Nuclear Abolition NewsViewpoint
By HIROTSUGU TERASAKI*
TOKYO – President Obama’s speech in Berlin on June 19 is a welcome reaffirmation of his commitment to achieving a world free from nuclear weapons. The readiness he expresses to pursue further reductions in the US and Russian nuclear arsenals represents a concrete step toward this goal.
To make good on its stated commitments, the US administration now needs to establish a path of tangible actions to move beyond a world of decreased nuclear risks to reach the goal of nuclear weapons abolition. As President Obama’s stance makes clear, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence can no longer make any meaningful contribution to the security of any state. This is something the world’s ordinary citizens have long known: holding humanity hostage to nuclear Armageddon makes no one safe.
In view of the risks, effects and costs of nuclear weapons, there is both the practical necessity and the moral imperative to rid the world of those apocalyptic weapons. The time has come to initiate negotiations on a treaty that will prohibit nuclear weapons.
While this goal may seem to be a distant or even unrealistic one to some, it is not beyond our reach. As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has pointed out: “In order to achieve real security in the twenty-first century we need to bring forth the powers of imagination that will enable us to directly and accurately apprehend evolving realities, to guide these changes toward the desired direction and to give birth to entirely new realities.”
Speaking in Berlin, President Obama has again demonstrated his unique talent for taking the lessons of the past as a vantage-point from which to offer visions of a more hopeful future. Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be the most appropriate possible venues for a speech in which to announce concrete steps toward the realization of his stated goal of a world free from nuclear weapons.
The work for eliminating nuclear weapons must be a global enterprise, shared by all members of the human family. Every actor—the nuclear weapons states, the states that have refrained from developing these weapons and, most critically, the world’s people—must play a role. The SGI is committed to building grassroots awareness in order to empower people’s efforts toward the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.
*Hirotsugu Terasaki is Vice President, Soka Gakkai and Executive Director, Soka Gakkai International Peace Affairs. [June 20, 2013]
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