US State of the Union Address: Passing By a World without Nuclear Weapons?

U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union address, in which he addressed government policy for the next year. Surprisingly, only a small portion of time was allotted to diplomacy, with most of the speech focusing on inward-facing issues. What did stand out was the confrontational attitude toward China.

Biden called for non-partisan cooperation, declaring that “winning the competition with China should unite all of us.” There was deepened backlash about a balloon floating above the U.S. which appeared to be used for espionage, but no plans for an easing of tensions.

As a country facing China and separated from it by the ocean, we cannot help but be concerned.

Biden, who has returned to public office at 80 years old, enumerated achievements of the past two years, such as the creation of new jobs and the foundation of a semiconductor investment law with China in mind. The 2024 presidential election is certainly in Biden’s line of sight.

But his remaining two years will be full of difficulties. In the last midterm elections, the Democratic Party lost its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and cooperation with the opposing Republicans, who have a hardline approach to China, is indispensable. This factor is likely part of the reason for the stance toward China. However, allies may view protectionist speech as a “country first” approach.

U.S.-China antagonism continues to intensify, in a combination of military, economic and high-tech power struggles. Biden, who views China as “the only competitor,” is confident about victory over that nation and emphasized cooperation with ally nations, including Japan, to establish an advantage.

Biden is lending U.S. might to support Ukraine against the invading Russia. He clearly wants Japan to take a role in the Taiwan crisis but did not allude to that during the speech.

Besides working together, at the end of last year, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision on three national security documents, which centered on strengthening Japan’s ability to attack enemy bases (counterattack ability). Early in the year, a U.S.-Japan joint declaration issued during a leadership summit stated that “Our security Alliance has never been stronger,” but it cannot be denied that this strengthened relationship is the converse of the deteriorated relationship between the U.S. and China.

If Japan is completely integrated into U.S. strategy, it will lose its unique diplomatic position. How should it confront China, a large neighboring country with which it has an economic relationship? There can be no flourishing in a world without U.S.-China stability. A long-term strategy that prioritizes dialogue is necessary.

As an atomic bombing site, we paid attention for mention of nuclear policy, but there was none. Merely inheriting former U.S. President Barack Obama’s ideal of “a world without nuclear weapons” is not sufficient.

Biden stated that “the sole purpose of our nuclear arsenal should be to deter — and, if necessary, retaliate against — a nuclear attack” but switched policy positions in the face of Russia’s repeated nuclear menace. Last year’s nuclear policy guidelines, called the Nuclear Posture Review, emphasized that “Strategic deterrence remains a top priority mission” for the U.S. and laid out a double standard, stating that it is a justifiable responsibility for the U.S. to provide a “nuclear umbrella” to allies. In the past two years, there have been no concrete gains toward nuclear disarmament, but large sums of money have been allocated toward modernizing nuclear weapons.

In May, at the G-7 Hiroshima Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is prepared to bring the attending countries into a discussion about totally abolishing nuclear weapons. During a U.S.-Japan leadership summit, Kishida pledged his hope that “mankind will never again face a tragedy created by nuclear weapons,” and Biden seemingly endorsed Kishida’s message. Was this not because they both understand that total nuclear disarmament is the key to saving mankind and the road to establishing worldwide stability?

It is not too late now. Biden, as a leader who supports democracy, must take steps toward the total abolishment of nuclear weapons.

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About Dorothy Phoenix 104 Articles
Dorothy is an independent video game developer, software engineer, technical writer, and tutor, with experience teaching students how to program and make games. In addition to programming and video games, Dorothy also enjoys studying Japanese language and culture. One of her goals is to exhibit a game at the Tokyo Game Show someday.

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