Lessons to Learn – Nagasaki 75 Years Later – Right vs. Might

by on August 10, 2020 · 0 comments

in History, War and Peace

Author and Liquid Blue band members visit the Nagasaki Memorial in 2005.

By Scott Stephens

Sunday, August 9 marked the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, which instantly wiped out 80,000 innocent civilians. We can debate whether or not this decision was warranted. However, most scholars feel the Nagasaki drop was unnecessary as Japan was close to surrendering following the bombing of Hiroshima and the Soviet Union joining the allies. But our debates won’t change history, and, likely, these disagreements may never be resolved.

But I think there is something we can all agree on: we should avoid war and look to diplomatic solutions whenever possible.

In a civilized world, victory shouldn’t be reserved just for the most powerful nations. Those of us who have lived most of our lives in the world’s most powerful, dominant country have grown accustomed to the chant of “let’s just bomb the shit out of them,” referring to whoever is our enemy at the time. But less powerful nations don’t have that luxury. The straightforward premise that right over wrong should carry more weight than who has the biggest bombs is hard to argue with.

But who determines the morality of a given dispute?

What happens when discussions are fruitless, and tensions escalate? Third parties should be welcomed to the table, the same way we bring in an impartial jury to decide a case. The United Nations Security Council was created for this purpose and has negotiated countless peace agreements in instances in which war seemed inevitable.

No system is flawless, and the world’s more powerful nations (currently the USA, China, and Russia) will undoubtedly disagree unless the terms are precisely what they desire. These powerful nations typically ignore outside opinions and want to make their own rules. Real justice is rarely considered, and with the influence of the military-industrial complex (those that profit from war), it’s an uphill battle to bring parties to the table. There are so many who benefit from armed conflict. The rich amass more wealth, and the poor are slaughtered in these conflicts.

The bombing of Nagasaki may be the most egregious act of war in the last century. Let is serve as a reminder that we need to strengthen international bodies whose goals are to avert conflict.

Scott Stephens is the bestselling author of Rolling Thunder: The Golden Age of Roller Derby & the Rise and Fall of the L.A. T-Birds and a longtime peace activist. He splits his time between Ocean Beach and Costa Rica.

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