每日新素材,等你来认领! http://www.ltaaa.com/translation.html

-------------译者:cyber power-审核者:龙腾翻译总管------------

As the two giants stare each other down in the Himalayas the real conflict may erupt at sea.

Right now China and India are glaring at each other across Doklam the contested ground along the Sino-Indian frontier high in the Himalayas. It was the Himalayan border that prompted their last serious fight when China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) dealt the Indians a short sharp defeat in 1962. But any future war might not be fought on the high mountains but the high seas.


A Sino-Indian naval war seems improbable for sure — but so do most wars before they happen. It’s certainly not unthinkable and so it behooves Asia-watchers to lay out the odds now rather than be guilty of a failure of imagination should the worst transpire.


Bottom line: Don’t be taken in by numbers indicating that China would steamroll India in a sea fight. Martial enterprises are seldom that neat.



China has settled its border disputes with most in the region — but it prefers to leave the contest with some of its neighbors simmering especially India. A spokesman for China’s defense ministry Col. Wu Qian warned Indians not to “push your luck” in the Doklam dispute. For good measure Wu added that the Indian Army would find it “easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA.” Beyond the present conflict Chinese and Indian media have a long history of competing to see who can shout “By jingo!” in the other’s direction the loudest.


History shows that rancor on land or in the air can easily sprawl out to sea. Or a saltwater conflict could ensue independently of events ashore. Both contestants take a proprietary view of waters off their coasts. China thinks about the South China Sea as a zone of “indisputable” or “irrefutable” sovereignty where Beijing ought to make the rules and others ought to obey. In a similar vein India models its foreign policy and strategy in part on the Monroe Doctrine and thus regards the Indian Ocean as an Indian preserve.



Such claims should have a familiar ring to Americans. During its own rise to regional and world power the United States sought to exclude powerful outsiders from the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico — its outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The Monroe Doctrine started off as a joint defense of the Americas against European imperial powers. It ended up with Washington proclaiming that its “fiat [was] law” throughout these waters and that it could exercise an “international police power” there — meddling in fellow American states’ affairs to preclude European seizures of territory in the Western Hemisphere.

这样的声明对美国人来说应该是有些耳熟的。在美国崛起成为地区霸主和世界霸主的过程中,美国设法将强大的局外国家驱逐出加勒比海和墨西哥湾,打通了它通往太平洋的通道。门罗主义始于美洲针对欧洲帝国主义列强所进行的一次共同防御,美国在这些海域宣布了“政令即法律”声明,并且在那里执行他“国际警察”的职责--- 干预、管辖其他美洲国家事务,阻止欧洲对西半球领土的占有。

The sense that nearby seas constitute a rightful mare nostrum — ancient Romans thought of the Mediterranean as “our sea” — means that Indians and Chinese are predisposed to resent and oppose apparent encroachment by outsiders in these seaways. Fishing disputes or undersea drilling take on particular resonance; natural resources concentrate minds in Asian capitals. Indians look askance at China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative which aims to build infrastructure and aid economic development along Eurasia’s historic silk roads land and sea.



And Chinese courtship of South Asian coastal states looks suspiciously like an effort to construct a “string of pearls” or network of naval bases in the Indian navy’s traditional operating grounds. Most recently Beijing negotiated a 99-year lease of the Sri Lankan seaport of Hambantota lodging itself firmly in the subcontinent’s environs while Chinese engineers have fortified their naval station in Djibouti in the extreme western reaches of the Indian Ocean.


In short the kindling for marine conflict is increasingly in place while any number of quarrels between New Delhi and Beijing could strike the match. So who would come out on top in an armed conflict? Well the two navies are roughly comparable in aircraft-carrier aviation operating one modest flattop apiece. That parity in numbers appears set to persist for some years but carrier aircraft aren’t the whole of naval striking power.