On nuclear arms:
TOKYO — On Monday, Hiroshima [observed] the 62nd anniversary of the day it was devastated by an atomic bomb. Nagasaki [marked its anniversary] on Thursday.
The two cities have held a memorial service on these days every year to remind future generations of the tragedy and to appeal for the eradication of nuclear weapons, the use of which is carried out without regard to the laws of humanity. Despite the earnest appeals of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is still beset by nuclear fears.
North Korea, which defied international calls for restraint and conducted a nuclear test in October, undoubtedly poses the biggest threat to Japan. ...
Suspicions also have increased over Iran's nuclear development. ...
There is a strong view in the United States, on the other hand, that says the atomic bombings were necessary to bring an early end to World War II, averting a potential U.S. invasion of Japan's main islands and thereby saving the lives of many U.S. soldiers.
Although the United States was well aware that Japan had virtually lost its capability of continuing fighting the war, Washington used the horrific nuclear weapons without prior warning. ...
Last month, Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to demand the United States apologize for the atomic bombings.
However, Mr. Abe responded, "It's also true that Japan needs the [U.S.] nuclear deterrent" to counter North Korea's nuclear threat.
The dropping of the atomic bombs can never be justified. On the other hand, the nation has no option but to depend on the U.S. nuclear deterrent for our national security.
On al Qaeda threat:
NEW DELHI — New Delhi has rightly chosen to downplay the reported al Qaeda threat "to strike against Indian interests," with both the Home Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs reacting cautiously to it. In a video posted on a Web site, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American al Qaeda member, was quoted as accusing India of "killing more than 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir with U.S. blessing" and declaring that all Indian and American diplomatic missions are "legitimate targets." Considering that surprise is invariably the key element of any terrorist attack, such specific warnings need to be taken with that proverbial pinch of salt. And with the Independence Day celebrations just round the corner, security agencies would in any case be on their toes.
But having said that, the government cannot afford to take such threats too lightly either. For one, this is the first time al Qaeda has advertised that it has India squarely in its sights.
On Brown-Bush meeting:
LONDON — Gordon Brown's standoffish demeanor at his joint press conference with George W. Bush at Camp David last week was put down by many to a novice's nerves. ...
In fact, Mr. Brown's coolness had nothing to do with inexperience. It was calculated. He was intent on establishing a more arm's-length relationship with a man for whom he has scant regard and whom he views, understandably enough, as a political lame duck.
The first tangible outcome of this change of posture emerged yesterday with the government's formal request for the release of five British residents from the American detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. ... In reality, it is a highly symbolic political gesture designed to show the Brown government's distaste for Guantanamo. The five are not British citizens, and there is no obligation for us to take them. ...
Doubtless, Mr. Brown thinks it is good politics to nail the "Bush's poodle" gibe at the outset of his premiership. Yet our alliance with America remains the cornerstone of our foreign policy. It has served this country well — but such relationships are fragile things, with which we play politics at our peril. Mr. Brown should tread carefully.