The Role of Alliances and Future Operations
-- Interview with the Chairman of the National Defense Panel, Philip A. Odeen(April 10, 1998) 访国防小组委员会主席菲利普•奥迪思
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: How do you view the role of alliances in international security and regional stability in the future? Will it be changed somewhat in content and form from today?
MR. ODEEN: I think alliances will continue to be very important in the future. I mean, our principal alliance is still active, and it is changing of course with admission of new countries, it’s gotten larger. Its military purposes are not as clear because you don’t have a Soviet threat any more.
The first time NATO1 had operated2 outside of its own area was when they went into Bosnia. That was quite a change. And so I believe you’ll see NATO wiling to operate outside of the European theaters more over time, but as the alliance gets larger and more and more countries are involved, it also makes it harder to get a consensus, to get agreement, and so it will be more difficult.
The United States has really dominated NATO for many, many years, but our position is not as powerful as it was, I think probably because the big threat is gone. The Soviet threat’s gone. So although the structure is still there, but I think the American influence is not quite as strong, and in 5 or 10 years it may be weaker yet.
In Asia, we don’t really have alliances like that. Japan, of course, is still a major ally. Korea is probably the most obvious ally, but they are really focused on the North Korea problem. If North Korea were to go away, if they ever did combine, that alliance would be of much less purpose at that point. There has been a strengthening of the U.S.-Japan relationship over the last 2 or 3 years, and I think Japan is much more essential, critical.
So I think it’s harder to forecast in Asia, because it depends very much on Japan to some extent. Will Japan’s economy recover? If America stays involved in Asia, I think there’s a good chance that Japan will remain as they are. If America begins to pull back, there will be a lot of pressure in Japan for them to build up their armaments.
So there’s a lot of dynamics3 going on in Asia between China, and Japan, and the United States that are very hard to forecast. You can’t forecast it. I don’t think it’s inevitable that we have to be hostile to one another. I think there are many opportunities for the relationship to get closer over time. And I hope that’s what will happen. And I think both China and the United States-perhaps maybe our most important foreign policy objective ought to be to maintain a good relationship with one another, because we’re both large and potentially hostile countries, and if we become hostile, it’s going to be bad for everybody. We’ll both have to spend more money in defense. There will be many problems.
So I think it’s very important that we continue to try to build good relations, good trade relations, investment. I think it’s very healthy to have Chinese students in the United States, more Americans going to China. We need to work on that, I think. It’s very important for both countries that we do that.
MR. CHEN: It is likely that urban operations4 will become more important in the future. What are your comments on the importance of urban operations?
MR. ODEEN: One of the things that’s happening in every country in the world, China and everywhere, is the cities are getting much, much larger, and people are leaving the country and moving to the cities, because of course there are job opportunity there. And that’s happening in Africa. It’s happening everywhere, and especially in areas like South America, Central America. But it’s happening in most parts of the world. And also the urban areas tend to be the areas where the discontent-that’s where radical elements may be. It’s easier to organize in large urban areas. So if there are terrorist groups that are opposing the government, and the government has to come in and help them, you’re going to have to operate in cities. And it’s something that’s very difficult for military forces to operate in cities. Nobody likes to fight in cities. The military are very vulnerable.
One of the things that the U.S. military has to do is to learn both better tactics5 and also develop better equipment. The Marine Corps6 is setting up a training area in California, out in the desert, an urban training facility to train in how to work in cities, what are the tactics you use, how do you operate effectively.
There’s also a good bit of money being spent on better technology. There are sensors that can detect a person behind a wall, because of very small temperature differences and using various kinds of radars, and infrared, and things like that. So there may be different ways to use technology to make it more effective to fight in those circumstances.
But this is something that generally the American military has avoided fighting into-they can just go around them, and leave them, and try to stay out of the cities. But that will not continue to work I don’t think.
MR. CHEN: What is your comment on the importance of U.S. power projection capability in the future? Does the U.S. attempt to strengthen its power projection capability mean a reduction in its forward presence in the future?
MR. ODEEN: We are a long way away without having to take as much logistic7 support along. The Air Force has concepts for deploying aircraft squadrons8 with only very small amounts of support in relying on a resupply to send your replacement parts and black boxes from the United States, using airlift rather than putting big maintenance activities at air fields, finding ways to resupply more rapidly from the distance, rather than having it all there.
Even the use of smart weapons9 requires less weight, less tonnage. Fewer weapons will do the job, so you don’t have to have as much stuff. The old style iron bombs are very heavy and difficult to move.
So there’s a lot of new concepts, tactics and equipment that let us put forces a long ways to the United States, very quickly, and more easily because you don’t have to take as much stuff along.
One of the things when we were doing our study, when we traveled dither to Asia or to Europe, the question always was, are you going to keep 100,000 Americans-there was about 100,000 in Asia, about 100,000 in Europe. Are you going to keep them there for a long time? But it’s a political sign of American commitment, and if there are no forces there, people are not assured that we’ll bring them when they need them, so they see them as a sign of our commitment, sign of our guarentee. In Korea, for example, if there are Americans there, and the Americans are going to get involved, to get killed on day one if there’s an attack from the North Koreans, they know that the Americans will be involved. If they’re not there, then there may be questions, there may be doubts. So maybe having them there is a deterrent in a difficult situation like Korea.
And even though we’re better at deploying, it’s always easier if you’re closer, and especially if you have bases for ships to go in to refuel, and for maintenance10. Like we have in parts of Japan or Singapore, or Australia, Guam, places like that. Because the distances in Asia are so great, from the United States to Southeast Asia or Northeast Asia, it’s helpful to have them.
So I believe we’ll have forces fully deployed for a long time. I don’t know how long that is, but I don’t see-the fact that we can deploy them better, I don’t see that mattering, because I think much of why they’re there is political rather than military.
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS 词汇提示
1.NATO(North Atlantic Treaty Organization) 北约
2.operate  v. 遂行军事行动
3.dynamics  n. 发展动力
4.urban operations 城市作战
5.tactics  n. 战术
6.the Marine Corps 海军陆战队
7.logistic  n. 后勤
8.squadrons  n. 空军中队
9.smart weapon 精确制导武器，智能武器
10.maintenance  n. 维护，保养
QUESTIONS AFTER LISTENING 听后答题:
1. How did MR. ODEEN think about the role of alliances in the future?
A.Alliances would quit the stage in the future.
B.Alliances would continue to be very important in the future.
C.Alliances would beless important in the future.
D.Alliances would be narrowed in scope in the future.
2. Why did MR. ODEEN think that their position in NATO now was not as powerful as it had been?
A.Because the U.S. is weaker than before.
B.Because European countries are stronger than before.
C.Because the neo-isolationism is stronger in the U.S..
D.Because the Soviet threats have gone.
3. Which of the mutual relationships is much more essential and critical for the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region?
4. Why did MR. ODEEN think that the foreign policy objective in both China and the United States ought to be maintaining a good relationship with one another?
A.Because both are large and potentially hostile countries.
B.Because both are large and friendly countries.
C.Because both are developing countries in the world.
D.Because both are developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
5. What is happening in every country in the world according to Mr.ODEEN?
A.It is the cities are getting much, much larger.
B.It is the population is getting large and larger.
C.It is the weather is getting warmer and warmer.
D.It is the environment is getting worse and worse.
6. What does the U.S. military have to do in dealing with urban operations?
A,To develop nuclear weapons.
B.To learn better tactics and develop better equipment in how to operate in cities.
C.To expand its military forces.
D.To strengthen its Marine Corps.
7.What’s the meaning of the sentence “we are a long way away without having to take as much logistic support along.”
A.We have a long way to go to set up an urban training facility.
B.We have a long way to go to deploy new military forces in the Mideast Asia.
C.We can deploy a new force far from the bases without heavy logistic support.
D.We have to take much logistic support all the way from the bases.
8.What’s the purpose of the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region in ODEEN’s words?
A.It is to avoid a war.
B.It is to take a commitment.
C.It is to keep stability.
D.It is to deter a threat like North Korea.
9.In what places are there U.S. military bases for ship refueling and maintenance according to Mr. ODEEN?
A.Japan, Australia and Taiwan.
B.Korea, Japan and Singapore.
C.Thailand, Japan and Guam.
D.Japan, Singapore, Australia and Guam.
10.What’s the meaning of the sentence “I don’t see that mattering.”
A.I don’t understand the matter.
B.I don’t find out the matter.
C.I don’t think the matter is vital.
D.I don’t know the matter.
KEYS TO THE QUESTIONS 参考答案：
1. b 2. d 3. c 4. a 5. a 6. b 7.c 8. c 9.d 10.c