G7 leaders gather in Hiroshima amid rising threat of nuclear war

11:28 22.05.2023 •

Like President Obama, the first American leader to visit Hiroshima since the end of World War II, President Biden made clear in advance that no apology would be forthcoming for the monstrous war crime carried out by US imperialism on August 6, 1945. His refusal to offer even a token acknowledgement of the criminality of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima, and three days later on Nagasaki, is a sharp warning that the US will use nuclear weapons again to prosecute its strategic interests, comments an Australian international observer Peter Symonds.

The horrific scale of death and destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an ominous reminder of what is at stake as the US and its allies accelerate the plunge toward a global conflict.

The atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” dropped on Hiroshima, a city of a quarter of a million people, exploded with a force equivalent to between 15 and 20 kilotons of TNT. It killed an estimated 80,000 instantly, or within hours, who died as a result of terrible burns and injuries as the shockwave levelled the city and triggered a firestorm.

Another 40,000 people died outright in Nagasaki. The deaths continued to climb in the following days and weeks as men, women and children succumbed to burns, injuries and radiation sickness. Estimates put the death toll in the immediate aftermath at between 250,000 and 300,000 — 90 percent of them civilians.

The danger of a catastrophic nuclear war today is higher than at any time since World War II. In its historic decline, US imperialism has resorted to military aggression again and again over the past three decades in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans in a desperate and reckless bid to shore up its global position. Having failed to achieve its objectives through these criminal adventures, the US and its allies are engaged in a war with Russia in Ukraine — that is, a war between nuclear-armed powers.

The G7 summit takes place as NATO funnels weaponry into Ukraine in ever-greater quantities, sophistication and destructive power — the latest being battle tanks, long-range cruise missiles and now F-16 fighter aircraft — with reckless disregard of the danger of the conflict widening into a direct war between NATO and Russia.

At the same time, the US is ratcheting up its provocations against China over Taiwan, seeking to goad Beijing into a debilitating war in the same way that it provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Each G7 member is seeking to stake its claim amid the headlong US drive for global hegemony and is rapidly expanding its own military apparatus. Germany and Japan have both thrown off the legal and constitutional limitations put in place after their defeats in World War II and have doubled their military budgets over the past year since the start of the Ukraine war. Britain, which has played a central role in training and arming the Ukrainian armed forces, is boosting its defence spending. France is engaged in its own rapid military expansion.

During his 2020 election campaign, Biden promised to make arms control and nuclear non-proliferation “a central pillar of US global leadership.” In office, however, he has continued to dismantle arms control agreements and provide tens of billions of dollars annually to the US military to modernise its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems. Last year Biden acknowledged that the world faced the “prospect of nuclear Armageddon,” but he has repeatedly declared that the US will not be deterred by nuclear threats.

Just as the first use of atomic weapons on Japan was driven by imperialist ambitions, so the relentless and reckless drive by the US to war with Russia and China is guided by the same motivations, stresses Peter Symonds.


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