In his own clumsily chosen words Donald Trump delivered an ultimatum to North Korea: “you will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen”. Given that the world saw “fire and fury” unleashed on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US military over 70 years ago – think about that – on a previously inconceivable scale, we should be more than apprehensive.
Not only was the US prepared to drop those two relatively small nuclear bombs, causing more destruction of life and property than in any single man-made inferno before or since, but its motivation was political rather than military – allegedly as a show of force and warning to Russia, as Japan had already conceded defeat.
The saying goes that those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat the same mistakes. We could adapt this to note that those who are not caught and punished for their crimes are also destined to repeat them. America’s crime against humanity, committed on a sunny summer’s morning in 1945 has never been punished, nor even recognised as a true atrocity for which there was no moral or even military justification.