President Obama announced this week that he will visit Hiroshima at the end of May, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city since its destruction by an American nuclear weapon in 1945.
The White House is touting this visit as a sign of the president’s continued commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.
But is it?
As the president prepares for his visit, the U.S. has nearly a thousand nuclear weapons that remain on hair-trigger alert — meaning they can launch in a matter of minutes. This is a recipe for disaster. Whether by accident, miscalculation, or madness, we are just one wrong move away from another Hiroshima.
President Obama has two choices: He can come to Hiroshima to simply make another speech, or he can use his trip as an opportunity to cement his nuclear legacy and stand down U.S. nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.
Keeping nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert is an outdated and irresponsible policy left over from the Cold War. It has no place in any country’s modern foreign policy because it puts the entire world at risk of an accidental nuclear launch.
If President Obama wants to prove that he has learned anything from the devastation of Hiroshima, he will have to do it with actions, not words. This is the president’s opportunity to leave a proud nuclear legacy, one that will make us all safer and keep future generations from living under the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Global Campaign Director
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