By Richard Falk
Message to President Barack Obama with respect to forthcoming Hiroshima visit
I sent the following message to the White House today, and encourage readers of this blog to do the same
This symbolic visit by Obama creates a major opportunity to advance a denuclearization agenda, and we should take as much advantage as possible. I am against the mainstream advice that suggests that the best way to give meaning to the event would be to announce the adoption of arms control measures such as suspending development of a new nuclear cruise missile.
These measures, while intrinsically valuable, have the downside of stabilizing the nuclear weapons status quo.
What would be most helpful would be a step, as suggested below, that gives primacy to nuclear disarmament instead of continuing the deceptive practice of taking prudent steps to cut risks of accidental use and curtail provocative developments and deployments.
These steps take the public eye off the supposed target of nuclear disarmament. The only was to honor the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is by moving toward Nuclear Zero, and President Obama is one of the few persons on the planet that has this precious chance to aim at the true target.
Of course, it would be appropriate, and long overdue, to apologize to the Japanese public for the ghastly suffering inflicted by the atomic attacks, but that is more than we can reasonably expect a cautious president to do.
Message to President Barack Obama upon the announcement of his intended Visit to Hiroshima
I applaud your decision to visit Hiroshima during your upcoming visit to Japan.
I would encourage you to supplement your acknowledgement of a MORAL responsibility of the U.S. in your 2009 Prague Speech with an acknowledgement of a LEGAL responsibility to seek in good faith nuclear disarmament, a point unanimously asserted by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion of 1996. Such a move would also recognize the legal obligation embedded in Article 6 of the NPT.
Making such an historic affirmation would give new life to the pledge to give real meaning to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and act to heighten your legacy in this vital area of your presidency. It would put legal, as well as moral, pressure on all nine nuclear weapons states to comply with their obligations under international law, and in the American case, since the since the NPT is a duly ratified treaty, to act in accordance with the Constitution’s recognition of treaties as ‘the supreme law of the land.’