As Hiroshima bombing turns 75, a look at 6 changes to nuclear arms under Trump

August 6, 2020 by No Comments

Seventy-five years ago Thursday, the U.S. became – and remains – the only country in the world to detonate a nuclear weapon against an enemy.

At 8:15 a.m. local time on Aug. 6, 1945, an American Boeing B-29 aircraft named Enola Gay dropped a 9,700-pound uranium bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” over Hiroshima, Japan. About 70,000 people were killed instantly by the explosion, which had a radius of around a mile.

Three days later, on Aug. 9 at 11:02 a.m. local time, a second atomic bomb, named “Fat Man,” was unleashed by the U.S. over Nagasaki, Japan. This time, 40,000 people died straight away – within five years, the number of deaths approached 140,000, according to archived estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Hiroshima death toll reached an estimated 200,000 by 1950 as those who survived the blast succumbed to fatal burns, radiation sickness and various cancers.

On Aug. 14, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally, effectively bringing an end to World War II. Three-quarters of a century later, tensions, complications and uncertainties over nuclear weapons and how to ensure they are not used again are still very much with us.

Among the recent developments:

The Trump administration has withdrawn from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and world powers designed to limit Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.
President Donald Trump-led talks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un aimed at denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula have stalled.
The Trump administration has suspended compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Reagan administration-era initiative that slashed the number of midrange missiles held by the U.S. and Russia.
Trump has abandoned the Open Skies Treaty – negotiated by President George H.W. Bush after the collapse of the Soviet Union and designed to be a check on nuclear weapons by allowing surveillance flights over signatories’ territories.
Trump has signaled he may not renew New START, the last major U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control treaty, unless China also agrees to be bound by its constraints. Beijing has not committed either way. New START expires in February, just weeks after there’s a new, or renewed, U.S. president in the White House.
Marshall Billingslea, the top U.S. envoy for nuclear negotiations, has confirmed the Trump administration has discussed holding the first nuclear test since 1992. “I won’t shut the door on it, because why would we,” Billingslea said in late June in Vienna, Austria, although he said there is no reason to carry out a test “at this time.”

Fred Carriere, who teaches international relations at Syracuse University, said that one of the major impediments to getting countries to denuclearize, whether the U.S., North Korea or Iran, is that “everybody always wants everything up front, with the promise that good things will follow later on, but few will ever be able to accept this strategy.”

In the case of North Korea, for example, negotiations broke down over Pyongyang’s insistence that Washington immediately halt economic sanctions.

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