Trump’s Nagasaki Day threat of nuclear war must be rejected

Millions around the globe went to bed in fear last night after Donald Trump’s pledge to respond to additional threats from the Kim Jong Un government in North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The people of our planet have seen, however, what one of Trump’s predecessors was capable of when, on this day 72 years ago, the United States incinerated over 70,000 people in the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Only a few days earlier, even larger numbers were killed in Hiroshima. The nuclear “fire and fury” unleashed then on the order of President Harry Truman annihilated tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Thousands of farm animals, pets, birds, fish, insects, trees and huge tracts of plant life were lost in the nuclear fires. Deformed human births and generations of cancer followed.

The hideous effects of the “fire and fury” unleashed by the United States in 1945 resulted in mass opposition to nuclear weapons all around the world.

Yesterday’s remarks by the president prove beyond any doubt that he is unfit to hold that office. As president, Trump is entrusted with the security and safety of the people of the United States. Instead of fulfilling that duty, he has actually endangered the safety and security of the people of the whole world with his reckless remarks.

Trump and some of the generals he surrounds himself with try to convince us that in today’s world the only choice for a great country is between militarization on the one hand, and isolation and irrelevance on the other. We believe this is a false choice and that what is needed is diplomacy, engagement, and an understanding of the cause of the geopolitical problems we face today.

The U.S. entered a fight in Korea in the early 1950’s to turn back what it saw as the advance of communism and to secure the Korean peninsula for capitalist economic development and for U.S. strategic and military interests. The borders of the North and South are almost the same now as they were before the Korean War.

The thing that is different though is that today there are 35,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, a country which will spend nearly $40 billion on its own military this year. North Korea, which spends far less, is nevertheless determined to have a nuclear capability.

The Korean War, it must be remembered, never ended. Only an armistice is in effect, an armistice bolstered by those 35,000 U.S. troops—a deal that itself proves the ultimate futility of military solutions to problems.

It should also be remembered that it was the U.S. that started conducting war games with South Korean forces in the 1970’s and that those “games” included simulated nuclear attacks against the North. All of that was before North Korea had any nuclear weapons.

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton was close to launching attacks to take out the then newly-initiated nuclear facilities in the North. In the early 2000s, President George W. Bush threatened to seize North Korean ships as part of a blockade against that country. Only three years ago, President Barack Obama conducted war games designed as “preemptive strikes” against North Korea. They included practice efforts to “take out” that country’s leaders.

Today’s Republican leaders are not of much help in reining in President Trump’s reckless blustering. Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., says he is concerned—not by the content of Trump’s threats, but rather because he doesn’t believe the president is willing or able to back them up. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., assures us that any war would be fought “over there,” not here at home. These are horrible comments that reflect the idea that there is no choice ultimately but to go to war.

We believe that the U.S. should opt for peace, not for war. We say accept North Korea’s offers of direct negotiations between the two countries, with all issues considered acceptable for those talks. North Korea has been asking for those talks for more than 15 years.

Such negotiation is indispensable if there is ever to be an official end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty.

There should be an offer to North Korea to allow it to trade with other nations and become a part of the global economy in exchange for military arrangements both sides can live with. Certainly a freeze on the North’s nuclear weapons development in exchange for a freeze on U.S. military activity in the South should be on the table.

President Trump is pushing along the path of militarization and war. The people of the U.S. and the world need and want diplomacy and peace. Let’s pledge today that we will never forget what happened 72 years ago in Nagasaki and that we will demonstrate that pledge by pressing our elected officials on all levels to push for diplomacy, not war.


People’s World Editorial Board
People’s World Editorial Board

People’s World Editorial Board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik, Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg