What Will President Obama Say In Hiroshima?

The genre “what President Obama should say in Hiroshima” grows every day. Each op-ed lists what the author believes is important about nuclear weapons. Their sameness is depressing. End nuclear weapons. A very good idea, but hard, perhaps impossible, to execute.

Part of the genre uses Obama’s speech in Prague in 2009 to argue that his nuclear policy is a failure, since nuclear weapons still remain in the US arsenal. In that speech, Obama said that he thought that nuclear weapons might not be eliminated in his lifetime, but never mind.

There are legitimate concerns in some of the op-eds, like lowering the alert status of deployed nuclear weapons, speeding up dismantlement of those taken out of the stockpile, and questioning the modernization program. But Hiroshima’s history gives no simple answers, as much as we might like them.

I’m going to wait until Friday to hear what Obama actually has to say. I hope it will be something new and future-oriented, but still practical, as his Prague speech was. Removing the dangers of nuclear weapons is too important and difficult for anything else.


Photo: G7 foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, at Hiroshima in April 2016.

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