I agree with Robert McKinney’s Letter to the Editor “Obama’s dismal record on nukes” in the May 8 edition that U.S. President Barack Obama “didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009” and that his record of advancing peace has been “deplorable.” But if McKinney is hinting that Obama should lead a charge to abolish nuclear weapons, I couldn’t disagree with him more.

“Conventional wisdom” says the world would be much safer without nuclear weapons. Would it really? Before 1945, no such weapons existed — and yet in the first half of the 20th century, two massively destructive world wars killed around 80 million people, maiming and displacing millions more.

Nearly all of World War II’s death and destruction occurred before the atomic bombings, which brought that war to a screeching halt. There have been wars since then, to be sure, but none coming close to the level of death and destruction of the pre-nuclear world wars.

Nuclear weapons are horrible — if they’re actually used. Sitting in their silos and missile tubes, though, they’ve provided the best anti-war deterrent imaginable. When we remove our emotions from the discussion and look at logic and facts, no other conclusion is possible.

During the Cold War, the U.S. and Soviet Union went eyeball to eyeball, but they never came to serious military blows. One big reason: They each possessed nuclear weapons that kept the other side in check.

Before nuclear weapons came into being, powerful countries frequently invaded and brutally occupied weaker neighbors, and nations waged unfettered regional and global wars causing millions of military and civilian deaths. Since 1945, such military aggression and large-scale wars have been reduced considerably. A safer world without nuclear weapons? History doesn’t bear that out at all.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.