(9 August 2017) We commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, 9 August 1945 today, three days after the commemoration of victims of the bomb on Hiroshima. Hundred thousands were killed. Japan surrendered. It had been threatened with “Prompt and utter destruction” and Truman at the time said Japanese people “to expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth”. Yesterday, 8 August 2017, the US President Trump has warned to meet North Korean threats “with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” in a battle over North Korea’s developing nuclear capacity to hit other countries like South Korea, Japan and the US. It is hard to imagine what could trump the two nuclear bombs. And we really do not want to. People said ‘that never again’, and many have been campaigning for a ban on nuclear weapons since and including trade unions. A month ago 122 states agreed to call for a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons (7 July 2017).
Other recent examples of fire and fury do not abode well - the experience of the bombing in Afghanistan, the US invasion in Iraq, the regime change in Libya and the ongoing civil war in Syria are all terrible things the world has already seen. A US pre-emptive strike against North Korea could result in massive destruction when fighting commences again. We just commemorated the Battle of Passchendale (Yper), 100 years ago, again with ten thousands of casualties. Difficult to understand why someone would like to go over any of this. And scary when said by a person that has personal control over a vast nuclear arsenal and other military resources. In all these conflicts it is working men and women that bear the brunt of pain, injuries and death. Resources are diverted from building public services and improving people’s lives.
“This US President is an imminent danger to working people, to our families and our communities. His words which will supposedly be followed by actions, show the risk of entering major conflicts. European institutions and politicians should speak out against this recklessness and work to strengthen diplomacy, peace and our global institutions to contain the US”, says EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan.
Another threat posed by the US administration for working people is the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Change agreement. New research shows the risks to the European population of weather-related hazards will increase towards the end of the century with thousands being killed every year. A leaked report of the US agencies involved in climate research and policy gives the same result for the US. His administration continues to deny this.
There are many other risks to working people in Europe and elsewhere. His approach “America first” to trade is not a progressive agenda promoting working people’s rights and environmental protection. It is not addressing how we can deal with growing inequalities, tax avoidance and the power of multinational companies for example. First and foremost workers in the US face this administration’s neo-liberal programme with attacks on health care and social programmes, on public education, on migrants, on bargaining rights for public service unions, favouring the rich and wealthy and much more.
Update 11 August: US President Trump has continued to threaten North Korea with damage the world has not seen before, stating that his unleashing “fire and fury” was maybe not tough enough. Reporters have referred to his thoughts on the use of nuclear weapons, apparently thinking they can be used rather than being a deterrent.