degrade

English translation: weaken

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:degrade
Selected answer:weaken
Entered by: Charles Davis

20:55 Oct 30, 2018
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Government / Politics
English term or phrase: degrade
Hello everyone,

One of chapters in the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman is titled Learning to ADD.
In this chapter Mr. Friedman talks about the World of Disorder (weak states like Syria or countries in Africa producing a lot of migrants wanting to get to Europe) and that geopolitics in this age of tehnological changes should be reimagined. Mr. Friedman also mentions "super-empowered breakers" (individuals or group of people who now have enormous possibilities thanks to technological advances like the Internet, mobile phones, social media etc).

This is how the chapter ends:

And we still cannot ignore the challenges posed to international order by our rival superpowers Russia and China, which, because they are authoritarian states, are not as vulnerable to disorder or breakers as are open societies in the West.

Add it all up, ladies and gentlemen, and what you have is a perfect example of a “wicked problem”—many stakeholders, but no agreement on the problem definition or on the solution. And doing nothing will become increasingly unsustainable.

So I repeat, what to do?

If I were reimagining geopolitics from an American/Western perspective in such a world, I would begin with the most honest statement I can offer: I don’t know what is sufficient to restore order to the World of Disorder—one should be very humble in the face of such a wicked problem—but I am fairly certain of what is necessary.

It’s a policy that can be called ADD, because those are its initials: amplify, deter, and ***degrade***.

My question is: How would English speakers interpret the word "degrade" (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/degrade)? With what meaning is it used and degrade what?

Thank you.
Mikhail Korolev
Local time: 03:37
weaken
Explanation:
I think that what he means by "degrade" is closest to no. 4 in the dictionary.com definitions you've cited:
"to reduce in amount, strength, intensity, etc."

I don't think the meanings "debase", "pervert" or "bring into contempt" fit here at all.

At another point in Friedman's book, referring to "breakers" like ISIS and Al Quaeda, he says:
"[...] they cannot be deterred. They can, though, be contained and degraded in their various theaters of operation, by using air power, special forces, drones, and local forces. [...] Outsiders can help degrade them, but ultimately only the villlage can destroy them."
https://books.google.es/books?id=MFptDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT287&lpg=P...

It seems to me that "weaken" is the closest alternative to "degrade" as used here. And what is "degraded" in this sense is whatever or whoever poses a threat.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:37
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Charles.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +3weaken
Charles Davis
4 +1Pervertir/corromper/degradar/
Phoenix III
3taken down a notch
David Hollywood


  

Answers


26 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Pervertir/corromper/degradar/


Explanation:
Other synonyms that can convey the same idea, however, given the context I'd stick with "rebajar", but I'm quite tempted to use PERVERTIR which is tantamount to corrode.:
Envilecer, pervertir, corromper.
Good luck!

Phoenix III
United States
Local time: 20:37
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Katty Ossa
40 mins
  -> Thanks so much!

neutral  Charles Davis: The asker is translating into Russian and wants an explanation of the meaning in English, not a Spanish translation.
1 hr
  -> hahaha! you're right. typical of me when I need a break & switch to answering KudoZ
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
weaken


Explanation:
I think that what he means by "degrade" is closest to no. 4 in the dictionary.com definitions you've cited:
"to reduce in amount, strength, intensity, etc."

I don't think the meanings "debase", "pervert" or "bring into contempt" fit here at all.

At another point in Friedman's book, referring to "breakers" like ISIS and Al Quaeda, he says:
"[...] they cannot be deterred. They can, though, be contained and degraded in their various theaters of operation, by using air power, special forces, drones, and local forces. [...] Outsiders can help degrade them, but ultimately only the villlage can destroy them."
https://books.google.es/books?id=MFptDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT287&lpg=P...

It seems to me that "weaken" is the closest alternative to "degrade" as used here. And what is "degraded" in this sense is whatever or whoever poses a threat.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:37
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Charles.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  JohnMcDove: OK. Sounds correct to me. Maybe disrelated (not familiar with full context) but, is there any play on words or concepts with "ADD" as "Attention Deficit Disorder" here? Degrade-disorder-disrupt-impair-weaken?
4 hrs
  -> Many thanks, John :-) Who knows? Maybe...

agree  philgoddard: The meaning of each of the three words is explained in the pages that follow.
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, Phil. I'll take your word for it; I didn't read much of it.

agree  MEHMET CETIN
170 days
  -> Thanks, Mehmet :-)
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
taken down a notch


Explanation:
ADD = https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=RSoaDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT323&l...

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Note added at 6 hrs (2018-10-31 03:16:43 GMT)
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basically agree with Charles and have posted the exact text

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Note added at 6 hrs (2018-10-31 03:18:31 GMT)
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or: debilitated

David Hollywood
Local time: 21:37
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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