For John, BLUF: This is a dumb idea. Nothing to see here; just move along.
"Non-proliferation crusader Obama ponders a visit to nuclear ground zero: Hiroshima".
The reporter is Mr David Nakamura and the paper is The Washington Post. Here is the lede:
HIROSHIMA, Japan — For nearly 71 years, the consequences of the world’s first atomic bombing have remained close to the surface here.This visit by the President to Hiroshima seems like a good idea. Nuclear weapons are a terrible thing. Even a "small" nuclear exchange, say between Pakistan and India or Iran and Israel, would result in millions of deaths, and, perhaps a nuclear winter.♠ So, the President going to Hiroshima and acknowledging the devastation (and perhaps apologizing♥) might be a good step in the direction of nuclear disarmament.
However, there are the second and third order consequences. Most things have a knock on effect. For example, this action could tear apart relations between Korea and Japan, as the Koreans demand similar formal visits by Japanese officials to like sites in Korea, where the Japanese did horrible things. It could cause some in these United States to demand that the Japanese Prime Minister (or even the Emperor) make a formal visit to Pearl Harbor, to apologize for starting the whole thing.♦ And, it might alienate our Asian allies, who think the Japanese got what they deserved. And, it will make Beijing happy, as they continue to agitate the Japanese and a bunch of Southeast Asian nations over international waters and who owns what.♣
Regards — Cliff
♠ A recent conference I attended at MIT had folks who claimed that even a 100 weapon laydown could create a devastating nuclear winter (forget global warning).
♥ The odds of it not being an apology are pretty slim, assuming the trip is on.
♦ Should we expect the relatives of Mr Harry Dexter White to travel to Hawaii to apologize to the Japanese PM?
♣ The standard rule is to not get in the way while your enemies are tearing themselves apart.