More and more people are concerned about the possible end of the world as we know it, posed by climate change. But humanity also continues to face a long-standing threat – that of nuclear war. August 6 marks the 74th anniversary of the U.S, dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and three days later another on Nagasaki. This began the nuclear age, where human action could totally destroy both ourselves and our natural environment.
With the dropping of those two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, the U.S. ruling class proved it was willing to slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent people to assure its global dominance over foreign competitors.
Between 1890 and 1941, Japan was a rapidly industrializing capitalist state, engaged in imperialist expansion throughout East Asia and the southern Pacific. This put Japan on a collision course with the U.S., which had violently conquered the Philippines, seizing the islands between 1899 and 1902. This was an attempt to dominate the Chinese economy.
These rival imperialist powers collided, first in Pearl Harbor in 1941, bringing War II into the Pacific. Then the U.S. finished off its global competitor with the dropping of the two nuclear bombs, killing approximately 200,000 Japanese civilians immediately and tens of thousands from radiation poisoning and other effects years later. The bombs were dropped as a test to see what the effects would be, and also to intimidate the Soviet Union and the peoples of Asia from resisting U.S. imperialism! (And it was a Democratic president who ordered the use of those bombs!)
If the U.S. ruling class was willing to develop and use weapons of mass destruction once, is it any wonder that they continued to build up huge stockpiles of even more powerful nuclear weapons in the following decades? Today they continue to do this, developing a new generation of advanced bombs.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the threat of nuclear war has been downplayed by the governments of the world and in the media. But as the Trump administration continues to push ever more warlike policies toward North Korea or Iran, the threat of new nuclear conflict has reared its ugly head. It’s not just Trump. All the past administrations thought it was worth it to maintain these nuclear weapons. Should we be surprised that the U.S. rulers could consider using them again?
The forces of capitalist competition pushed the US. and Japan towards war and then led to a costly and extremely dangerous arms race and a Cold War filled with close calls of possible nuclear war. These same forces of capitalism are leading the earth to the brink of environmental catastrophe.
The ongoing threats of both nuclear war and human-caused climate change show clearly the willingness of the U.S. ruling class to threaten humanity and the natural world in their global pursuit of profits. As long as we continue to allow a ruling class to exist that puts profit before all else, we can not only expect future environmental catastrophe, we also can’t rule out the possibility of nuclear war.
We can’t allow a world run by the wealthy one percent, to gamble with our lives, and with all life on the planet. We must fight to eliminate this system of greed and push those in power aside. Our lives and the future of humanity is at stake.Download PDF