Tell Congress to Reduce Military SpendingEvery year, the Peace Economy Project takes a letter to Congress calling for the reduction of military spending to save our domestic needs and safety net programs, and the signatures of those who sign on. Add your name to the letter, and we'll be sure to deliver it to your Congressperson and Senators in Washington, DC. Thank you very much for your participation. (more…)
Did You Attend Our Charlie King Concert?
If so, then we'd like you're input!Thank you so much to those who attended our Charlie King and Martha Leader concert earlier this month! The event was a huge success for the Peace Economy Project and we hope everyone who attended had a great time. Although this event just ended, we're already thinking about next year's concert. To help us make sure next year's event is even better than this year's event, we'd like you to participate in a short survey about the concert. If you attended the concert, then we'd like feedback from you about the experience. Did you enjoy the event? Would you attend next year's concert? Who would you like to see perform? Your participation will ensure we have the best concert possible in 2017, and the survey should take no more than five minutes of your time. Thank you for taking the time to take our survey. We really appreciate it.
Should President Obama Visit Hiroshima in May?No sitting U.S. president has ever been to Hiroshima, and Japanese press has hinted at the possibility of President Obama paying a visit while he is in Japan next month. Obama already has an established stance for nuclear non-proliferation, from his persistent work to secure the Iran Deal to the global nuclear security summits he stated in 2009. A visit to Hiroshima would seem like a no-brainer, but should Obama make the trip? Critics argue that visiting Hiroshima would look like an apology. A cable from 2009 leaked on Wikileaks revealed the Japanese government didn't want Obama to visit Hiroshima back then, saying the gesture "would be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and those opposed to the defensive alliance" between the two countries. Nonetheless, President Obama should visit Hiroshima in May and there's no better time to do it than now.
A Visit Would Heal Old WoundsIt's been over 70 years since the United States dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, but there are still plenty of wounds that still need healing. If Obama were to make the trip, then it would be a gesture that heals old wounds for several countries, not just the Japanese. More than 140,000 people died on Aug. 6, 1945, but not all of them were Japanese. More than 20,000 Koreans also perished from the blast. If Obama visits, the South Korea would like him to take the opportunity to honor foreign victims of the bombing as well. South Korea is also a major U.S. ally, and another thing they'd hope to see out of this visit is Japan held a little more accountable for the atrocities they caused in the region during World War II. Some Koreans may view an Obama visit as support for Japan's "historical revisionism," but making both countries happy is possible, but a tricky balancing act of words and diplomacy. Let's also not forget what a visit to Hiroshima would mean for the thousands of Japanese-Americans who were in internment camps as their home country bombed their families across the Pacific. We've done well to remember and acknowledge what we did to our own U.S. citizens out of fear during the final years of WWII, but we haven't done enough to remember and acknowledge what we did to their families and other innocent civilians.
A Visit Would Strengthen Foreign RelationsJapan is one of the U.S.' strongest allies, and they would appreciate it greatly if Obama visited Hiroshima in May. It would be a way for Obama and the United States to confront history and to reflect upon it so that we can move forward toward a better, more peaceful future with Japan as an even stronger ally. Besides, the world has changed a great deal regarding nuclear security since that cable was written in 2009. Although the visit could be interpreted by China, South Korea, and North Korea as stoking the fires, Obama could also the use the visit to emphasize the importance of reconciling historical differences. A visit to Hiroshima would be an excellent chance for Obama to lead by example one last time before he leaves the presidency. The gesture wouldn't be without criticism, from both home and abroad, but its a gesture Obama can do sincerely and its criticism that he can handle.
If Not Now, Then When?President Obama doesn't have too much time left in office. He certainly wont' have another chance to make the trip as a sitting president. If he doesn't do it in May, then can we really have faith that our next Commander in Chief would visit? Of the remaining candidates, my gut says they will not make the trip and would treat it as an apology or an act of "weakness." Donald Trump even went so far as to suggest Japan should have nuclear weapons "to be prepared" against North Korea. In our increasingly militarized world, we can't afford to wait any longer for a sitting U.S. president to make this gesture of peace. We need to acknowledge the destruction the nuclear bomb caused, and the the U.S. caused those deaths. We need to do more than merely justify the decision with the hastened end to World War II. Telling other countries not to use or to build nuclear weapons while simultaneously saying our own use was okay in this instance will not achieve peace. Visiting Hiroshima is a small first step toward peace, remembrance and creating a nuclear-free world. But, it's a good one. By Allison Reilly
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