Hiroshima and the Nuclear ‘Apology’

From left, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Britain's Foreign Minister Philip Hammond carry wreath to offer at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Monday, April 11, 2016. (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
Kyodo News via AP

Secretary of State John Kerry described his visit to Hiroshima on Monday as “gut-wrenching.” After laying a wreath at the Atomic Bomb Museum, he called it “a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to re-dedicate all our effort to avoid war itself.”

The Washington Post, which hilariously describes Barack Obama — the man who stuffed billions into the pockets of terrorist Iran and put them on a ten-year glide path to nuclear weapons — as a “non-proliferation crusader,” says the president might visit Hiroshima himself before he leaves office. Kerry is the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit the site; Obama would be the first president to do so.

“No sitting U.S. president has ever visited Hiroshima, out of concern that such a trip might be interpreted as an apology,” the Post explains. “The bombing killed 140,000 people but has been viewed by many Americans as a necessary evil to end World War II and save the lives of U.S. troops.”

“Today, however, there is growing sentiment inside the White House that President Obama, who in his first year envisioned a world without nuclear weapons, should cap his final year with a grand symbolic gesture in service of a goal that remains well out of reach,” the Post continues.

Former U.S. ambassador to Japan John Roos, the first American diplomat to participate in the annual Hiroshima memorial ceremony, hailed Obama as “a person who bends over backwards to show respect to history, and does it to advance his agenda.”

If Obama’s agenda is to raise nuclear tensions around the world, he’s doing a bang-up job. Has the threat ever been worse than it has grown under his disastrous presidency? The world is on fire, thanks in large measure to the collapse of American prestige that begin with Obama’s idiotic 2009 “apology tour” of the Middle East. He’d love to go on record as the president who apologized to Japan for Fat Man and Little Boy. What better way to cap off Obama’s vision of American sunset than a World Apology Tour reprise in the Land of the Rising Sun?

Meanwhile, North Korea is slipping China’s leash, laughing at the “non-proliferation” deal worked out by the previous Democratic president and his wildly overrated secretary of state and testing missiles that could deliver a nuclear payload to Japan. Iran is sitting very pretty thanks to Obama, its coffers surging with money that can be used for terrorism and shadow wars across the world, and its nuclear ambitions all but guaranteed to reach fulfillment in the very near future, now that the threat of sanctions is gone forever. Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies will nuke-up to counter the Iranian threat. Emboldened Russia is making moves in Eastern Europe that could eventually lead to a nuclear confrontation.

“Non-proliferation” is a long, grinding process that involves harsh measures — possibly including military confrontation — to force bad actors like Iran away from the bomb. Effective non-proliferation strategies have nothing to do with gauzy “no nukes” fantasies about a world free of atomic weapons, the genie forever stuffed back into his bottle. The human race does not forget such knowledge, absent the kind of devastating war that blows us back into a Dark Age.

The dangerous daydream that everyone else will scuttle their nuclear stockpiles if America disarms is closely related to the idiotic notion that Islamist terrorists will stand down if we just show them how nice we are, smothering them with our superior values until they grow embarrassed of jihad.

Key to both mindsets is the sacred left-wing belief that Western culture is responsible for all the evils of the world. If we just apologize profusely for our past sins of war, imperialism, slavery, and capitalism, and show the hostile forces of the world how progressive we’ve become, they’ll stop reacting to our evils with their own. If we just get rid of our nukes, that nice Mr. Putin will get rid of his, and then the mullahs of Iran will stop trying to get theirs, and Kim Jong-un will realize how foolish he’s been to bankrupt North Korea in a quest for weapons of mass destruction.

Japan is no longer one of those hostile forces, but once upon a time they most certainly were, and there are modern revisionists who attempt to portray Imperial Japan’s membership in the Axis as an understandable reaction to Western imperialism. Today’s Japanese leaders remain a bit reluctant to fully accept national responsibilities for the horrors their nation perpetrated in World War II, and before. The leaders of other Pacific nations are not eager to let bygones be bygones, especially when slamming Japan is politically useful, as in China’s case.

The Washington Post article discusses this, crediting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with making “a concentrated effort to resolve lingering World War II-era disputes with Seoul and Beijing that had complicated relations between the Asian powers.” However, we are told “some Abe aides fear that an Obama appearance in Hiroshima would renew debate in the United States over Japan’s imperial past and complicate the prime minister’s security agenda in Asia by forcing him to respond to U.S. campaign trail criticism and justify his policies.”

It would be utter folly to make some grandstanding anti-nuclear statement in Hiroshima without making it clear why those terrible weapons had to be unleashed. No one seriously disputes the staggering casualties that would have resulted from a conventional invasion of the Japanese home islands, on both sides. That includes civilian casualties, and not just from civilians pressed into service as last-ditch suicide troops. One need only look at the results of non-nuclear total war in contemporary Europe, or for that matter the devastation from firebombings in Japan, to get an idea of what the non-nuclear finale of World War II would have been like for the Japanese people.

It makes the no-nukes fantasists very uncomfortable to admit it, but it’s extremely difficult — let’s just go ahead and say impossible — to argue that the bombing of Hiroshima did not save millions of lives and incalculable damage to Japan’s national infrastructure. It makes many Japanese politicians uncomfortable to admit the Empire of Japan, like Nazi Germany, had to be violently and utterly defeated, by any means necessary. Nazism and Japanese imperialism are burned, dead and buried, with peaceful and productive U.S. allies flourishing atop their graves, because they were treated the way communism was not, and the modern threat of Islamism probably won’t be.

We should also add the vast number of lives, and livelihoods, saved by nuclear deterrence to the account. It’s more speculative than counting up the dead from a conventional-warfare invasion of Japan, but it’s highly likely that nuclear deterrence prevented at least one large-scale land war, and probably more than one. This is partly due to the way Hiroshima made it clear that authoritarian leaders would suffer from war, not just their captive people.

A dash of cold water is thrown on non-proliferation fantasies in the Washington Post article by an unnamed Tokyo academic, an advisor to Prime Minister Abe: “No matter how allergic the Japanese have been on the nuclear issue, let’s just face it: On the other side of the coin is the continued commitment from the United States to provide protection to Japan under its nuclear umbrella.”

This official added that China is “the only country constantly investing in a nuclear arsenal,” with a growing number of warheads in its inventory, and wondered if “President Obama and his advisers are fully aware of this subtle but substantial difference between Europe and East Asia.”

Don’t bet on it, anonymous scholar from Tokyo. Obama is aware of little beyond his own ego, and his desperate need for “legacy” achievements. His ears are also burning a bit from the criticism he gets as the man who won a Nobel Peace Prize for absolutely nothing, then proceeded to launch or exacerbate wars around the world, while he signed off on secret drone-strike kill lists.

The temptation for Obama to grandstand in Hiroshima will be difficult to resist. “President Obama is well known for the message he gave in Prague in 2009, saying he would like a world without nuclear weapons,” gushed Kazumi Matsui, the mayor of Hiroshima, to the Washington Post. “He was awarded the Nobel [Peace] Prize. If he truly understands our sentiments, [a visit] would play an important role for his inner thoughts, and the role he can play as a politician.”

An “important role for his inner thoughts?” Burnishing his “role” in history? You’re definitely playing Barack Obama’s tune, Mayor Matsui. The likelihood of Obama getting dragged into Japanese politics will not dissuade him, because he remains serenely convinced in the magical power of his voice to change the course of history for the better, despite seven grim years of evidence to the contrary.

Obama’s mania for World Apology Tours is a manifestation of his narcissism, shared by all on the Left. They love to flatter themselves by ostentatiously apologizing for the “sins” of their fathers and grandfathers, thereby presenting themselves as the next step in human moral evolution — the most enlightened generation in history.

The only use of nuclear weapons — to date — is a soapbox they would love to climb atop. As a few allusions in the Washington Post article make clear, they’ve been held back largely by America’s memories of what Japan did in World War II and what American fighting men had to suffer in order to stop them. Has the passing of our Greatest Generation veterans, and the Left’s effort to erase historical memory through its rotten education system, gotten us to the point where Obama can wrap up his ego-trip presidency with a stop in Hiroshima?

If so, the best thing for grown men and women, in both American and Japan, would be to ignore him. Hiroshima happened, as did Bataan and Nanking. We can learn from history without weeping over it, or using it as clay for modern political sculptures. The darkness of murderous totalitarianism is still out there, strong and hungry as ever. Americans, Japanese, Germans, and Italians are called into battle against it, as brothers in arms. Japan’s pacifist stance ended up with ISIS slaughtering Japanese hostages, because their country dared to send humanitarian relief to the Islamic State’s victims.

If the new forces of darkness obtain nuclear weapons, they are highly likely to use them or open a nuclear umbrella to shield terrorists who will bring endless misery to the people of the Western world, secure in the knowledge that operations like Afghanistan and Iraq can never again be conducted to deprive them of safe havens. Risibly saluting Barack Obama as a champion of “non-proliferation” changes nothing about the danger his successors will face and impresses the forces of darkness not at all.

Let the ghosts of Hiroshima lie in peace. We, the living, have difficult work ahead of us.


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