US President Barack Obama was in Hiroshima, Japan yesterday, expressing his determination to be at the forefront of the global efforts to help the world get rid of nuclear weapons.
This is a historic event as Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima— the site where the first atomic bomb was dropped during the World War II.
In his speech, as reported by Asahi Shimbun, the US President called for the “courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”
He reiterated this idea further during his visit in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, by writing a message.
“We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace and pursue a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama said, according to the same report.
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However, Obama could not escape criticisms that the United States has projected double standards when it comes to its nuclear weapons policies despite what the current president is advocating.
First, the US President did not apologise for the dropping of the atomic bomb in Japan during the WWII as well as tackle whether the decision to use the bomb was right.
Second, the Obama administration is being also criticised for its plan to modernise the US nuclear arsenal.
According to Geoff Dyer of the Financial Times, US officials said that the investments are needed to update aging bombers and missiles. Yet, opponents contend that the modernisation plans could encourage another arms race.
There are two aspects of this modernisation plan that have raised concerns, according to Dyer.
The first is the development of a nuclear cruise missile, known as the long-range stand-off missile (LRSO) and the second is to upgrade the B61 nuclear warhead.
Meanwhile, former secretary of defense William Perry warned that the US is heading into a new Cold War and a new arms race. The plan is “destabilizing,” he argued further.
With US Presidential Election coming this November, the success of Obama’s advocacy remains to be seen.