Hiroshima: the nuclear lesson the G7 needs to promote peace in Ukraine

Amy Goodman and Dennis Moynihan

US President Joe Biden will attend this year’s G7 summit, with Russia’s war in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons in that country central to his agenda. The G7 is made up of Japan, Italy, Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. For a short time, Russia was part of the grouping, then named the G8, but was expelled following the military occupation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russians.

The 2023 G7 summit will take place in Japan, in a city of particular importance: Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, America dropped the first atomic bomb in history at that place. The event completely destroyed the city and left a devastating balance sheet of around 140,000 dead and 100,000 injured. As nuclear war looms as a real threat around the world, world leaders meeting in Hiroshima have a moral responsibility to reflect on the destruction caused nearly 80 years ago and strongly oppose nuclear confrontation.

Teruko Yahata, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear attack, said this week: “I wish they, the G7 leaders, would fully recognize the inhumanity of nuclear weapons. These are weapons that can destroy humanity. I wish That they feel deeply that these are horrible practices that must be ended.” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also has family from Hiroshima and many of his relatives were killed in the nuclear explosion.

Those who managed to survive the Hiroshima bomb that was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later – on August 9, 1945 – were called by the Japanese word “hibakusha”, which in Spanish means “bombing person”. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, has joined the clamor of “hibakusha” in their call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The campaign insists that the G7 leaders strongly condemn any threat to use nuclear weapons, recognize the dire humanitarian consequences of nuclear war, and take steps to withdraw nuclear weapons from non-nuclear countries, The demand is also directed at Russia, which plans to deploy such weapons. in Belarus. In addition, leaders are urged to commit to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons United Nations, The United States and Russia, as well as the other seven nuclear-weapon states – China, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – have refused to sign such a treaty.

A group of US military and national security experts has released an open letter titled “America must be a force for peace in the world”. This impassioned call for peace was published in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on 16 May. The 15 signatories to the letter include a retired US Army lieutenant general; one of former President Ronald Reagan’s ambassadors to the Soviet Union; and Dennis Fritz, a retired US Air Force master sergeant and current director of the Eisenhower Media Network, the organization behind the letter initiative.

Democracy Now! In a conversation with TOI, Fritz said: “I’ve been in and out of the Pentagon since I was 22. I’m 66 now. And I can say that I’ve never been more familiar with the prospect of nuclear escalation.” Wasn’t so scared. […] Threat [de Rusia] Not ruling out the use of nuclear weapons is something I take very seriously. That’s why it was so important for us to send this open letter to the President. With this, we hope to raise awareness in American society about how it got to this point.”

Another former National Security Advisor and military veteran has also sounded the alarm. This is the famous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the documents known as the Pentagon Papers. These revealed the secret history of the United States government’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the lies propagated by various American governments—from President Eisenhower to President Johnson—to justify military escalation in that country.

Early in his career, Daniel Ellsberg was closely involved in the development of the US Armed Forces’ plans for nuclear warfare. His book “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner” should be required reading. One of Ellsberg’s greatest concerns was with the prevailing belief among military strategists of the time that the United States would do better in a nuclear war by conducting a preemptive strike or “first strike”, a military strategy aimed at an early and surprise attack. To do. The objective is to destroy the enemy’s combat capability.

Democracy Now! In a recent interview with , Ellsberg said: “The belief that striking first rather than responding to an attack will do less damage currently tells us about the possibility of nuclear war in Ukraine. As a result. This In other words, most life on Earth – most, if not all – may have become extinct as a result of the struggle for control of it. [la península de] Crimea, [la región del] Donbass or Taiwan. He is mad”.

Dan Ellsberg, now 92, was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Yet he continues to warn us about the danger of nuclear conflict and its devastating consequences. In March, Ellsberg wrote: “As I approach the end of my life, I find hope in all the young activists who bravely raise their voices. The anti-Vietnam War movement taught us that when young people express their concerns through concrete action, they have the power to save lives. Carry on, young men! The future of the world is in your hands.”

© 2023 Amy Goodman

Spanish translation of the original column in English. Publisher: Democracy Now! In Spanish, [email protected]

Amy Goodman Democracy Now! , an international newscast broadcast daily on over 800 English-language television and radio stations and over 450 Spanish-language stations. She is the co-author of the book “The Who Fought Against the System: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times in the United States”, published by Le Monde Diplomatique Cono Sur.

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