by Kevin Clarke, America Magazine

As President Obama prepares for his Group of Seven meeting in Japan and a visit to Hiroshima later this week, religious leaders and anti-nuclear activists have been urging him to seize the historic moment in a city once devastated by a U.S. atomic attack. They argue he should use the visit to press for the long-stalled nuclear disarmament agenda he outlined in a speech in Prague in 2009. Over 70 scholars and activists signed a letter released on May 23 urging the president to visit with Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, while in Hiroshima on May 27 and to announce concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament after the G7 economic summit in Japan.

nuclear-free-zone“This is an extraordinary moment,” said American University Professor Peter Kuznick. “President Obama can either use it to further the cause of world peace and nuclear disarmament or he can use it as a cover for his militarization of the conflict with China and his trillion dollar nuclear modernization program to make nuclear weapons more usable. Such an opportunity may never come for him again.”

The letter signers complained that despite the significant achievement of the Iran nuclear deal and successes in securing and reducing nuclear weapons grade material globally, the president’s Prague agenda has been mostly stalled since the 2010 New START agreement with Russia, with no further nuclear weapons reductions achieved…

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