Hiroshima and the U.S. “Pivot” to Asia

Darrel Rankin

Hiroshima Day, August 6, is humanity’s chance to reflect on the danger of world nuclear war, and to recall what today would be a serious war crime ‑ the obliteration of two cities in Japan by atomic bombs in 1945.

As the U.S. threatens Iran for its alleged intention to develop a nuclear weapon, another danger is the move of 60 per cent of U.S. naval power to the Asia‑Pacific region by 2020. This is the “pivot to Asia”, announced earlier this year as a result of a major military strategic review.

In atomic diplomacy, it is important to “follow the weapons” to gain a true understanding of the nuclear danger. The pivot signifies the transfer of much of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal half way around the world.

Essentially, the U.S. is shifting its military focus from the Middle East to Asia, from oil to people. The shift is seen by some U.S. strategists as “overdue” because of concern over China’s emergence as a regional power. This, of course, is nothing but a canard against China and an excuse to dominate Asia.

The pivot helps position U.S. military forces to attack both China and Russia. But the more important reason is augment U.S. influence and power in the region, especially the all‑important U.S. corporate investments in China and other Asian countries, including by force if necessary.

In fact, the long history of U.S. nuclear policy in Asia is one of proliferating nuclear weapons, starting with Hiroshima and continuing with its anti‑China nuclear threats during the Korean war. The nuclear arsenals of China, India and Pakistan are puny compared to the U.S. arsenal.
The pivot also needs to be placed in the context of capitalism’s deepening global crises. U.S. ruling circles are counting on their war machine to save their overseas investments from revolutionary change. The pivot is a direct threat to an “Asian Spring”.

The pivot places U.S. naval forces closer to its new Africa Command and ready to assist its re‑established Fourth Fleet, whose purpose is to dominate and frighten South America.

U.S. imperialism is re‑positioning itself to crush social change anywhere it may occur.

The crime of Hiroshima, the history of atomic threats against China, and the present pivot underline the racist nature of U.S. imperialism. If an Asian nuclear war takes place, the expectation by U.S. ruling circles is that North America will avoid serious loss of life, or that they will escape political and legal responsibility. This is both misguided and criminally dangerous.

Without a successful campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, the world will continue towards nuclear Armageddon, accidental or deliberate, triggered by doctrines that allow for “first use” of nuclear weapons, including by U.S. naval commanders who may use such weapons without the president’s permission.

The U.S. openly proclaims the need for military force to protect its foreign investments, a doctrine that equally infuses its nuclear policy. Until overseas investment, the material basis for global domination, disappears it is unlikely we will rid the earth of nuclear weapons.

As Hitler found out, humanity will never permit doctrines that allow for the murder of tens of millions. Those controlling the U.S. nuclear arsenal have doctrines that could kill billions. After all, war is merely the continuation of foreign policy by violent means, and foreign policy in the age of capitalist imperialism aims at domination, not equality among nations.

The inhumanity of the capitalist social system cannot be erased from history. In 1945, U.S. leaders chose to use atomic bombs on cities, to display the overwhelming danger of such weapons on civilians. Imperialism’s nuclear strategy is the most important reason why socialists say disarmament is our ideal.


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