Each anniversary of the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (and later another on Nagasaki) in August, 1945, news media display images of the aftermath. The blasted landscapes, devoid of humans, have always sobered us. Other images of burn victims and sufferers from radiation sickness increase our horror.
This year, those images haunt us even more, as a small dictatorship revives the fear of nuclear annihilation. Ironically, North Korea lies not far from those unfortunate Japanese cities, the only ones to suffer from nuclear weapons.
It seems absurd. Those of us who remember fears of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War may also remember the movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a black comedy starring Peter Sellers, dealing with those fears.
We also remember the joy that erupted when the Cold War, we thought, ended. The United States and the Soviet Union signed a treaty and actually began dismantling some of their nuclear arsenals.
Whatever faults the two superpowers committed during the Cold War were redeemed by one fact: Though both had nuclear weapons, neither used them.
Was it the fear of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)? Perhaps, but through it all, people of differing political persuasions and forms of government worked and hoped for the abolishment of this Dr. Strangelove kind of weapon.
Now, like a sudden resurrection of our Cold War nightmare, we fear the madness of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. Unfortunately, our current president appears to enjoy some of Kim’s tactics, the two trading insults like leaders of adolescent street gangs.
In the background, almost on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, the United Nations Security Council passed a bill calling for sanctions against North Korea. The fact that the fifteen members of the council voted unanimously for the measure indicates the seriousness of North Korea’s threat.
We can only hope for the success of this slow but less deadly way to rid the world of Kim’s weapons.