On the anniversary of Hiroshima, it is time to rethink nuclear deterrence.
(Cover Photo: Firestorm in Hiroshima 3 Hours After The Blast | US Army)
On August 6th, 1945, the first of two nuclear weapons ever used in warfare detonated above the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Today, 72 years later, the legacy of Hiroshima is now more important than ever before.
I have had the distinct privilege of participating in Hiroshima’s annual Peace Ceremony memorializing the event. At 8:15am on August 6th, 1999, I watched a flock of doves released into the sky above “ground zero” in Hiroshima. In the background stood the haunting silhouette of the Peace Dome – one of the few structures to survive the explosion.
I will never forget.
How quickly we forget the horrors of war. In the United States, despite more than a decade of conflict following the attacks of September 11th, there seems to be a growing indifference about the use of nuclear weapons. In a poll conducted in August 2016, 18% of respondents thought it would be acceptable to use nuclear weapons even if the United States had not suffered a nuclear attack. Another 16% had not formulated an opinion.
My opinion is that nuclear weapons should be permanently abolished and relegated to the pages of history. However, the energy science behind nuclear fusion should continue to be actively researched and explored, with the goal of developing a clean, abundant power source in the future.
A Thought-Provoking Film
In March of 2000, a few months after I returned from Japan, a low-budget film was released (spoiler alert) about a future American president who decides to drop a 1-megaton device (almost 100x larger than Hiroshima) on Baghdad to “deter” China. It has eerie parallels to today, including a “Real American” voter who thinks it would be a good idea. Here’s the trailer:
At a time when tribal tensions are heating up around the world, it is imperative to recognize that nuclear deterrence is not a viable strategy. Despite President Trump’s statements that he would be highly unlikely to use them, the fact remains that the U.S. is still dangerously dependent upon nuclear weapons to deter aggression.
We must recognize that we are all part of a common humanity on this “Pale Blue Dot” of ours and strive to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle.
Our great grandchildren will thank us.
For my latest thoughts on saving the planet, follow me on twitter @shawnpmitchell.