Forgetting the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

It is high time for all capitals involved in this Ukraine conflict directly or indirectly to recognize first and foremost that talk of using nuclear weapons is most certainly cheap as the pain of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is still being felt.

Forgetting the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Aerial image of Hiroshima after the American atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. (Source: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/lessons-hiroshima-75-years-later)

It is scary as to how nations in the international system could forget the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that some of them could so irresponsibly talk of the potential use of the nuclear weapons. In those fateful two days of early August in 1945 some 200,000 people perished in twin blasts. Today it is believed that just a single nuclear weapon has the destructive power of taking out two to three million lives — not a sobering feeling given that there is an estimated 13,000 nuclear weapons or warheads in a handful of nations; and some of them just too cheap to be reminding the comity of nations of the prospect of seeing another mushroom cloud.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin | Representational image | Wikimedia Commons

Today in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine — forgetting for a minute President Vladimir Putin’s characterization of this as a “Special Military Operation” — it has become almost routine of some politician or other routinely talking of the use of nuclear weapons and in all the possible scenarios as if it was akin to letting loose a firecracker during a festival. Even at the peak of the Cold War in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, the two major antagonists, the United States and the then Soviet Union, rarely threatened each other with nuclear weapons. This in spite of the fact that Washington and Moscow had come close to blows starting with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and over regional conflicts in East and South East Asia or in the Middle East.