Given the horrors endured 71 years ago in Hiroshima, on Aug. 6, and the president’s recent visit there, it’s time for a concrete step toward elimination of nuclear weapons. This would be a fitting gesture in keeping with Obama’s 2009 pledge to move toward a world free of all nuclear weapons.
Nuclear disarmament is not an impossible dream. South Africa, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine all gave up their nuclear arsenals. And, other countries have abandoned their nuclear-weapons programs, recognizing that such weapons make them less secure.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and supporter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons wrote: “Eliminating nuclear weapons is the democratic wish of the world’s people. Yet no nuclear-armed country currently appears to be preparing for a future without these terrifying devices. In fact, all are squandering billions of dollars on modernization of their nuclear forces, making a mockery of United Nations disarmament pledges. If we allow this madness to continue, the eventual use of these instruments of terror seems all but inevitable.”
President Obama is reportedly considering a no first-use policy. Although there is no way to bind a future president like Donald Trump, who could by temperament fire a weapon in anger or haste like he fires off tweets, I hope President Obama does set a new policy indicating to the world that the United States of America will never be the first to use a nuclear weapon.
Andrew A. Cadot
Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine