May 16, 2023

Biden is going to Hiroshima at a moment when nuclear tensions are on the rise

Source: NPR

Journalist: Scott Detrow

Jon Wolfsthal, who worked on nuclear proliferation in the Obama Administration, helped plan that trip. A year later, he found himself talking to a local official during a visit of his own to Hiroshima.

"I explained that I had helped President Obama prepare for that trip, and she broke into tears. Because for the people of Hiroshima to know that they were seen, and that the president of the United States was there not to apologize, but to simply recognize the role that Hiroshima plays in the world, had a big emotional impact on the people," Wolfsthal recalled.


Still, for Biden, the trip will inevitably carry heavy symbolism. "You have a sitting U.S. president, a man with control over the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal, going to the place where nuclear weapons were first used. That has impact," Wolfsthal said.

That's especially true at a moment when nuclear tension is higher than at any point since the end of the Cold War. "It's hard to find a nuclear issue in the world today that's heading in a positive direction, or where U.S. security is being improved," Wolfsthal said.

Read the full story and more from NPR.


  • Jon B. Wolfsthal

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Jon B. Wolfsthal is senior advisor to Global Zero, serves on the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is a member of the US Department of S...