This week, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, incinerated and vaporized by American nuclear bombs 71 years ago. For the U.S., as with Japan's own wartime atrocities that still deeply rankle the emotions of its Asian neighbors, the profound apology that matters is not about the past but the future. It is about taking convincing actions today that ensure what happened in the past never happens again. That future-oriented apology remains lacking all around. (continued)
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With no treaty in effect, nations could resume testing nukes at any time. This would cause a major arms race. The risk of nuclear terrorism or accidental launch make nuclear disarmament a very crucial goal for all nations. Japan wants to work with the United States on ending nuclear testing and building a world with no nukes.
What really happened in the days leading up to the decision to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki may never be known. Enough is known, however, to underscore a critical lesson for the future: Human beings in general, and political leaders in particular, are all too commonly prone to making decisions that put near-term political concerns above truly fundamental humanitarian concerns.
There were only a few things wrong with the massive parade today in Beijing celebrating the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day. The folks doing the celebrating only tangentially represent the Chinese who most actively resisted the Japanese invaders. And the celebration itself, meant to signify China's emerging superpower status, fell a little flat.