约翰·根室《英国外交政策》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY

By John Gunther

BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY, by John Gunther, from his Inside Europe, published by New York, Harper and Brothers, 1937, pp. 224, 225.

John Gunther, foreign news reporter for the Chicago Daily News, of America, has worked for his newspaper in almost every country of Europe. He then made a trip around the world and expected to put out a new book Outside Asia very much along the lines of his Inside Europe.

British foreign policy, which is extraordinarily constant, changing little (as Sir Samuel Hoare recently said) from generation to generation, is based, broadly speaking, on the concept of the balance of power with Britain holding the balance. “All our greatest wars,” Sir Austen Chamberlain put it, “have been fought to prevent one great military power dominating Europe, and at the same time dominating the coasts of the Channel and the ports of the Low Countries.” Trevelyan has said, “From Tudor times onwards, England treated European politics simply as a means of insuring her own security from invasion and furthering her designs beyond the ocean.” In modern times, following this policy, Britain has tended, when France was stronger than Germany, to support Germany; when Germany was stronger than France, to support France. Since the war the League of Nations has been a convenient mechanism to this end; if the League ceases to serve British purpose, Britain ignores it. Since with great shrewdness in 1919, Britain obtained the entrance of the Dominions (and India) into the League as separate states, she is always able to dominate its deliberations. Before the war it was a cardinal principle of British politics not to commit the nation to any action on the Continent in regard to hypothetical future contingencies. Locarno, the apex of the balance of power policy, changed this. All these considerations are, of course, dominated by the principle of Pax Britannica; Britain, a great trading nation, wants peace. When the sanctions crisis arose, as Walter Duranty put it, “the British did not want a war to such a degree that they were prepared to fight to avoid it.”

Another and a very curious minor factor should be mentioned. It causes much puzzlement to observers on the Continent. The British think even of foreign policy as a sort of game. Unlike the Germans or the French, to whom politics is a matter of life or death, the British are capable of extreme detachment in the direction of their complex foreign affairs. Europe is a sort of stage;the play that is going on is a play. And if someone misses his cue, or blunders with his lines, the average Briton always assumes that the drama is merely a rehearsal, and can be played over again—better.

Roughly there are two groups in the foreign office. The first comprises the pro-Leaguers who are idealists. They hope through a system of collective security to bring Germany into the amicable concert of great powers. They view war as a literal horror; the Abyssinian crisis meant to them the collapse of moral law in Europe. The second group, mostly represented by older men, are willing enough to give the League a bit of rope, but they distrust the efficacy of the collective security principle, and put their hopes in (1) a powerful navy, and (2) isolationism. The opinions of this group served to encourage Germany, because isolation—noninterference in Europe—is tantamount to taking the German side.

Notes

Sir Samuel Hoare, English statesman, secretary of state for India, foreign minister (1935), then first lord of the Admiralty, often spoken of as the next prime minister.

Sir Austen Chamberlain, English statesman, approaching his eighties, has filled practically every great political office in England.

the Channel, the English Channel, separating England from Europe.

the Low Countries, Holland and Belgium.

Trevelyan, George Otto (1838-1928), English politician, biographer, and historian.

Tudor times, the times of the English sovereigns from Henry VII to Elizabeth, from 1485 to 1603.

hypothetical future contingencies, thing that may happen in the future but based on a supposition that may not be founded on truth.

Locarno, the Pact of Locarno, a set of treaties concluded at Locarno in 1925, with France, Germany, and Belgium, as chief parties, and Great Britain and Italy as guarantors, intended to secure the inviolability of the frontiers and other safeguards of peace. Locarno is in Switzerland.

apex, highest point, culmination.

Pax Britannica, the peace of Britain, the abstention from war enforced on States subject to the British Empire.

sanctions crisis. When Mussolini made use of the Walwal Incident of December 5, 1934, to descend upon Abyssinia, especially after October 3, 1935, Britain countered by proposing that sanctions (penalties) might be applied to Italy for violation of the Covenant of the League of Nations. But sanctions started slowly and failed.

Walter Duranty, newspaper observer who has written extensively, especially on Russia, his Duranty Reports Russia being extensively quoted.

extreme detachment, standing absolutely aloof from and being completely unaffected by surroundings, opinions, etc.

misses his cue, forgets to speak when he is supposed to speak in a play; misses the moment when he should come in.

blunders with his lines, makes mistakes when speaking his lines in a play.

rehearsal, a preparatory performance of a play or other entertainment.

the pro-Leaguers, those in favor of the League of Nations.

the Abyssinian crisis, precipitated when Italy attacked and took over control of Abyssinia.

isolationism, Britain standing apart, isolating herself, not having anything much to do with other nations, not entering into pacts with other nations.

tantamount, equivalent to.

Questions

  1. On what concept is British foreign policy based?
  2. Before the war, what was the cardinal policy of British politics?
  3. What very curious minor factor should be mentioned?
  4. What are the two groups in the foreign office?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《英国外交政策》一文选自约翰·根室所著《欧洲内幕》,纽约哈珀兄弟出版社1937年出版,224、225页。

【作者简介】

约翰·根室是美国芝加哥《每日新闻》的驻外记者,足迹几乎遍及欧洲所有国家。后来,他进行了一次世界环游,希望仿照《欧洲内幕》创作一本新书《亚洲之外》。

英国外交政策

不列颠的外交政策非常稳定,代代之间几乎没有什么变化(塞缪尔·霍尔爵士近日这样评价道)。概括地说,这一外交政策是基于权力平衡的理念,不列颠主宰了这种平衡。“我们所有最伟大的战争,”奥斯丁·张伯伦爵士曾指出,“其目的都在于阻止某种巨大的军事力量主宰欧洲和控制英吉利海峡沿岸和低地国家的港口。”特里维廉(旧译作屈威廉——译者按)曾说过,“自都铎时代以来,英格兰仅仅将欧洲政治作为确保自身免受侵略及实现自身在海外战略的手段。”近代,按照这一方针,英国在法国比德国强大时支持德国,在德国比法国强大时支持法国。战后,国际联盟已成为实现这一目的的便利机构。如果国联未能实现不列颠的目的,不列颠就会无视国联的存在。1919年,不列颠很精明地使英联邦自治领(和印度)作为独立国家加入国联,自此,不列颠总是能够支配国联的决议。战前,不列颠一个基本的政治原则是:不因为设想的未来意外事件而对欧洲大陆国家采取任何行动。作为权力平衡政策的顶点,洛迦诺公约改变了这一状况。当然,所有考量都受到“不列颠治下和平”政策的左右;作为一个重要的贸易国家,不列颠渴望和平。制裁危机出现后,正如沃尔特·杜兰蒂所述,“不列颠反对战争,甚至到了不惜使用武力以阻止它的地步。”

还应提及另一个非常有趣的次要因素,该因素为欧洲大陆观察家带来了许多困惑。不列颠甚至将外交政策视为一种游戏。对德国和法国而言,政治是你死我活的事情,而不列颠与这两个国家不同,它能够在复杂的外交事务中保持高度的超脱。欧洲是个舞台;舞台上的戏也不过是一出戏而已。如果有人错过了自己的提词,或者说错了台词,普通的不列颠人总是认为这出戏仅仅是一次排练,可以再演一次——到时会演得更好。

外交部的人大略分为两种。一种是亲国联的理想主义者,他们希望通过一种集体安全体系使德国与大国们合作,他们将战争视为一种实实在在的恐怖;对他们而言,阿比西尼亚危机就是欧洲道德法则的崩溃。另一种主要以年长者为代表,他们很乐意给予国联一点自由,不过不相信集体安全原则的效力,反而将自己的希望寄托于(1)强大的海军和(2)孤立主义政策。这些人的观点足以鼓励德国,因为孤立(即不干涉欧洲)相当于站在德国一边。

 

(彭萍 译)

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