What is the U.S. up to in Japan?

Well, Marines and sailors on Okinawa are raping and killing women, as usual. And President Obama is visiting Hiroshima and sort of mentioning but not really apologizing for dropping nuclear weapons on it.

I think it’s nice that Obama visited Hiroshima. I thought it would have been a nice place to announce a major nuclear stockpile reduction effort early in his second term. Here’s what he had to say about that:

among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.

We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly materials from fanatics.

That’s a bit disappointing to me. We could drastically scale them back, creating good will around the world and giving us some moral high ground to work with other countries to scale them back. We could tackle the emerging and possibly far scarier biological weapons threat. We could scale back our footprints in Japan and Korea and leave those rich, modern, democratic nations to provide for their own defense while staying engaged with them through trade and diplomacy.

I am an Obama fan though. He is someone who chose to do as much good as he could within the constraints of the system. It is possible that if he had pushed the system harder he might have gotten more done, but it is also possible it would have been counterproductive. We will never know. I like his last minute attempts to begin the process of putting some thorny historical issues to bed with Cuba, Iran, Japan, and Vietnam. In Vietnam in particular I am struck by how little ill will the public seems to bear us, when they might have the most reason to of all those countries. These efforts build some good will internationally and provide a better starting point for future leaders to build on than the same old stale Cold War positions we’ve had for the last 50 years.

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