用户名: 密码: 验证码:    注册 | 忘记密码?


2015-05-19    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Books and Arts;  文艺;

Book Review; 书评;

Russia and the West; 俄罗斯与西方世界;

Slip and slide 跌落并下滑;

Change or Decay: Russia's Dilemma and the West's Response. By Lilia Shevtsova and Andrew Wood.

This book, says Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, in a foreword, “is different, and deserves to make an impact”. The first is certainly true. It takes the form of a lengthy series of exchanges between two old friends: Lilia Shevtsova, a Russian who works for America's Carnegie Endowment in Moscow, and Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador there. Their subject is the relationship between Russia and the West, still neurotic and plagued with misunderstandings 20 years after the Soviet collapse. Why do so many Russians feel threatened, betrayed and disappointed by the West? Some there see it as a flawed paradigm of human rights, free elections and the rule of law. Others find it a self-righteous bully.

Ms Shevtsova politely bemoans a “failure of imagination” in the West. Too comfortable with the old bipolar world, it splurged cash when it should have imposed conditions, was stingy when it should have been generous and naive when it should have been tough. Tolerance for Boris Yeltsin's faults opened the way for the rigged elections and crony capitalism of Vladimir Putin's ex-KGB regime. Her interlocutor's realism is an excellent foil for this idealistic approach. European and American leaders, he argues, were “stumbling about in the dark”. For all their faults, it would have been unrealistic to expect much more of them. Mr Yeltsin's rule did not inevitably presage Mr Putin's.

New failures come in for scrutiny too. America in 2009 “reset” relations with the regime in Russia, bringing some gains but sacrificing (in the authors' eyes) Western moral credibility. They rightly decry the unhealthily close ties of some European politicians to their counterparts in Russia.

The debate coins useful and vivid terms. Ms Shevtsova's description of the “imitation partnership” between Russia and the West is acute. So is Sir Andrew's description of the West as a simultaneous magnet, threat and rebuke to Russia. He recasts the West's message to Russian oligarchs wanting to immigrate: “give me your rich, your sated, yearning to breathe safe.” A sharp insight concerns asymmetry. Russian leaders obsessively search for slights, weaknesses and plots in the world outside. Traffic the other way is scant. Ms Shevtsova notes how few Russians realise that the world is “fed up with our problems”.

Both see bleak views ahead. Ms Shevtsova believes that the elite's misrule is demoralising society and could “bring Russia down in flames”; Sir Andrew says that the “smell of danger is in the air”. Their joint conclusion likens Russia to a theatre: the play is over but the actors will not leave the stage and keep trying to win attention for what has become a plotless rigmarole; the audience feels trapped, bored and frustrated.

Reading the book is like being an eavesdropper as two companions take a long country walk. They chew over great mutual concerns, sometimes with gentle teasing, mostly helping each other over intellectual obstacles, pondering the way ahead and the lessons of the path already taken. The effect is intimate but a touch claustrophobic. One begins to hunger for some other views, even if less elegantly and sympathetically expressed.

lengthy adj. 漫长的,冗长的;啰唆的

flawed adj. 有缺陷的;有瑕疵的;有裂纹的

presage n. 预感;前兆

scrutiny n. 详细审查;监视;细看;选票复查

simultaneous adj. 同时的;联立的;同时发生的

asymmetry n. 不对称

rigmarole n. 冗长的废话

eavesdropper n. 偷听者

claustrophobic n. 幽闭恐怖症患者/ adj. 患幽闭恐怖症的;导致幽闭恐怖症的

手机上普特 m.putclub.com 手机上普特
发表评论 查看所有评论
用户名: 密码: 验证码:
  • 推荐文章
  • 资料下载
  • 讲座录音