August 10, 2005
HIROSHIMA: 'STRONGEST POSSIBLE' CASE FOR NON-PROLIFERATION
** Hiroshima's 60th anniversary marks a "new age of global instability" after the NPT's "failure."
** Observers lament that many countries remain "incredibly keen" to attain nuclear weapons.
** Liberal papers blast the "double standards" of the five declared nuclear powers.
** Outlets dub Hiroshima and Nagasaki "poignant reminders of what havoc WMD...can wreak."
'Signs of obsolescence' in the NPT-- Papers agreed the "very shaky" non-proliferation system is in a "state of crisis." The NPT conference's "deadlocked negotiations bring into sharp focus the lack of progress" in combating proliferation, said India's centrist Hindu, while other writers urged "stronger, more consistent steps" to "revive the floundering NPT." Denmark's center-right Jyllands Posten, however, insisted that the "NPT has never worked." Several outlets instead sought a "very strong commitment to disarmament"; the center-left Irish Times stated the "objective should be to get rid of nuclear weapons," while Japan's liberal Mainichi called for global "resolve to realize the elimination of nuclear weapons."
'A new, dangerous nuclear arms race'-- Writers feared the "taboo against igniting another bomb" will be breached because the "ambition to possess nuclear weapons has been spreading." As "even poor and bankrupt states" have a "deadly fascination" with nuclear arms, papers saw "potential for a new nuclear competition" worldwide. Austria's centrist Die Presse envisioned up to "two dozen nuclear powers" in the future, agreeing with Belgium's left-of-
center Le Soir that "risk increases as the number of countries with these weapons grows." Other observers highlighted the "nightmare of atomic terrorism"; Chile's conservative La Tercera said the "greatest threat today" is that "terrorist groups may obtain nuclear weapons."
'Disrespect for the obligation to disarm'-- Leftist outlets urged the nuclear five to "enter into binding NPT agreements." South Africa's Star castigated the "parochial and self-serving" nuclear five for being "too selfish--and too foolish" to pursue disarmament--an "ever more distant dream." Editorialists singled out "U.S. unilateralism" for special criticism. Germany's business-oriented Handelsblatt assailed the U.S. for "examining the option of bunker-busting nuclear weapons," while Bangladesh's independent Daily Star saw the "prospect of further proliferation" given the U.S.' "intent to develop and produce new nuclear weapons."
Debating the morality of the 'terrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki'-- Commentators debated if the atomic bombings were justified. Defenders such as the conservative Australian argued that acting "in defense of democracy was unavoidable," joining others to say Japan was "a still-dangerous enemy" when the bombs fell in 1945. Chinese writers held that the bombs "quickly ended the war" against Japan's "right-wing warlords." But critics blasted the "anti-human nuclear attacks" as an "appalling assault on unarmed civilians"; more moderate commentators labeled the bombs "difficult to justify." Attacking the use of such "inhuman weapons," Japan's conservative Sankei stated the "country that must apologize is the U.S."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 46 reports from 22 countries over 3 - 10 August, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Shadow Of The Bomb Still Lingers After 60 Years"
An editorial in the left-of-center Independent read (8/5): "We have entered a new age of global instability, less predictable than the Cold War. Unless the entire world makes serious efforts to destroy its nuclear weapons we are in grave danger of seeing the terrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki repeated in our own lifetimes."
FRANCE: "The Nuclear Syndrome"
Yves Pitette opined in Catholic La Croix (8/5): "Some historians are debating today the idea, up to now commonly accepted, that the bombs of Hiroshima and of Nagasaki accelerated the end of the war with Japan.... Whatever the debate on the respective responsibility of who unleashed war without mercy in the Pacific and who wanted to end it the quickest, the tragic demonstration made on August 6, 1945 of the terrifying power of the atomic bomb changed the world.... Today, we realize every day that the end of the East-West face-off is not resolved, even to the contrary, and that the arms of nuclear dissuasion are powerless against terrorism...Never, since August 1945, has the risk that they (nuclear bombs) could be used on a local scale (Kashmir, Korea, Iran tomorrow maybe) been so trivialized. Will the horror of the ending of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s victims never serve as a lesson?"
GERMANY: "Thinkable Again"
Right-of-center Münchener Merkur argued (8/5): "The bomb that was unthinkable after Hiroshima has become thinkable again. One and a half decades after the collapse of the East Bloc, a new dangerous nuclear arms race has begun. Iran's...fanatic striving for the 'Islamic bomb' is only the most recent and, at the same time, most depressing example of a deadly fascination, which this weapons exercises.... The danger that it could fall into the hands of terrorists has never been as great as today, now that the know-how for the construction of the nuclear bomb has left Russian and Pakistani research laboratories. The nuclear cancer has spread its metastases everywhere in the world. Gradually, even the U.S. nuclear super power begins to understand that Iraq was probably the wrong opponent."
"The Ghost From The Bottle"
Ewald Stein wrote in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (8/4): "Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions as well as the debate about how to put a stop to them cast light on our world's fragile security situation. Sixty years after the first atom bombs were launched on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world has not found a way out of the nuclear dilemma. And we are not really looking for an exit.... One example for the disrespect for the obligation to disarm is the conclusion the U.S. drew from the war in Afghanistan. The U.S. forces had difficulties to combat Taliban and al Qaida fighters who hid away in bunkers or caves by using conventional weapons. The U.S. is therefore now examining the option of bunker-busting nuclear weapons. Nuclear armament is continued. The unofficial doctrine to renounce a nuclear first strike becomes irrelevant with these mini-nukes. Washington and others should be careful to divide the world into good and evil. Those who have power due to the bomb should also be models. With martial threats alone you cannot catch the nuclear ghost the U.S. released from the bottle 60 years ago."
AUSTRIA: "Once More Hiroshima"
Senior editor Hans Rauscher opined in independent Der Standard (8/8): “It is simply not true that Japan was prepared to capitulate. It might have been true for some civilian ministers, perhaps for the marine commanders who no longer had ships, but definitely not for the still largely functioning army. There were enough fanatics that were prepared to go on fighting and announced that they would do so--even and particularly after Hiroshima.... It is absolute nonsense that President Truman primarily aimed to impress the Russians rather than the Japanese with his order to drop the bomb. In the eyes of the Americans--as well as in reality--Japan was a still-dangerous enemy that had to be brought to surrender. Whether that justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the end, is a different question. Fact is, however, that the main motive of the US in dropping the bomb was a quick victory with as few losses as possible. Any other assertions are belated constructions in the spirit of today’s anti-Americanism.”
"A-Bomb And Ignorance"
Foreign affairs editor Christian Ulsch commented in centrist Die Presse (8/5): "It was a conference that nobody was really interested in, and its failure was only noticed by a few insiders--the review conference for the Non-Proliferation Treaty that took place end of May.... Today, 60 years after the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, the non-proliferation system is very shaky indeed. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is inadequate. Iran could get to the threshold of becoming a nuclear power without even violating an article of the law. However, if Iran and North Korea are not reined in, this could be the start of a race at the end of which there might be two dozen nuclear powers. The more actors there are, though, the more difficult it will be to control them. And that will make it likely that the taboo against igniting another bomb will fall at some point."
BELGIUM: "The Time Of The Equilibrium Of Terror Is Over"
Foreign editor Jurek Kuczkiewicz wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (8/6): "A so universal and symbolic commemoration has rarely appeared more unimportant in light of what is currently going on. Indeed, at the moment when the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--where over 200,000 people died instantly--Iran is about to resume its nuclear enrichment program and the international community has a hard time finding the right words to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear military program. At the same time, intelligence services of the most powerful countries are hunting down a terrorist who is very likely to use nuclear weapons if he managed to get his hands on them. When talking about nuclear weapons, the Cold War almost appears like the good old days. Everyone knew which countries had nuclear weapons and that their sense of responsibilities made their use unlikely. Today, that risk increases as the number of countries with these weapons grows. It is hard to deny that the world would be better without nuclear weapons. But unless one wants to be angelic, one needs to ask other questions. Is the world, and countries that have these weapons in particular, safer with them? Is there less chance that a country that has them would push the button than the U.S. or the USSR would have done yesterday? Among the big countries, is the taboo of unilateral military action as strong as forty years ago? Lastly, are nuclear weapons the appropriate weapon against what appears to be the most imminent danger, i.e. blind terrorism against civilian targets? No reasonable person will easily answer these questions, and certainly not give an affirmative answer. Calls from the international community to give up nuclear weapons are, of course, legitimate but unfortunately illusory. One can only call on responsible countries to show restraint while threatening irresponsible ones before it is too late. But among responsible countries, some are more responsible than others. In the past, it was an equilibrium of terror. The equilibrium has gone, terror remains.”
"Hiroshima: Truman Was Right"
Chief editor Michel Konen contended in independent La Libre Belgique (8/6): "U.S. President Harry Truman once said that ‘the atomic bomb is too dangerous to be entrusted to a lawless world'.... Since August 6, 1945, the threat of total extermination has been hanging on mankind. ‘Little Boy’ has generated a monster, i.e. arms race and the equilibrium of terror. Today’s nuclear arsenals of big countries would be capable of reducing the planet to ashes several times. Nuclear weapons upset relations between countries in as far as they create a decisive unbalance between those that have them and those that do not. What is worrying these days is nuclear proliferation out of the circle of the five big countries.... The bigger the circle becomes, the bigger the risk that such weapons will fall into the hands of rogue states. And with the implosion of the USSR and the trafficking of fissile materials that followed, there is fear that a terrorist organization would acquire nuclear weapons."
Chief editor Yves Desmet observed in independent De Morgen (8/6): "The NPT, which was supposed to prevent another Hiroshima from happening again, has in the meantime increasingly become a dead letter. That Treaty required the then five nuclear countries to disarm, in exchange for which other countries promised not to develop their nuclear programs. Both sides have not and are not following their pledges. There has perhaps been a strategic reduction of the number of nuclear warheads within the five big countries, but they have at the same time continued to massively invest in their nuclear weapons.... One can certainly not speak of a reduction of nuclear arsenals.... But non-nuclear countries have also not abided by their commitment. At the very moment when the world is observing a minute of silence for the victims of Hiroshima, the new strongman of Iran, President Ahmedinejad, is being sworn in. The uncertainty about Iran’s nuclear activities will only increase. North Korea is also imperturbably continuing the development of nuclear weapons, convinced that they are probably the main reason why George Bush attacked Iraq and left North Korea alone. India and Pakistan have in the meantime also acquired nuclear weapons, and experts no longer rule out that there are enough materials available on the black market for terrorists to manufacture ‘rucksack bombs.’ Sixty years after Hiroshima, an increasing number of countries can now blow up the entire planet several times.... Who would dare to say ‘never again’ with certainty?”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Fat Man And Little Boy"
Petr Kambersky noted in business-oriented Hospodarske noviny (8/8): "Its sounds unnatural to say today, in the time of respect for life of every creature, that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is understandable.... The principal objection is that the U.S. military won the war by a cruel attack on non-military targets.... [However] there were perhaps many more lives which the one plutonium and one uranium bombs saved.... The Cold War remained cold because the barbaric regime in Bolshevik Russia saw what universal destruction a nuclear war could bring about. And who knows, without Hiroshima and Nagasaki the radiance of a thousand suns could have been lit by the heat of mutual hatred between Pakistan and India, or Israel could have perhaps turned its neighboring states into moon-like landscapes in the toughest moments of the Yom Kippur war."
DENMARK: "Keeping Weapons Out Of The Wrong Hands"
Center-right Jyllands-Posten stated (8/6): "The NPT has never worked. As the result of this we see increasing numbers of countries with nuclear capacities and weapon types. China's atomic arsenal has increased dramatically and the U.S. is in the throes of developing new, smaller and more versatile nuclear weapons. It seems to be becoming more difficult to keep nuclear weapons out of the wrong hands--a sobering thought sixty years after Hiroshima."
IRELAND: "Getting Rid Of Nuclear Weapons"
The center-left Irish Times averred (8/8): "New uncertainties in world politics have added to the dangers involved since the end of the Cold War.... Iran announced last week that it is to proceed with a nuclear gas enrichment program, despite the protestations of the three major European powers with which it has been negotiating. An equally fraught negotiation is being conducted by six powers with North Korea in an effort to dismantle its admitted nuclear arms program. Alongside these, there is a vicious power game going on to expand the number of permanent seats on the UNSC beyond the current five such members, all of which are nuclear states and determined to remain so. Germany, Brazil, Japan, India and Pakistan either have access to nuclear weapons or the industrial capacity to gain access. Only a complacent set of assumptions about the existing relatively benign balance of power between them prevents us from seeing the potential for a new nuclear competition if political talks break down. Beyond that there are the dangers that rogue states, or those which believe they are under extreme threat, will resort to nuclear blackmail. And beyond that again there looms the danger that terrorist movements would gain access to nuclear weapons. All of this should reinforce the political determination to prevent nuclear proliferation and re-emphasize that, without nuclear disarmament, this is a formula incapable of delivering strategic stability. In recent years India and Pakistan have crossed the nuclear threshold, while Libya is the only state to have gone the other way. The objective should be to get rid of nuclear weapons, however utopian this may seem. That means holding existing nuclear states to such a commitment and maintaining international pressure for linking non-proliferation to nuclear disarmament--despite last May's setback on the NPT.”
"Living With The Bomb"
The center-right populist Irish Independent declared (8/6): "Was it justified?.... But looking back now, it is difficult to justify what was done to so many innocent people. More than anything, it is the tragedy of those who were sacrificed on this morning 60 years ago that speaks to us over the decades.... The collapse of Communism and the end of the missile race between America and the old USSR have lulled many of us into the assumption that the nuclear threat to mankind is over. That is a mistaken belief. In fact the situation appears to get worse by the day. This week, for example, Iran said it would be restarting its nuclear program. North Korea already has nuclear weapons and would rather let a few million of its children starve than get rid of them, so far at least. India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons and are still at loggerheads over Kashmir. If Islamic militants were to overthrow General Musharraf in Pakistan, how long might it be before mushroom clouds were rising over the Indian subcontinent? Israel also has a nuclear arsenal. Although so far none of the Arab states does, that could change in the future. And then there is al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups. Some of the poor and corrupt member states of the old Soviet Union still have nuclear stockpiles and money talks. The original nuclear five--America, Britain, France, Russia and China--were supposed to give a lead to everyone else. But although efforts are being made to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, they have failed to do much themselves. America is now developing ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons. China, still a very long march from being a democracy, has ambitions to be the world's dominant superpower in a few decades, with all the tensions that will bring. Today, as we remember the people of Hiroshima, we should all be aware that we are still living in the shadow of the bomb. “
NORWAY: "Grim Anniversary"
Independent Dagbladet commented (8/7): "Yesterday it was 60 years ago since nuclear weapons were used against human beings for the very first time.... We can conclude that the world entered a new epoch with the development and use of nuclear weapons. The human race has since then been able to exterminate itself. Luckily, WMD have only been used those two times 60 years ago. That does not mean that we are safe for the future. Today we know of eight countries that have nuclear weapons. In addition there is North Korea, which has most likely come far in its development of the weapons, and Iran, which also has a nuclear program. And today’s nuclear weapons are many times stronger than the two bombs that were dropped over Japan. The type of desperate terrorism that we have seen developing over the past few years is maybe the most imminent danger in this connection as well.... It now becomes even more important that the nations in possession of nuclear arms enter into binding NPT agreements.... Today’s grim anniversary therefore creates an important prelude to the UN summit on the subject in September.”
ROMANIA: "The Mega-Murder"
Razvan Voncu wrote in conservative Realitatea Romaneasa (8/6): "The U.S. claimed that they resorted to these bombardments because Japan did not want to capitulate. A lie, obviously.... Only the technical conditions and the reluctance of American scholars made it impossible for the bomb to be used earlier, as the American generals ardently desired. North Korea, the main target of American politics in Asia, has found in the nuclear weapon a means of keeping the US at bay.... From here to terrorism, there was only one step.... The construction technology of the atomic bomb...is available to anybody on the Internet.... We should thank the White House and the American generals for this nightmarish existence.... Money spent on the development of nuclear arsenals could have eradicated world famine a long time ago, and could have solved many other chronic problems of the planet, but do the powerful care about people?”
SPAIN: "August Of '45"
Left-of-center El País asserted (8/7): "But the [60th anniversary of Hiroshima] coincides with the awakening of Japan's own military and nationalistic currents which oppose the limitations of their own rearmament. The anniversary also coincides with the identification of the national independence with possession of the atomic weapon in countries like North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, or Israel and others that already have them or are on their way to getting them. The anniversary of Hiroshima recalls the tragic effects of militarism for their own people to eliminate arms that for their own population but also the need to eliminate some weapons that are not in the name of a good cause to stop strictly inhumane effects."
WEST BANK: "The U.S.' Nuclear Ethics"
Jawad Bashiti wrote in independent Al-Ayyam (8/10): "The ultimate goal of the super imperialist power in the world is to ‘monopolize nuclear weapons’ beginning with preventing their spreading outside the ‘nuclear group,’ which Israel, the only country in the world that possesses an unrevealed nuclear arsenal, is a member of. The U.S. will not relax until the nuclear arsenals in Russia and China become weak and helpless in the international conflict. It’s the ‘nuclear rhinoceros’ world that it [the U.S.] wants in the 21st century. A world in which the balance [created by] the horror of nuclear power has vanished, is much more dangerous than the world in which the U.S. was the only country with a nuclear bomb and thus, nothing can stop it from using [this bomb] just as it used it in Hiroshima and Nagasaki... This great crime that the U.S. committed is the best evidence that the ‘nuclear ethics’ of this country is a big lie.... Until it’s possible to make the entire world free of nuclear weapons, the only option is one of two evils: the spread of nuclear weapons, because the world will become another Hiroshima if the U.S. monopolizes nuclear weapons.”
UAE: "Hiroshima Lessons"
The expatriate-oriented English-language Khaleej Times opined (8/3): "As the world goes about the perfunctory observation of the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, it doesn’t appear as if we have learnt our lessons from the great tragedy. In spite of the fact that the Cold War is long over...there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world and everything in it many times over. The world has seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki how utterly destructive the nuclear weapons can be. Yet there are many countries today that can do anything to possess them. Ironically, many states in the developing world may not have enough resources to feed their people but they are prepared to spend their precious wherewithal on the efforts to have a nuke or two of their own.... Interestingly enough, many rich nations in the developed world like Japan...have enough economic resources but aren’t interested in developing and possessing nukes. On the other hand, poor and bankrupt states like North Korea are incredibly keen to lay their hands on these dangerous arms perhaps to sate the delusions of grandeur of their leaders. While the developed world is cutting down on its existing military strength, the developing world is chasing after more lethal and destructive arms.... About time the developing countries learn a lesson or two from the rich and developed world. It’s not the weapons, nuclear or otherwise, that dictate the balance of power in the 21st century but economic muscle and clout.... Few in the developing world appear to have woken up to this strategic shift. To be fair, Asia appears to be catching up with the trend. China, ruled by Maoist dictators, appears to have got it right. It’s completely focused on building itself as an economic superpower.... India, which in ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s was preoccupied with military grandeur, has realised the power and effectiveness of economic progress."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "An Awful Act In A Just Cause"
The national conservative Australian observed (8/6): "It is easy for critics to point to the monstrous death toll on Truman's watch, in the same way Kennedy and Reagan were denounced for accepting the risk of a nuclear exchange. It is easy for faux realists to hold democracies to impossible moral standards when defending themselves against implacable enemies. It is easy for appeasers to blame the victim in the face of totalitarian aggression. But since the start of WWII there have been many occasions when the awful was the lesser of two evils and to act in defense of democracy was unavoidable. Truman had the courage to set a precedent that still applies.”
"Nuclear Cloud On The Horizon Has Never Gone Away"
The liberal Melbourne-based Age stated (8/6): "The bombs ended World War II, but have cast a shadow over the world ever since. While the world paused to consider what kind of Pandora's box it had opened and the view of the nuclear bomb as an evil has helped avoid its use again--global powers have never turned away from the dark side of the nuclear age.... That belief depends on the people of the world also finding the resolve to demand that their leaders take stronger, more consistent steps to control an evil weapon. The countdown to catastrophe that started 60 years ago is continuing, but it is not too late to halt it.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "U.S. Holds Key To Ending Nuclear Weapons Fears"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (8/8): "India and Pakistan have taken a welcome step in reducing the threat of a nuclear war by setting up a telephone hotline and pledging to warn each other of ballistic missile tests. But two other nations worrying non-proliferation advocates, North Korea and Iran, are being less co-operative. Six-party talks in Beijing on convincing Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear program have made no headway in the past two weeks and will reconvene on August 29; Iran's equally hardline leaders are adamant that they will go ahead with uranium enrichment despite threats of UN action. At the centre of all the potential flashpoints is the U.S., which could easily vanquish global concerns about a nuclear conflict if it wanted. Instead, U.S. President George W. Bush's administration is flouting international non-proliferation rules and using nations' economic, political and strategic influence to choose which of them should or should not have nuclear capabilities.... There is little possibility of ridding the world of nuclear weapons while nations such as the U.S. maintain a two-track policy. If it truly wants international security, the Bush administration should be setting an example by ending proliferation and eliminating its weapons, as it has promised. Only with such a message can the nuclear threat be diminished."
"A Timely Reminder Of Modern Nuclear Threat"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post maintained (8/7): "The 60th anniversary yesterday of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima was not only a remembrance of the 140,000 people who died in the blast and another 100,000 found to have died of related causes, but a reminder of the horror of nuclear war that is always timely.... Fifteen years after the end of the cold war and the arms race between the U.S. and the old Soviet Union, it is debatable whether the world is now safer from a nuclear attack.... The reasons are the spread of nuclear weapons, the risk of an accidental missile launching and a new fear--that they could fall into the hands of terrorists. And there is concern about another arms race, with some nuclear powers considering an end to test bans and resuming production of nuclear weapons. Yet signatories to the 35-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty recently failed to even agree on an agenda for discussing the much-needed closing of loopholes in the pact.... Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which suffered the world's second atomic bombing three days later, have become beacons of a pacifist Japan. For a day yesterday, Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park became the epicentre of hopes for a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons. If these hopes are to be fulfilled, and crises of the kind involving Iran and North Korea are to be avoided, progress must be made in transforming the NPT into an effective agreement for the 21st century."
"Did the Atomic Bomb Attack Teach Japan A Lesson?"
Center-left Chinese-language Hong Kong Daily News noted (8/7): "Hiroshima held a commemoration to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack. Japanese people gather annually to commemorate the atomic bomb attack and treat themselves as the 'war victims.' However, the fact is that it was the right-wing warlords and their supporters in Japan who provoked the war. For sixty years, they have never repented for launching the war. In contrast, they once again request that Japan build up its military strength. When people are mourning for the victims of the atomic bomb attack, did the Japanese society try to stop the rejuvenation of militarists?"
"Japan Should Learn A Lesson From The Two Atomic Bombs"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (8/7): "While Japan is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a report said...that Japan had stockpiled 45 kilograms of plutonium and it was getting ready to build the world's biggest plutonium factory. Survivors of the atomic bomb attack worry that Japan may finally give up its post-war pacifism and develop nuclear weapons.... Sixty years has gone but the tragedy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki still makes people's hair stand on end. If it was not for the two U.S. atomic bombs that quickly ended the war, no one knows how many millions more Asian people would continue to be slaughtered by Japanese soldiers. We hope that Japanese people can do some soul searching at the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack and learn a lesson. They should never launch invasion and create such a tragedy again. Otherwise, they will only suffer from their own actions."
JAPAN: "The 60th Anniversary Of The Bombing: Stop Interpreting History From Occupation Viewpoint"
Conservative Sankei contended (8/7): "Japan should free itself from the interpretation of the history from occupational forces' viewpoint, including the perception of the history concerning the U.S.' dropping of nuclear bombs.... We would like to renew our resolve not to let anyone to use inhuman weapons again, but Hiroshima Mayor Akiba and Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono deserve criticism for making an apology for what was done in the war.... The country that must apologize is the U.S. because it dropped atomic bombs.... After the war, the General Headquarters of the Allied tried to suppress Japanese people's criticism of U.S. dropping of atomic bombs by giving the impression that the atomic bombs were dropped on military facilities.... Such a campaign made people have the distorted view that the dropping of atomic bombs was unavoidable...this view is still deep rooted.... Thus, the view that Japan should take all the blame should be corrected."
"The 60th Anniversary Of The Bombings: Eliminate Nuclear Weapons"
Liberal Mainichi stated (8/5): "We would like to reiterate our resolve to realize the elimination of nuclear weapons.... Countries that want to have nuclear weapons continue to increase although they know how dangerous they are.... North Korea's policy to possess nuclear weapons and China's military expansion both are matters of concern.... In the recent NPT conference...the move to realize the elimination of nuclear weapons has backpedaled because of the five nuclear powers' double standards.... They called on other countries not to develop nuclear weapons while maintaining the rights to use nuclear weapons on non-nuclear countries.... The Bush administration, too, should show a process toward the elimination of nuclear weapons."
"Anti-Nuclear Campaign Should Reflect Reality"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (8/5): "As Hiroshima and Nagasaki prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings Saturday and next Tuesday respectively, the fact that the world is not yet free from the horrors of nuclear weapons comes to mind. Instead, the world has witnessed the proliferation of nuclear weapons along with a rising threat of terrorists launching nuclear attacks. Appeals for preventing any recurrence of the nuclear attacks suffered by Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be persuasive only when such calls reflect the reality of nuclear weapons in the international community.... Today the world community effectively accepts India and Pakistan as members of the nuclear club, in addition to the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China. North Korea has also declared a nuclear capacity, while Iran is suspected of having a nuclear development program. Furthermore, a black market for such weaponry is said to exist, and nuclear materials are still reportedly being smuggled out of the former Soviet Union. In May, the seventh Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference was held in New York, but no agreement was reached. In other words, the international regime for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation is in a state of crisis. Many Americans have persistently justified the atomic bombings. However, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., some Americans have questioned President Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan."
"Nuclear Proliferation Continues 60 Years After Hiroshima"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai stated (8/5): "Sixty years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and more than a decade since the end of the Cold War, the world is no safer from the threat of another nuclear explosion.... The dire situation regarding nuclear proliferation was highlighted by a conference reviewing the NPT that was held in New York in May.... Delegates from nearly 190 countries were divided into the arms control camp and the group led by the U.S. focusing on the proliferation side of the equation. Wrangling between the two groups and a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran's nuclear activities led to the failure to agree on new measures to stop weapons proliferation.... The number of nuclear weapons in the stockpiles of the two nuclear superpowers--the U.S. and Russia--have dropped substantially from the Cold War era.... The reductions are by no means sufficient, but they have at least sharply lessened the danger of a global nuclear catastrophe. Meanwhile, the ambition to possess nuclear weapons has been spreading, not only to countries like North Korea and Iran, but also to terrorist groups. Nobody can deny that the continuing spread of WMD now poses one of the biggest threats to international security. It was therefore very disheartening to see the countries at the NPT review conference fail to share a common perception about the danger posed by the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.... With the changing dynamics of international politics eroding the momentum of the anti-proliferation effort, world leaders must remember Hiroshima's overwhelming lesson and work together to revive the floundering NPT."
INDIA: "Six Decades After The Nuclear Attack On Nagasaki: The Danger Still Exists"
Mumbai-based centrist Gujarati-language Gujaratmitra said (8/9): "Sixty years ago, on this day, the U.S. dropped atom bombs on the city of Nagasaki...and forced Japan to concede defeat during the Second World War.... It needs to be underscored here that although the U.S. used atom bombs to put an end to World War II, it is struggling still to establish peace in the world. This act by the U.S. has left an indelible mark on world history, which will continue to haunt mankind forever.... The world, realizing the deadliest impact of atom bombs, has fortunately not witnessed another such holocaust. However, owing to the policies of the U.S. during the Cold War period, the danger of ‘dirty’ bombs continues to exist even today. Despite the ongoing war against terrorism, there is no guarantee that the terrorists will not create mayhem by using this weapon.”
"Sidelining The Disarmament Agenda"
The centrist Hindu argued (8/6): "The deadlocked negotiations at the seventh Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) bring into sharp focus the lack of progress in global nuclear disarmament, in the context of an increased threat of nuclear proliferation.... Global disarmament commitments thus stand dishonored. The only country that has so far used nuclear weapons in war, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, and other nuclear weapon states have done little to reduce their arsenals.... The double standards and inequities built into the unequal global nuclear bargain that is the NPT, and the one-sided anti-proliferation drive of the nuclear haves, are paving the way for a risky nuclear nationalism in some threshold nuclear states. The question of genuine movement towards global nuclear disarmament assumes greater urgency given the real possibility of extremist movements and terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons.... As the world observes the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is obvious that nuclear weapon states have turned their back on the lessons of history. The U.S. has extracted from Japan an apology for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor but has itself refused to express regret for its anti-human nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. India will be betraying both its people and its international affairs heritage if it follows the nuclear weapons club in sidelining the disarmament agenda."
"Lessons Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki"
M. S. Swaminathan analyzed in the centrist Hindu (8/6): "The prospects for nuclear terrorism and adventurism have now become real. The voice of sanity of the survivors of the 1945 nuclear annihilation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is yet to be heard.... The Seventh Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)...ended in a deadlock. The five original nuclear weapon states...showed themselves unwilling to take decisive action to...move decisively toward the irreversible elimination of their nuclear arsenals. All states must share the blame for missing a solid opportunity...to resolve problems such as equitable access to civilian nuclear technologies...while at the same time tightening protections to ensure that such materials are not diverted for military use. The broad framework of nuclear weapons disarmament is in danger of collapsing.... Far more needs to be done to control and dispose of existing stockpiles of HEU that run the risk of falling into the hands of terrorist groups. Large numbers of tactical nuclear weapons continue to be deployed...while pressures mount from certain quarters for developing and deploying space weapons.... Without global political commitment, this goal cannot be achieved.... Without public and political education, the climate for peace and nuclear disarmament will not exist.... Unfortunately, the growing number of suicide bombing incidents indicate that we are now entering uncharted territory in human conflicts and retribution. At least to prevent the potential non-state use of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon states should not lose even a day in working towards the goal of totally eliminating such weapons."
"Let's Talk About Hiroshima"
C. Uday Bhaskar wrote in the centrist Indian Express (8/6): "Clearly the enormity of what Hiroshima connotes has been gradually relegated from public memory. August 6, marks the 60th anniversary...will be commemorated at a time when the immediacy and scope of global nuclear challenges is becoming more complex.... Global nuclear entropy has increased exponentially.... North Korea and Iran are the more visible nuclear nettles at the state level while the A.Q. Khan episode, relegated to the back-burner for reasons of political expediency, is symptomatic of the iceberg that could yet sink the Titanic of complacence if the latest Al Qaeda threats close the terrorism-nuclear material loop.... In the bargain, nuclear disarmament that was the corner-stone of all nuclear initiatives including the NPT has become even more elusive. More disturbingly, it is no longer part of the global nuclear discourse.... India, which has distanced itself from the global nuclear order by way of the NPT, is in a paradoxical situation. While restraint and rectitude have always been the defining characteristics of the Indian position, it was compelled to carry out the May 1998 nuclear tests for security reasons--albeit reluctantly. Yet it has always been in the vanguard of the nuclear disarmament movement.... Consequently disarmament which was once superseded by non-proliferation, arms control and arms reduction has now moved to a new semantic--countries of concern, counter proliferation and de-proliferation."
BANGLADESH: "Hiroshima And Nagasaki: Names For American Guilt And Shame"
Defense and Strategic Affairs Editor General Shahedul Anam Khan wrote in the independent English-language Daily Star (8/4): "Hiroshima and Nagasaki are poignant reminders of what havoc WMD in the hands of men, overcome and obsessed with power, can wreak upon human civilization.... The bombings have been castigated, as they deserve to be, both on strategic and moral counts. There is a stark similarity in the position taken to justify the barbaric acts...and all subsequent U.S. intervention since then, right up to the invasion of Iraq; a position propped up by lies, falsehood, deceit, and exploitation of the fear of the enemy who were painted as demons and barbarians.... Hiroshima and Nagasaki must therefore compel us to take a more serious look at the NPT regime and how it can be fully opertionalised to ensure that never there will be another such catastrophe. Unfortunately, the five yearly Non-Proliferation Review Conference, held in May 2005, has ended inconclusively. This has led many to apprehend that the thirty-year nuclear non-proliferation regimen, crucial to our common survival, is in danger of disintegrating.... More so when we see the double standards of the nuclear states in dealing with the newly emerged nuclear powers.... And many unstable states are in possession of nuclear warheads. Only recently has India been accorded the status of a nuclear power, something experts believe might weaken nuclear weapons control.... Even more disconcerting is the prospect of further proliferation that might ensue following the U.S. declaration of its intent to develop and produce new nuclear weapons. The current international flux raises the apprehension that not logic but obsession with power and a parochial and self-serving view of national interest might force the hands of some nuclear weapon states to use their nuclear weapons."
SOUTH AFRICA: "A-Bombs: No End In Sight"
The liberal Star observed (8/5): "Decades after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings brought a new dimension of horror to war the abolition of nuclear weapons is becoming an ever more distant dream. The U.S. has been joined by an ever-growing number of states that are in possession of these fearsome WMD.... Obviously the ideal scenario is when all A-bombs are obliterated from the face of the earth. Yet humankind has proven to be too selfish--and too foolish--to aspire to this. This is in spite of the evidence seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki of what devastation atomic weapons can wreak.”
"Nuclear Treaty Has Failed When It Is Most Needed"
Peter Fabricius noted in the liberal Mercury (8/5): "The collapse of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [NPT] review conference at the UN in May could not have happened at a worse time. With tension rising between al-Qaida, broadly defined, and Western powers, the danger of nuclear terrorist attack is probably greater today than it has ever been.... Another setback: the agreement by the U.S. last month which implicitly acknowledges India’s right to possess nuclear weapons.... Bush’s motives in doing this deal seem purely strategic--the need to bolster India as a counterpart to the rising giant of China.... This has been interpreted by some disarmament watchdogs as an implicit acknowledgement that the NPT has failed and that nuclear weapons states like India and Pakistan which have not joined the Treaty must now be controlled by some other means. Sources among the seven ‘disciples’ deny this and insist that the NPT must remain the pillar of international efforts to control the bomb. But it is hard not to see this as at least a stopgap measure, to try to hold the line against the bomb while the NPT is put together again.”
CANADA: "Nuclear Realities"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press opined (8/8): “Despite the NPT, despite intense efforts by international organizations such as the UN, despite unilateral and multilateral efforts by Canada, the U.S. and Europe to promote disarmament, despite negotiations between the U.S. and Russia to promote disarmament, the world's nuclear arsenal does not seem to get smaller in any effective way and the number of nations seeking to acquire nuclear arms continues to grow. North Korea claims that it already has nuclear weapons, and Iran has an active nuclear program. Both nations resist all efforts to dissuade them--Iran even denies it has a weapons program; talks in China with North Korea collapsed on the weekend. The situation seems likely to get worse rather than better. Pollyanna might believe that nations will disarm someday--and the world needs to keep working towards that goal--but a pragmatist will recognize that someday will not come soon. In the meantime, it is a good thing that the big powers, such as the U.S., have large nuclear arsenals because that is the most effective way of deterring the smaller powers from the temptation to try out their new nuclear toys when they get mad at their neighbours.”
"Hiroshima, 60 Years On"
The leading Globe and Mail declared (8/6): "The decision by U.S. president Harry Truman to use atomic weapons against Japan continues to be hotly debated. How many thousands of Allied soldiers' lives were saved by Japan's rapid surrender? Could an explosion on an uninhabited island have achieved the same end? If the first bombing could be justified, what of the second, three days later, of Nagasaki?.... The hypothetical questions are unanswerable, leaving contemporary observers deeply divided.... The debate is kept alive both by the touchiness of Americans who don't like to remember that theirs is the only nation ever to have used nuclear weapons, and by the reluctance of Japan to apologize for its war record.... More Japanese forthrightness on these atrocities would help close down attempts to justify what was...an appalling assault on unarmed civilians. And it is, in the end, a fruitless debate. The point in discussing Hiroshima is not to play Monday-morning quarterback on the Second World War, but rather to learn its lessons and ensure such devastation is never repeated. In that regard, the decade since the 50th anniversary has not proved encouraging. In 1995, a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there appeared a real opportunity to further nuclear disarmament through the reduction of the stockpiles held by the five declared nuclear powers and by the extension of the NPT under which the powers agreed to some day dismantle all nuclear weapons. In 2005, however, stockpiles remain at similar levels, and the U.S. has refused to cooperate with the most recent UN review of the treaty even as Washington has taken India off a nuclear blacklist. Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament has been pushed out of the public consciousness by terrorist attacks that...have caused casualties whose number would pale into insignificance beside the toll from a nuclear blast. The greatest danger is the nuclear arming of terrorists. Rather than an occasion for historical debate, the anniversary of Hiroshima should be the moment to renew international commitment to the expensive, delicate and crucial task of reducing nuclear stockpiles."
"A Past Without Context Is Radioactive"
Andrew Cohen commented in the leading Globe and Mail (8/5): "Memory and peace meet in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, on the edge of the park, offering a grim catalogue of horror: a child's charred lunch box, a fused bottle, photographs of the Black Rain carrying its wasting diseases.... The problem is that the commentary barely acknowledges the events that led to the Bomb. While the history here is neutral in tone, it is unconscionably incomplete. You could think that the Second World War just happened, deus ex machina. There is no association made between Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In fact, it seems that nothing before Hiroshima was Japan's fault; history begins in 1945.... The complexities of memory reveal themselves in other ways. The inscription on the cenotaph, which contains a register of the names of the dead, reads: 'Let all the souls here rest in peace; For we shall not repeat the evil.' Who is the "we"? The Japanese, who began the war which ended with the Bomb, or the Americans, who dropped it? Or, all of us, as in mankind itself? The difference is more than words lost in translation.... You rage at the Bomb, convinced that Harry Truman could have demonstrated its power elsewhere or waited for a crumbling Japan to surrender.... At the same time, you wonder why the Japanese are reluctant to accept responsibility--beyond pro forma apologies--for the fascist regime they created and the millions they killed. They have built a democracy, they have never gone to war since 1945, they have spent billions on aid in Asia, they oppose (most of them do) those official visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Yet their absence of outrage rankles."
"We Must Redouble Our Efforts In The Drive For Nuclear Disarmament"
The right-of-center Vancouver Province editorialized (8/5): "About 50,000 people...will gather at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima...to mark the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Three days later, Nagasaki will mark the 60th year after the second and final atomic bomb was dropped.... Many thousands more died in the ensuing years from the effects of massive toxic radiation.... Numerous others lived on.... It was this last group, the survivors, which became such an important component in the post-war peace movement. They were the perfect history teachers. Their stories and physical and emotional scars are the strongest possible lessons we'll ever get on why the A-bomb must never be used again.... As world attention focuses on the war against terrorism, memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have begun to fade--and along with them, it seems, efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Last spring, another UN review of the NPT collapsed. The number of nations that possess nuclear weapons, meanwhile, continues to expand. And the threat of a devastating nuclear war, killing millions of people, is as great as ever. That is why, as the dwindling number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims marks the 60th anniversary of the nuclear horror, the call for world nuclear disarmament must become more determined than ever."
ARGENTINA: "After Hiroshima: The Nightmare Of Atomic Terrorism"
Independent La Prensa said (8/5): "Six decades after the atomic attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and 16 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, nuclear technology spreads among second level powers and now it's possible that terrorist groups might be taking advantage of it. Today, the legacy of Hiroshima...is painfully relevant. Seems like history moves back to where it started. Now, concern isn't about the temerity of the Cold War, but the perspective that the detonation of a single bomb might change the course of history completely.... Three factors make the present arms race more disturbing than the Cold War: first, at that time, only a limited number of industrialized countries had the technological resources to build warheads. Today, eight states have nuclear weapons, and North Korea might be the ninth one. But there are tens of other countries with the elementary capacity to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium, the key to produce atomic weapons. Second, with the dissemination of nuclear knowledge to countries ranging from Pakistan to Brazil and Sweden, there appeared a dark circuit of technological exchange that makes it easy for terrorists to access equipment and knowledge that were impossible to obtain in the past. The third aspect, and perhaps, the most disturbing one, is the presence of terrorist groups such as Al Qaida that do not abide by the discipline of self-protection, by which the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China refused to attack each other directly during the Cold war. The groups that generate tens of suicide attacks are not only anxious to obtain atomic bombs; they also want to use them at any cost."
"Hiroshima Vis-à-vis The Nuclear Specter"
An editorial in leading Clarin read (8/6): "Paradoxically, 60 years after Hiroshima, nuclear arsenals accumulated a potential of destruction which is big enough to eliminate societies from the face of the Earth. Two things prevented this potential from wreaking havoc or losing control: first, the Cold War and the atomic balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Second, the progress in international commitments present in NPT. The first barrier collapsed 15 years ago and the NPT is giving signs of obsolescence, particularly after U.S. unilateralism and the existence of several States that have reached nuclear capacity with defensive purposes. The memory of Hiroshima must activate the conscience of rulers and world leaders to define long-lasting agreements that will prevent the use of nuclear weapons, reduce them and reverse their proliferation. The specter of a nuclear catastrophe and the risks of using nuclear weapons in wars or terrorist attacks can only be reduced with a very strong commitment to disarmament."
CHILE: "60 Years To Remember"
A commentary in conservative, independent La Tercera read (8/7): "In WWII, humankind showed deplorable traits that must not be forgotten: autocrats willing to lead their nations to the abyss, totalitarian systems in which men became simple spare parts for a machine...racial prejudice taken to extremes...the capability and will to build more deadly war machines, and a moral corruption inherent to all wars that made the bombing of civilians--labeled a barbarous act at the war's beginning--acceptable by the war's end. In light of recent events, it is not clear that we have learned from the mistakes and horrors of the past. If in another 60 years we still remember Hiroshima, we will have progressed.”
"Hiroshima: The Effects Of Total War"
Conservative, independent La Tercera commented (8/6): "What we can do today is analyze the world following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The availability of nuclear weapons and the proof of their destructive power took the world...into the longest period of peace in centuries. A stability based on the fear of mutual destruction...has prevented the use of these weapons until today.... In the 21st century, however, the challenge is different: countries that are unhappy with their position in the international system could use atomic weapons as currency or to threaten other nations. That is the path North Korea has chosen and the fear--which we now know was mistaken--regarding Saddam Hussein. These are countries that are unafraid of taking risks and in which decisions are not adequately processed through institutional filters. Therefore, due to the the possibility--thus far unconfirmed--that terrorist groups may obtain nuclear weapons the greatest threat today is proliferation.”
"Will Europe Find A Solution?"
Conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio editorialized (8/6): "60 years after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the world still fears nuclear holocaust. This is why...we must find effective ways to live in harmony and to negotiate with ‘untrustworthy’ countries that will inevitably seek prestige and power through nuclear weapons.”
"The Hiroshima Barbarism"
Center-left Diario Siete opined (8/5): "The argument that the atomic bomb prevented a Japanese invasion and shortened the war is an alibi to attenuate the impact of a slaughter that should be tried with equal rigor to that with which humanity judges the Nazi massacres. A crime is a crime.”
"60 Years Since The Atomic Bomb"
Karin Ebensperger maintained in conservative, influential Santiago-based El Mercurio (8/3): "Six decades ago, U.S. President Harry Truman gave the order to drop two atomic bombs on Japan.... The U.S. is the country of liberty and democracy. It is noteworthy that it is also the only country that has used a nuclear bomb against civilians. It was in wartime. Also, like all powers in history, Washington was forcefully exerting its foreign policy. The Manifest Destiny dictated by its founding fathers moved it to conquer two oceans, become the masters of America and attain global power status.... It has been 60 years since the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it would be desirable for U.S. civil society to launch a major campaign explaining the threat of WMD. The fallout of the only wartime use of nuclear power are not underscored strongly enough. It is urgent that it be done.”
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