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In early September 2017, in the eighth month of the Trump presidency, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs and the president’s top economic adviser in the White House, moved cautiously toward the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

2017年9月初,特朗普就任总统的第八个月,前高盛总裁、白宫首席经济顾问盖瑞•柯恩小心翼翼地走向白宫椭圆形办公室的坚决桌。

In his 27 years at Goldman, Cohn—6-foot-3, bald, brash and full of self-confidence— had made billions for his clients and hundreds of millions for himself. He had granted himself walk-in privileges to Trump’s Oval Office, and the president had accepted that arrangement.

柯恩身高6.3英尺,秃顶、傲慢又自信满满,在高盛工作的27年里,他帮客户赚了数十亿美元,也帮自己赚了数亿美元。凭借自己的?#24049;每?#30865;,他为自己赢得了随意进入特朗普椭圆形办公室的特权,总统也接受了这种安排。

On the desk was a one-page draft letter from the president addressed to the president of South Korea, terminating the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS.

办公桌上放着一份信的草稿,只有一张纸,柯恩迅速看了一下信的内容,这是写给韩国总统的信,信中提到要终结美韩自由贸易协定(KORUS)。



The ability to detect a launch in seven seconds would give the United States military the time to shoot down a North Korean missile. It is perhaps the most important and most secret operation in the United States government. The American presence in South Korea represents the essence of national security.

7秒内监测到朝鲜发射的洲际导弹,美军就有足够的时间予以击落。这可能是美国政府最重要也是最秘密的行动。美国在韩国的军事存在是美国国家安全的根本。

Withdrawal from the KORUS trade agreement, which South Korea deemed essential to its economy, could lead to an unraveling of the entire relationship. Cohn could not believe that President Trump would risk losing vital intelligence assets crucial to U.S. national security.

韩国把美韩自由贸易协定看做经济基础,撤回这份协定会导致美韩关系的全面瓦解。这样的话,美国国家安全生死攸关的情报?#20160;?#21487;能会丧失,柯恩不敢相信特朗普总统竟?#25442;?#20882;这个险。

This all stemmed from Trump’s fury that the United States had an $18 billion annual trade deficit with South Korea and was spending $3.5 billion a year to keep U.S. troops there.

这一切都源于特朗普的愤怒,因为每年美国对韩国的贸易赤字高达180亿美元,维持美军在韩驻扎的费用是35亿美元。

Despite almost daily reports of chaos and discord in the White House, the public did not know how bad the internal situation actually was. Trump was always shifting, rarely fixed, erratic. He would get in a bad mood, something large or small would infuriate him, and he would say about the KORUS trade agreement, “We’re withdrawing today.”

尽管每天?#21152;?#20851;于白宫混乱和不和谐的报道,但是公众并不知道白宫内部局?#39057;?#24213;有多糟糕。特朗普一直在变,很少有固定的想法。他的情绪一直很坏,多大的事都能激怒他,不管大事还是小事,对于美韩自由贸易协定,他会说:“我们今天就退出。”



Porter, 6-foot-4, rail-thin, 40 years old and raised a Mormon, was one of the gray men: an organization man with little flash who had attended Harvard and Harvard Law School and been a Rhodes Scholar.

波特身高6.4英寸,瘦得像麻杆,四十岁,信奉摩门教,也是一?#25442;?#33394;人:一位有点闪光的?#30333;?#32455;人”,年轻时在哈佛大学法学院读书,曾经是位罗兹学者。

Porter later discovered there were multiple copies of the draft letter, and either Cohn or he made sure none remained on the president’s desk.

波特后来发现这封信还有好几份复印件,不过柯恩和波特确认这些信?#25442;?#20986;现在特朗普的办公桌上。

Cohn and Porter worked together to derail what they believed were Trump’s most impulsive and dangerous orders. That document and others like it just disappeared. When Trump had a draft on his desk to proofread, Cohn at times would just yank it, and the president would forget about it. But if it was on his desk, he’d sign it. “It’s not what we did for the country,” Cohn said privately. “It’s what we saved him from doing.”

柯恩和波特认为这将会是特朗普总统最冲动也是最危险的命令,幸好两人联手破坏了这份命令。那封信和相关的文件都消失了。当特朗普在办公桌?#38386;?#23545;文件草稿时,柯恩有时会把文件抽出来,而总统就会把文件的事忘了。但是如果文件出现在了办公桌上,他就会签字。柯恩私底下说:“我们这么做不是为了国家,而是为了救他。”

It was no less than an administrative coup d’état, an undermining of the will of the president of the United States and his constitutional authority.

这不仅仅是一场行政政变,更违背了美国总统的意志,侵害了总统的宪法权威。

In addition to coordinating policy decisions and schedules and running the paperwork for the president, Porter told an associate, “A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren’t such good ideas.”

波特告诉同僚,除了协调决策,安排时间表和为总统提供文书工作,“我的工作还有第三个任务,那就是尽量处理总统的非常危险的想法,并试图说服总统也许这并不是好主意。”

Another strategy was to delay, procrastinate, cite legal restrictions. Lawyer Porter said, “But slow-walking things or not taking things up to him, or telling him—rightly, not just as an excuse—but this needs to be vetted, or we need to do more process on this, or we don’t have legal counsel clearance—that happened 10 times more frequently than taking papers from his desk. It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually.”

另一个策略是拖?#21360;?#32829;搁,引用法?#19978;?#21046;。身为律师的波特说:?#23433;还?#25302;延事情或者压根就不提是正确的做法,不过这不是理由,因为这需要经过审查,不然的话我们就要走很多流程,或者我们没有法律顾问指导,这种情况比从他办公桌上拿走文件的频率多十倍。我们感觉每天都走在悬崖边上。”

There were days or weeks when the operation seemed under control and they were a couple of steps back from the edge. “Other times, we would fall over the edge, and an action would be taken. It was like you were always walking right there on the edge.”

几天或者几周的时间,行动看起来都在控制中,他们离悬崖只有几步之遥。“我们每天?#21363;?#22312;危险的边缘,必须要采取行动。这种生活就像每天都走在悬崖边上。”

Although Trump never mentioned the missing September 5 letter, he did not forget what he wanted to do about the trade agreement. “There were several different iterations of that letter,” Porter told an associate.

尽管特朗普从未提到过9月5日丢失的信,但是他没有忘记自己要怎么处理美韩贸易协定。“那封信有好几种不同的版本,”波特对助理说。



“Send me the draft,” he told him. “If we’re going to do this, we cannot do it on the back of a napkin. We have to write it up in a way that isn’t going to embarrass us.”

“把草稿给我,”波特告诉库什纳,“如果我们打算这么做,就不能把内容写在餐巾纸的背面。我们必须写得清楚点,这样才不至于太?#38480;巍!?br />
Kushner sent down a paper copy of his draft. It was not of much use. Porter and Cohn had something typed up to demonstrate they were doing what the president had asked. Trump was expecting an immediate response. They wouldn’t walk in empty-handed. The draft was part of the subterfuge.

库什纳把草拟好的信发了过来。当然这没?#20889;?#30340;?#20040;Α?#27874;特和柯恩打印出了一些东西来证明他们正在按照总统的吩咐做。特朗普希望立即回应。不过波特和柯恩可不是空着手来的。草稿不过是计谋的一部分。

At a formal meeting, the opponents of leaving KORUS raised all kinds of arguments—the United States had never withdrawn from a free trade agreement before; there were legal issues, geopolitical issues, vital national security and intelligence issues; the letter wasn’t ready. They smothered the president with facts and logic.

在一次正式会议上,退出美韩贸易协定的反对者们提供了各种各样的理由,美国没有退出自由贸易协定的先例;这会引起法律纠纷,造成地缘政治问题,引起致命的国家安全和情报问题;信还没有准备好。他们用事实和逻辑?#31181;?#24635;统决定。

“Well, let’s keep working on the letter,” Trump said. “I want to see the next draft.”
Cohn and Porter did not prepare a next draft. So there was nothing to show the president. The issue, for the moment, disappeared in the haze of presidential decision making. Trump got busy with other things.

“好吧,接着写信吧”特朗普说道,“把修改后的草稿给我看一下。”
柯恩和波特没有准备另一份草稿。所以,总统?#35009;匆裁?#26377;看到。所以,暂时的,这个问题在总统的决策迷雾中消失了。特朗普去忙其他事了。



American military and intelligence assets in South Korea are the backbone of our ability to defend ourselves from North Korea. Please don’t leave the deal.

美国在韩国的军事和情报?#20160;?#26159;我们防备朝鲜的基础。请不要放弃。

Why is the U.S. paying $1 billion a year for an anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea? Trump asked. He was furious about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, and had threatened to pull it out of South Korea and move it to Portland, Oregon.

为?#35009;?#32654;国每年要为韩国的导弹防御系统支付10亿美元?特朗普问道。他?#22278;?#32626;在韩国的萨德系统非常愤怒,威胁要将萨德系统撤回,部署到俄勒冈州的波特?#38469;小?br />
“We’re not doing this for South Korea,” Mattis said. “We’re helping South Korea because it helps us.”

“我们不能这么对韩国,”马蒂?#39038;擔?#24110;助韩国就?#21069;?#21161;我们自己。”

The president seemed to acquiesce, but only for the moment.

最后,总统是勉?#23458;?#24847;了,不过也只是一时而已。

In 2016, candidate Trump gave Bob Costa and myself his definition of the job of president: “More than anything else, it’s the security of our nation. . . . That’s number one, two and three. . . . The military, being strong, not letting bad things happen to our country from the outside. And I certainly think that’s always going to be my number-one part of that definition.”

2016年,还是总统候选人的特朗普告诉科?#39038;?#20182;理解的总统工作:?#30333;?#37325;要的是国家安全;这是第一位的,然后才有第二第三。军事实力一定要强,不能让外面不好的事情发生在我们国?#25671;?#25105;当然认为这是我对总统定义中最重要的部分。”

The reality was that the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words and actions of an emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable leader. Members of his staff had joined to purposefully block some of what they believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses. It was a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world.

然而现实却是,2017年的美国受制于语言和?#24418;?#36807;度情绪化、善变、经常有出乎意?#29616;?#20030;的领导人。他手下的人自觉地联合起来,阻止总统做出危险的冲动之举。这就是世界最?#30475;?#22269;家的行政管理权利的精神?#35272;!?br />