Wednesday, May 11, 2016

OBAMA: First stop, Hiroshima; second stop, Moscow

#Obama in #Hiroshima
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Barack Obama is going to Hiroshima. The world will be expecting a big announcement - steps toward REAL nuclear disarmament, steps including Russia.

Here are five reasons why Hiroshima should be just the first stop on Obama's trip (and the second stop should be Moscow).

What Would a Nuclear Weapon Do
to Chicago? (Go ahead, guess . . . )
(1) Hiroshima? the tip of the iceberg ....

People can hardly bear to confront the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And yet perhaps the most important thing to remember as the eyes of the world turn to the Obama visit to Hiroshima is that each of today's nuclear weapons is a thousand times more powerful and a thousand times worse than the one used at Hiroshima.

Job #1 Vis-a-vis Russia:
(2) US and Russia

People in the US are fed a daily diet of stories about other countries' nuclear weapons -- China (scary!), Pakistan (very scary!!), North Korea (very, very scary!!!) -- and possible future nuclear weapons -- IRAN!!!! -- but the two countries with THOUSANDS of nuclear weapons on alert and ready to go are the US and Russia.

We will never be safe until the US and Russia cut their own nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament is
an obligation.
(3) Promises to Keep

Little has changed in 50 years. The world entered into a regime designed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons -- absolutely, 100% predicated on the promise of states with nuclear weapons -- the US, Russia, and others -- to eliminate theirs.

When you hear the words "NPT" and "Nonproliferation Treaty," ask the US and Russia: have you eliminate your nuclear weapons yet, as you promised you would?

(4) The US has a problem

President, Congress, People:
Who's gonna get this done?
A year ago, people were talking about how US politicians were gridlocked and our government had become ineffective.

Today, our political class is in crisis.

Barack Obama came into office in 2009 thinking -- or at least saying he thought -- he would bring about a huge advance in creating a nuclear-weapons-free world. Somewhere along the way, he seems to have decided it's not on him.

People need to tell Obama to face facts. It is on him.

It's not the way our government is supposed to work. But it's the hand he's been dealt.

World to US: DISARM!
(5) The world is watching

The way the world views the US is this: our country -- and a few others like us -- are holding a sword over everyone else's head.

It's time for the US to wise up and see itself as others see it.

In other words, it's time for us to care about our relationship with the other people with whom we share the planet.

What more is it gonna take?

Putin and Obama: #talk

Other related posts

"It's not enough to remember this just once a year; it's not enough that we make a single book -- Hiroshima -- required reading, and never go beyond that. There should be a whole canon that people study progressively, year by year, to grasp and retain the horror of this."

(See FIRE AND BLAST: A Curriculum that Confronts Nuclear Danger?)

Do we have a way to immerse ourselves in the experience of what the use of those nuclear weapons would really mean -- prospectively -- so that we can truly cause ourselves to confront our own inaction?

(See Stop engaging in risky behavior )

Any advocacy for the elimination of nuclear weapons must sooner or later get around to the specifics of the steps by which we get to zero. U.S. nuclear strategists recognize that 311 is still a large number of strategic nuclear weapons for the U.S. to hold. Shouldn't our minimum demand be to get U.S. to this level (or below)?

(See Why Are These Military Experts Saying CUT CUT CUT Nukes? )

Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon - a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War - deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy.

(See Reviews of "Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom" by Elaine Scarry )

I'm marveling at the adjacency of a piece of public art -- one with a very clear message about the risk of human ambition and self-absorption and heedlessness -- to the center of political power in the city of Chicago.

(See NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Who will bring us down to earth? )

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