Thursday, August 6, 2015

On the Anniversary of Hiroshima, a New Nuclear Crossroads

Today marks a somber anniversary, the 70th anniversary since the United States dropped the first of two nuclear weapons on Japan. Seven decades ago today, the US, ostensibly to end WWII in the Pacific, dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, followed three days later by a nuclear attack on Nagasaki. In the aftermath, hundreds of thousands of people died in the two cities, and over one hundred thousand were killed in the initial blasts alone. The nuclear weapons used in the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were comparatively small compared to the destructive power of nuclear weapons today, and they still devastated two large cities. Japan marked the occasion with speeches by the few remaining survivors, a national moment of silence, and the tolling of a bell.

Pres. Obama speaks on the nuclear deal at American University
The anniversary comes at a moment when the United States faces yet another nuclear crossroads: whether or not to enact a nuclear deal reached with Iranian negotiators on July 14. On one side stands the Obama administration, which negotiated the deal and hopes to pass it through a Congressional vote, despite significant, somewhat bipartisan opposition. On the other stand politicians from both sides of the aisle, although largely Republican, who say the deal will not stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and argue that the US should continue the current sanctions regime in the hopes of obtaining a better deal. If such a deal never materializes, then armed intervention in Iran becomes an option.