

Third, the next four years will redefine relations between the world’s two biggest economies — the U.S. and China. Either the U.S. will persuade China to abandon the abusive trade practices it adopted to go from poverty to middle income and from a technology consumer to a technology producer, or we’re headed for a world divided by a new digital Berlin Wall. There will be a Chinese-controlled internet and technology sphere and American versions — and every other country will have to decide whose to join. The globalization that provided so much peace and prosperity for the last 70 years will fracture.

Fourth, technology is propelling social networks and cybertools deeper and deeper into our lives, our privacy and our politics — and democratizing the tools for “deep fakes,” so that many more people can erode truth and trust. But the gap between the speed at which these technologies are going deep and the ability of our analog politics to develop the rules, norms and laws to govern them is getting wider, not narrower. That gap has to be closed to preserve our democracy.

Fifth, today’s workplace is distinguished by one overriding new reality, argues?Heather McGowan, an expert on the future of work: “The pace of change is accelerating at the exact same time that people’s work lives are elongating.”
其五,未来工作方面的专家希瑟·麦高恩(Heather McGowan)认为,当今的职场有一项很突出的新现实:“变化在加速,与此同时人们的工作年限也在变长。”

When the efficient steam engine was developed in the 1700s, McGowan explains, average life expectancy was 37 years and steam was the driving force in industry and business for around 100 years. When the combustion engine and electricity were harnessed in the mid-1800s, life expectancy was around 40 years and these technologies dominated the workplace for about another century.

So in both eras, notes McGowan, “you had multiple generations to absorb a single big change in the workplace.”

In today’s digital information age, “you have multiple changes in the nature of work within a generation,” McGowan says. This dramatically increases the need for lifelong learning. “The old model was that you learned once in order to work, and now we must work in order to learn continuously,” she contends. So we’re going from a model of “learn, work, retire” to a model of “learn, work, learn, work, learn, work.”

In that kind of world the new social contract has to be that government makes sure that the safety nets and all the tools for lifelong learning are available to every American — but it’s on each citizen to use them. This moment “is not about who to blame or what to bring back or what to give away,” concludes McGowan. “It is about how to create a new deal that engages the American people to ‘take longer strides,’” as President John F. Kennedy said in seeking funding for NASA. But more of that striding will be on you for more of your life.
在这样一种世界里,新的社会契约必须是,政府要确保每一个美国人能得到安全网以及终身学习所需的所有工具——但对它们的使用,就要看每个国民自己的了。此时此刻“重点不在于该责备谁,要带回什么,或付出什么,”麦高恩总结称。“而在于如何建立新政,能促使美国人民‘迈出更大的步伐’”,正如在为美国国家航空航天局(NASA)寻求资助时,约翰·F·肯尼迪(John F. Kennedy)总统所说的那样。但在你人生的多数时间里,那样的步子将更多地取决于你自己。

Fortunately, the midterm elections showed us that there is a potential new American majority out there to be assembled to meet these challenges. After all, it was the independent voters, suburban women and moderate Republicans — who shifted their votes to Democrats, because they were appalled by Trump’s lying, racist-tinge nationalism and divisiveness — who enabled the Democrats to win back the House of Representatives. That same partnership could topple Trump.

If Democrats can choose a nominee who speaks to our impending challenges, but who doesn’t say irresponsible stuff about immigration or promise free stuff we can’t afford, who defines new ways to work with business and energize job-creators, who treats with dignity the frightened white working-class voters who abandoned them for Trump — and who understands that many, many Americans are worried that we’re on the verge of a political civil war and want someone to pull us together — I think he or she will find a new American majority waiting to be assembled and empowered.