Obama slow to answer fellow Nobel laureates’ call for disarmament

FOR NEARLY three decades I worked closely with the atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima, whose clear message is that nuclear weapons and humans cannot coexist, and with the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I also participated in last November’s Nobel Peace laureates meeting in Hiroshima. Sorry to say, Peter S. Canellos should have dug deeper in his Oct. 22 op-ed “Avoiding Hiroshima: Obama could send a vivid message about proliferation with one visit.’’

Outside the United States there is near universal recognition that proliferation of nuclear weapons is driven by the double standard of the nuclear powers insisting that they can possess and threaten use of these weapons while others cannot. There is also near universal recognition that, to prevent proliferation, the nuclear powers must fulfill their commitment to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and negotiate the complete elimination of these omnicidal weapons. This was reaffirmed by the Nobel laureates in Hiroshima.

Canellos should have read the declaration of the Nobel laureates’ summit, which President Obama declined to attend. Obama agreed to Republicans’ demands to increase spending for nuclear war preparations by $85 billion over the next decade. As the Super Committee deliberates massive budget cuts, Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey has wisely urged beginning by cutting $200 billion for nuclear weapons over 10 years. That would be an important step in honoring the message and spirit of Hiroshima.

Joseph Gerson

Cambridge