（译者注1：此文作者Walter Russell Mead是位于美国纽约州的Bard College的国际关系学教授。原文发表于《华尔街日报》2020年2月3日。我国政府随后因为此文而驱逐了该报驻华记者。译者抱着“奇文共欣赏，疑义相与析”的好奇态度翻译此文供中文读者了解和评判。英文原文附在译文后。胡景北 2020年2月21日）
3 中国对这场危机的最初反应并不值得好评。 武汉政府是秘密和自私的。国家主管部门做出了强力回应，但目前看来效果不佳。中国的城市和工厂正在关闭；病毒继续传播。我们希望中国能够成功地遏制这场流行病并治疗患病者。但是中国迄今为止的作为已经动摇了国内外对中国共产党的信心。美国拒绝最近访华的非公民入境。北京对此很抱怨。但北京的抱怨不能掩盖这样一个事实，那就是：使这一流行病传播得如此遥远如此迅速的决定都是在武汉和北京做出的。
10 如果北京的地缘政治影响因此而缩小，中国危机的全世界后果可能令人惊讶。 如果美国唯一可能的大国竞争对手退出游戏，一些人可能会期待单极世界的回归。 然而，在美国政治世界中，孤立而不是参与可能会突如其来。如果中国的挑战逐渐消失，许多美国人可能认为美国能够安全地降低其对全球事务的承诺。
China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia
Its financial markets may be even more dangerous
than its wildlife markets.
By Walter Russell Mead
Feb. 3, 2020 6:47 pm ET
https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-is-the-real-sick-man-of-asia-11580773677?mod=trending_now_pos2. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2020
(Note of Chinese Translator: Numbers preceding paragraphs are added by Chinese translator.)
1 The mighty Chinese juggernaut has been humbled this week, apparently by a species-hopping bat virus. While Chinese authorities struggle to control the epidemic and restart their economy, a world that has grown accustomed to contemplating China’s inexorable rise was reminded that nothing, not even Beijing’s power, can be taken for granted.
2 We do not know how dangerous the new coronavirus will be. There are signs that Chinese authorities are still trying to conceal the true scale of the problem, but at this point the virus appears to be more contagious but considerably less deadly than the pathogens behind diseases such as Ebola or SARS—though some experts say SARS and coronavirus are about equally contagious.
3 China’s initial response to the crisis was less than impressive. The Wuhan government was secretive and self-serving; national authorities responded vigorously but, it currently appears, ineffectively. China’s cities and factories are shutting down; the virus continues to spread. We can hope that authorities succeed in containing the epidemic and treating its victims, but the performance to date has shaken confidence in the Chinese Communist Party at home and abroad. Complaints in Beijing about the U.S. refusing entry to noncitizens who recently spent time in China cannot hide the reality that the decisions that allowed the epidemic to spread as far and as fast as it did were all made in Wuhan and Beijing.
4 The likeliest economic consequence of the coronavirus epidemic, forecasters expect, will be a short and sharp fall in Chinese economic growth rates during the first quarter, recovering as the disease fades. The most important longer-term outcome would appear to be a strengthening of a trend for global companies to “de-Sinicize” their supply chains. Add the continuing public health worries to the threat of new trade wars, and supply-chain diversification begins to look prudent.
5 Events like the coronavirus epidemic, and its predecessors—such as SARS, Ebola and MERS—test our systems and force us to think about the unthinkable. If there were a disease as deadly as Ebola and as fast-spreading as coronavirus, how should the U.S. respond? What national and international systems need to be in place to minimize the chance of catastrophe on this scale?
6 Epidemics also lead us to think about geopolitical and economic hypotheticals. We have seen financial markets shudder and commodity prices fall in the face of what hopefully will be a short-lived disturbance in China’s economic growth. What would happen if—perhaps in response to an epidemic, but more likely following a massive financial collapse—China’s economy were to suffer a long period of even slower growth? What would be the impact of such developments on China’s political stability, on its attitude toward the rest of the world, and to the global balance of power?
7 China’s financial markets are probably more dangerous in the long run than China’s wildlife markets. Given the accumulated costs of decades of state-driven lending, massive malfeasance by local officials in cahoots with local banks, a towering property bubble, and vast industrial overcapacity, China is as ripe as a country can be for a massive economic correction. Even a small initial shock could lead to a massive bonfire of the vanities as all the false values, inflated expectations and misallocated assets implode. If that comes, it is far from clear that China’s regulators and decision makers have the technical skills or the political authority to minimize the damage—especially since that would involve enormous losses to the wealth of the politically connected.
8 We cannot know when or even if a catastrophe of this scale will take place, but students of geopolitics and international affairs—not to mention business leaders and investors—need to bear in mind that China’s power, impressive as it is, remains brittle. A deadlier virus or a financial-market contagion could transform China’s economic and political outlook at any time.
9 Many now fear the coronavirus will become a global pandemic. The consequences of a Chinese economic meltdown would travel with the same sweeping inexorability. Commodity prices around the world would slump, supply chains would break down, and few financial institutions anywhere could escape the knock-on consequences. Recovery in China and elsewhere could be slow, and the social and political effects could be dramatic.
10 If Beijing’s geopolitical footprint shrank as a result, the global consequences might also be surprising. Some would expect a return of unipolarity if the only possible great-power rival to the U.S. were to withdraw from the game. Yet in the world of American politics, isolation rather than engagement might surge to the fore. If the China challenge fades, many Americans are likely to assume that the U.S. can safely reduce its global commitments.
11 So far, the 21st century has been an age of black swans. From 9/11 to President Trump’s election and Brexit, low-probability, high-impact events have reshaped the world order. That age isn’t over, and of the black swans still to arrive, the coronavirus epidemic is unlikely to be the last to materialize in China.