"We Didn't Build the Bomb to Make Another Hiroshima, but to Achieve Oslo"
Shimon Peres is being eulogized around the world as Israel's philosopher-king, its elegant worldly face to the world, the last of the Founding Fathers. The NY Times has published a news story, an op-ed by Tzipi Livni, and a Roger Cohen column, all of which amount to little more than hagiography. But there is a... Read More
Fidel Castro's 90th birthday celebrations might have been a bit more extravagant if Cuba had emerged from the 1962 missile crisis as the world's fifth nuclear power. Everybody loves to talk about the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, when America’s Best and Brightest under Jack Kennedy stared down Nikita Khrushchev and his attempt to... Read More
The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is reminds us that President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize in large part because of his stated intentions concerning nuclear non-proliferation. The two most recent achievements in US counterproliferation (Libya) and non-proliferation (Iran) have been tarnished by the destruction of Libya as a counter-proliferation example for North Korea... Read More
All war is a crime. There is no such thing as a “good war.” As the great Benjamin Franklin said, “there is no good war; and no bad peace.” We are now in the midst of the annual debate over the atomic bombing of Japan by the United States. Seventy years ago this week, the... Read More
The Nagasaki Experience
[This essay has been adapted from chapters 1 and 2 of Susan Southard’s new book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, with the kind permission of Viking.] Korean and Chinese workers, prisoners of war, and mobilized adults and students had returned to their work sites; some dug or repaired shelters, others piled sandbags against the windows... Read More
So many decades later, it’s hard to remember the kind of nuclear thinking top American officials engaged in during the Cold War. In secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, for instance, the country’s top strategists descended willingly into the charnel house of futuristic history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal... Read More
Or How Patriotism Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
By Christian Appy “Never, never waste a minute on regret. It's a waste of time.” -- President Harry Truman Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I'm wondering if we've come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world's only country to... Read More
In the 1960s the US was far from blindly supporting Israeli interests in the Middle East
Recently declassified documents reveal that consideration of how and when the White House can or should pressure Israel over policies damaging to the United States has been a contentious issue for quite some time. The 107 pages of formerly top secret memos, dating from 1968-9, relate to deliberations over what to do about the Israeli... Read More
For those of us of a certain age, it seems as if the world has always been ending. It’s easy now to forget just how deep fears and fantasies about a nuclear apocalypse went in the “golden” 1950s. And I’m not just thinking about kids like me “ducking and covering” at the advice of Bert... Read More
Is There Any Hope in an Era Filled with Gloom and Doom?
Wherever we Americans look, the threat of apocalypse stares back at us. Two clouds of genuine doom still darken our world: nuclear extermination and environmental extinction. If they got the urgent action they deserve, they would be at the top of our political priority list. But they have a hard time holding our attention, crowded... Read More