This week, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, incinerated and vaporized by American nuclear bombs 71 years ago. For the U.S., as with Japan's own wartime atrocities that still deeply rankle the emotions of its Asian neighbors, the profound apology that matters is not about the past but the future. It is about taking convincing actions today that ensure what happened in the past never happens again. That future-oriented apology remains lacking all around. (continued)
As it seeks to modernize its nuclear arsenal, the United States faces a big choice, one which Barack Obama should ponder before his upcoming Hiroshima speech. Should we spend a trillion dollars to replace each of our thousands of nuclear warheads with a more sophisticated substitute attached to a more lethal delivery system?
The U.S. is once again in the midst of an inward turn. Unlike the disconnection following the First World War, America's growing national deficit in the capacity and will to engage other people not like them is not the innocent confidence of a rising power but the false bravado leading one to its fall.