"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."
— President Harry Truman, Aug. 6, 1945, just before ordering the bombing of Hiroshima
"They will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
— President Donald Trump, Aug. 8, 2017
Steve Miller of Nuclear Watch New Mexico noticed the two similar quotes, from Truman and Trump, 72 years apart. Two hours later, North Korea said it was reviewing plans to strike U.S. military targets in Guam with medium-range ballistic missiles to create "enveloping fire," according to North Korean state media.
Miller went on to say, "Here we stand on the brink of nuclear hostilities. Note that the nuclear weapons state with the smallest arsenal and a barely functioning ICBM is still an existential threat, even to the country with the largest arsenal and the most advanced delivery systems on the planet.
"It seems that the nuclear weapon is most useful to the smallest power, transforming it from a military gnat into a lethal danger to even the most powerful states.
"One would think that it would be in the interest of the powerful country to seek the complete removal of nuclear weapons from the picture. ASAP. But in fact, given the opportunity — of the Ban Treaty negotiations for example — the U.S. has refused to have anything to do with any such effort. 'We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.' Instead, a trillion-dollar renewal and 'modernization' of our nuclear forces is planned.
"Where does that road lead?"
A peace delegation made up of Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, Reece Chenault of U.S. Labor Against the War, Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein recently visited South Korea and came home calling for immediate U.S.-South Korean action to de-escalate the growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
There are 83 U.S. bases and 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, and North Korea has repeatedly offered to suspend its nuclear weapons development in exchange for a freeze in U.S.-South Korean joint war exercises. Doesn't it seem high time to respond to this and really negotiate with North Korea?
As CODE PINK suggests, "Negotiate, don't escalate. Send Secretary Tillerson to North Korea for peace talks."
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.