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为何美国既误判了阿富汗,又误判了乌克兰

Why the U.S. Was Wrong About Ukraine and the Afghan War
为何美国既误判了阿富汗,又误判了乌克兰

Ukrainian citizens learned to make Molotov cocktails from government public service announcements, then recorded themselves setting Russian armored vehicles on fire. Ukraine’s soldiers waited in ambush and fired Western-provided missiles at Russian tanks. The country’s president recorded messages from the streets of his capital, urging his country to fight back against the invaders.

乌克兰公民从政府的公益广告中学会了自制燃烧弹,然后录下自己点燃俄罗斯装甲车的视频。乌克兰士兵埋伏起来,向俄罗斯坦克发射西方提供的导弹。该国总统在首都街头录制讲话,敦促他的国家反击侵略者。

It was a stark contrast from a different set of images, just seven months ago, when the Taliban rolled into Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, unopposed. Most Afghan troops abandoned their uniforms and weapons. The president fled to the United Arab Emirates, leaving his country to the Taliban militants it had fought for some two decades.

这与七个月前的另一组画面形成了鲜明的对比,当时塔利班在没有遭遇抵抗的情况下进入阿富汗首都喀布尔。大多数阿富汗政府军放弃了军装和武器。总统逃到阿拉伯联合酋长国,将自己的国家交给了与其战斗了大约20年的塔利班武装分子。
 

本月在乌克兰的卢茨克,一个向平民传授战斗技能的课程。

The intelligence community and American military appear to have misjudged both countries’ will to fight, according to lawmakers. In Afghanistan, intelligence agencies had predicted the government and its forces could hold on for at least six months after the U.S. withdrawal. In Ukraine, intelligence officials thought the Russian army would take Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in two days. Both estimates proved wrong.

议员们表示,情报界和美国军方似乎误判了这两个国家的战斗意志。在阿富汗,情报机构曾预测政府及其部队在美国撤军后至少能坚持六个月。在乌克兰,情报官员认为俄罗斯军队将在两天内占领乌克兰首都基辅。事实证明,这两种估计都是错误的。

Assessing how well and how fiercely a military, and a nation, will defend itself is extraordinarily difficult. There are many factors to consider, including its leadership, the supplies at its disposal, the strength of the enemy and whether an opposing force is seen as an invader.

评估一支军队和一个国家的自卫能力是极其困难的。有很多因素需要考虑,包括它的领导情况、可支配的物资、敌人的实力,以及敌对力量是否被视为侵略者。

The miscalculations demonstrate that even in an age of electronic intercepts and analysis assisted by vast data collection, human relationships still matter in accurately assessing the morale of a country or military. Former intelligence officials say that is why it is critically important that the perspectives of people working directly with partner forces reach policymakers in Washington.

这些误判表明,即使在有电子拦截和大量数据收集辅助分析的时代,人际关系对于准确评估一个国家或军队的士气方面仍然很重要。前情报官员说,正因如此,直接与伙伴力量进行合作的人的观点能够传达到华盛顿决策者那里是至关重要的。

Had the U.S. view of Afghanistan been more realistic, efforts to evacuate Afghans who had assisted the American war effort could have begun earlier — or perhaps some of the billions of dollars put toward training Kabul’s military could have been spent in other ways.

如果美国对阿富汗的看法更现实一些,那么撤离曾协助美国作战的阿富汗人的工作可能会更早开始——或者,用于训练喀布尔军队的数十亿美元中可能会有一部分用在其他方面。

With Ukraine, according to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, if the United States had had a better sense of how strong and effective the Ukrainian resistance would be against a Russian invasion, it might have sent more weapons to the country sooner.

在乌克兰问题上,根据两党议员的说法,如果美国更好地认识到乌克兰对俄罗斯入侵的抵抗是多么强大而有效,它可能会更早地向该国输送更多武器。

“Assessing the will to fight in advance of a conflict like this is difficult. However the lesson of the last year is we have to figure out how to do that,” said Senator Angus King, a Maine independent and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “If we had known in advance how strong the Ukrainians would be and how weak the Russians would be, we might have been able to preposition more equipment and had aid to the Ukrainians flow in faster, based on the assumption they had a real chance.”

“在发生这样的冲突之前,评估战斗意志是困难的。但去年的教训是,我们必须弄清楚如何做到这一点,”参议院情报委员会成员、缅因州独立参议员安格斯·金说。“如果我们事先知道乌克兰人有多强,俄罗斯人有多弱,我们或许就能预先部署更多设备,在假设乌克兰人有真正机会的基础上,让他们更快地获得援助。”

How badly the intelligence agencies got it wrong is subject to debate. Ahead of the invasion, Ukraine experts “clearly and repeatedly” told policymakers in the White House and Congress that Ukraine’s government and people “probably would resist a Russian invasion,” a U.S. official said.

情报机构的错误有多严重还有待商榷。一名美国官员说,在俄罗斯入侵之前,乌克兰问题专家“明确且反复地”告诉白宫和国会的政策制定者,乌克兰政府和人民“可能会抵制俄罗斯的入侵”。

But intelligence reports are usually hedged. And under questioning from Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said this month that, before the invasion, he had thought the Ukrainians were not as ready for an attack as they needed to be.

但情报报告通常都是模棱两可的。本月,在回答阿肯色州共和党参议员汤姆·科顿的提问时,国防情报局局长斯科特·贝里尔中将表示,在入侵之前,他曾认为乌克兰人没有为反击做好应有的准备。

“Therefore, I questioned their will to fight. That was a bad assessment on my part because they have fought bravely and honorably,” General Berrier said.

“因此,我当时质疑他们的战斗意愿。这是我的一个错误评估,因为他们已经在英勇而光荣地投入战斗,”贝里尔将军说。

In an interview, Mr. Cotton said the intelligence agencies were at their best assessing Russia in the lead-up to the invasion. Once the invasion began, the assessments of Ukraine’s capabilities and Russia’s military were “less than stellar.” Still, he said, judging how effective a country’s defenses will be ahead of a potential attack is tricky.

科顿在接受采访时说,情报机构在入侵的准备阶段对俄罗斯所进行的评估是最好的。入侵开始后,他们对乌克兰和俄罗斯军事能力的评估就“不那么出色”。不过,他说,在潜在的攻击发生之前,判断一个国家的防御多么有效是很困难的。

“Will to fight is not a discrete area of intelligence you can go out and collect on it,” Mr. Cotton said. “It’s not like how many working fighters did an air force have? There’s a lot of subjectivity.”

“战斗意志不是一个可以去收集情报的独立领域,”科顿说。“这和空军有多少架现役战斗机这种事不一样,有很多主观因素。”

Recent counteroffensives by the Ukrainian military suggest that the country’s leaders are resolved to do more than simply defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Over the last week, Ukrainian forces have used tanks and fighter jets to attack Russian positions outside Kyiv and other cities in a way that demonstrates that their objective is not to take back territory, but to destroy Russian forces. It is a sign of not only savvy strategy but a clear intent by Ukraine to defeat the Russian military and win the war.

乌克兰军方最近的反击行动表明,该国领导人决心采取更多行动,而不仅仅是保卫乌克兰免受俄罗斯入侵。过去一周,乌克兰军队使用坦克和战斗机攻击基辅和其他城市外的俄罗斯阵地,这表明他们的目标不是夺回领土,而是摧毁俄罗斯军队。这不仅表明了乌克兰有明智的战略,而且表明乌克兰有明确的意图,要打败俄罗斯军队并赢得战争。

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was easy to overstate what the intelligence community got wrong, both in Ukraine and Afghanistan. Last summer, intelligence agencies repeatedly warned that the Afghan government would collapse and that military leaders were surrendering to the Taliban, Mr. Schiff said.

加利福尼亚州民主党众议员、众议院情报委员会主席亚当·希夫表示,无论是在乌克兰还是在阿富汗,情报机构的错误都很容易被夸大。希夫说,去年夏天,情报机构多次警告,阿富汗政府将垮台,军方领导人将向塔利班投降。

Mr. Schiff said that he had asked during intelligence briefings if Ukraine would fight a Russian invasion and was told by officials that, yes, they would, but that it was difficult to know what that would mean in concrete terms.

希夫说,在情报简报会上,他曾问过乌克兰是否会对抗俄罗斯的入侵,官员们告诉他,是的,他们会,但很难知道具体情况会怎样。

“If there was a blind spot, I think it was less in believing Ukrainians wouldn’t fight and more about believing the Russian military was more capable than they turned out to be,” Mr. Schiff said.

“如果说他们有盲点的话,我认为,与其说是相信了乌克兰人不会参战,不如说是相信了俄罗斯军队比事实证明的更有能力,”希夫说。

Russia believed that it would face little effective resistance from the Ukrainian military, and that it could quickly march to Kyiv, rather than having to engage in a slow grinding war, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

据美国情报机构称,俄罗斯认为自己几乎不会遇到来自乌克兰军方的有效抵抗,而且可以迅速进军基辅,不必卷入一场缓慢而痛苦的战争。

That misjudgment was amplified by the Russian military’s struggle with complex maneuver warfare, supply problems, broken-down vehicles and lack of secure communications, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

前美国情报官员说,俄罗斯军方在复杂的机动战、补给问题、车辆故障以及缺乏安全通信方面的困难放大了这种误判。

“No one doubted the will of the Ukrainians, but given the small size of their army, analysts assessed there were limits to their capability to fight a war on a modern battlefield,” said Douglas H. Wise, a retired senior C.I.A. officer and a former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. “With the scale of the Russian military dwarfing Ukraine’s much smaller size, analysts ran the numbers and assessed they would not prevail.”

“没有人怀疑乌克兰人的意志,但鉴于他们的军队的规模小,分析家们评估他们在现代战场上的战斗能力是有限的,”退休的中情局高级官员、前国防情报局副局长道格拉斯·怀斯说。“俄罗斯军队的规模比乌克兰大得多,分析人士经计算后,认为乌克兰人不会获胜。”

Intelligence officials also had no way of predicting the leadership abilities of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, which have proven key in rallying the country to the fight. One reason for the misjudgment was that the Ukrainian government, including Mr. Zelensky, was initially skeptical of American intelligence that Russia was going to invade.

情报官员也无法预测乌克兰总统泽连斯基的领导能力,事实证明这是将该国团结起来战斗的关键。误判的一个原因是,乌克兰政府——包括泽连斯基——最初对俄罗斯将要入侵的美国情报持怀疑态度。

Two weeks before the invasion, Mr. King asked intelligence officials how Mr. Zelensky would handle the attack. Mr. King had argued that had President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan not fled in the face of an advancing enemy force, Kabul might have lasted longer, and he wanted to know what Mr. Zelensky would do.

金在入侵前两周曾询问情报官员泽连斯基将如何处理这次袭击。他表示,如果阿富汗总统阿什拉夫·加尼没有在面对进军的敌人时逃跑,喀布尔也许能坚持更久,所以他想知道泽连斯基会怎么做。

“Will he be Churchill or Ghani?” Mr. King asked.

“他会是丘吉尔还是加尼?”金问道。

The officials replied that Mr. Zelensky had publicly played down the likelihood of an invasion, but they simply did not know how he would respond.

官员们回答说,泽连斯基公开淡化了入侵的可能性,但他们当时完全不知道他会如何回应。

“But boy, when the chips were down,” Mr. King said in an interview this week, “he channeled his inner Churchill.”

“但是天呐,在关键时刻,”金本周在接受采访时说,“他内心的丘吉尔出来了。”

The United States has a bad track record of assessing its partner forces stretching back to Vietnam, when U.S. officials thought the South Vietnamese army would be able to hold off the north after the American withdrawal. Indeed, the more the United States has invested in training partner forces, the less cleareyed officials have been on their prowess.

美国对其伙伴部队的糟糕评估可以追溯到越战时期,当时美国官员认为南越军队在美国撤军后能够抵挡北方。事实上,美国在训练友军方面投入的资金越多,官员们越无法清醒地评估他们的能力。

In Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, American officials believed the units they had trained would fight longer and harder than they did. It is nearly impossible to make an objective analysis of the fighting spirit of a partner force in those situations, former intelligence officers said.

在越南、伊拉克和阿富汗,美国官员相信他们训练的部队会比过去战斗更持久、更努力。前情报官员表示,在这种情况下,几乎不可能客观地分析友军的斗志。

“To get the data you have to become close to your partner and the minute you do that, lack of bias goes out the window,” Mr. Wise said.

“要获得数据,你必须靠近你的友军,一旦你这样做了,就无法做到不带偏见,”怀斯说。

Other former intelligence officials argue it is often the officers who train and work with partner forces who can accurately assess the will to fight. But that information is sometimes overlooked as it is passed up to analysts in Washington, said Marc E. Polymeropoulos, a former senior C.I.A. official who oversaw operations in Europe and the Middle East and served several times in Afghanistan.

其他前情报官员认为,能够准确评估战斗意愿的通常是与友军一起训练和合作的军官。但是,负责监督欧洲和中东行动并多次在阿富汗服役的前中央情报局高级官员马克·E·波利默罗普洛斯说,当这些信息被传递给华盛顿的分析师时偶尔会遭到忽略。

“If you ask operations officers about will to fight, they will tell you the truth based on their being on the ground with a partner,” he said. “I think any operations officer would have told you that the Afghan regular army did not have that will to fight on their own, if we left, and consistently would have said that over and over again.”

“如果你向作战官员询问战斗意愿,他们会根据他们与友军的关系告诉你真实的情况,”他说。“我想任何一位作战官员都会告诉你,如果我们离开,阿富汗正规军没有那种独自作战的意愿,而且每一次都会这么说。”

Whether the United States is prepared to handle such assessments better in the future is unclear.

尚不清楚美国是否准备在将来对此类评估作出更好的处理。

Intelligence officials believe the Russian war in Ukraine is failing. But they think President Vladimir V. Putin will adjust his tactics, doubling down on the hard-line attacks he has employed in recent weeks or looking to escalate the situation in a bid to force the West to end its support for Ukraine.

情报官员认为,俄罗斯在乌克兰的战争正在失败。但他们认为,普京总统将调整策略,加大他最近几周采取的强硬攻击力度,或者寻求升级局势以迫使西方停止对乌克兰的支持。

The idea that Ukraine is certain to lose may no longer be universally accepted, but some lawmakers think the Biden administration is still underestimating the Ukrainian military.

也许乌克兰必输的想法不再被普遍接受,但一些立法者认为拜登政府仍在低估乌克兰军队。

“Zelensky’s endgame may be victory, it may be getting Russian troops off his soil,” Mr. Cotton said. “Even if you didn’t think that a month ago, you have to concede it is certainly a possibility now.”

“泽连斯基最终可能胜利,也许能让俄罗斯军队离开他的土地,”科顿说。“即使你一个月前不这么认为,你也不得不承认现在肯定是有可能的。”
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