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Stimson Center Experts Analyze President Obama’s Hiroshima Speech

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Experts from the nonpartisan Stimson Center share their reactions to President Obama’s speech in Hiroshima today. President Obama — accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima since America used the atomic bomb against the city on August 6, 1945.

Laicie Heeley, Fellow, Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense, Stimson Center: “The president’s speech was a moving tribute to the memory of those lost in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a call not only to further action on nuclear disarmament, but a greater “moral revolution.” Unfortunately, it was also something of a missed opportunity. There are still actions that President Obama, himself, could take to move us closer to his vision of a “world free of nuclear weapons.” It seems, however, that the president has chosen to leave those steps in the hands of his successor.” 


Michael Krepon, Co-founder, Stimson Center: “For modest reductions in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, President Obama met Republican demands for a trillion dollar strategic modernization program. Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to undermine treaties. The President still has time to push back and to shorten the distance between his aspirations and the legacy he will leave to his successor.”


Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate, East Asia Program, Stimson Center: “President Obama’s speech, by extending his remembrance to the atomic bomb victims not only in Hiroshima but also Nagasaki, will bring some sense of closure to the victims who are still alive and their families and friends. It also speaks to the extraordinary journey of U.S.-Japan relations which, after a period of fierce battle and animosity, emerged to forge one of the closest bilateral relations that the U.S. has in the world. In a broader context, his speech speaks to the heart of this administration’s eight-year long effort to reorient the way the United States engages in the worldaway from sending troops as an immediate reaction to crises to a more holistic approach grounded in leveraging all elements of national power. Given the domestic challenges the U.S. faces and the potential fiscal implication they have on U.S. ability to utilize its military abroad, such a reorientation merits bipartisan support and effort. ” 


Photo credit: Miquel Lleixà Mora [NotPRO] via Flickr
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