US President Barack Obama has been seen making a lot of soft gestures during his trip to Hiroshima which the Americans had nuked in 1945. It is being debated whether Obama's latest trip to Asia---in Vietnam and Japan---is an 'apology tour'.
The soft gesture has a hard message in it
Whether Obama, who is nearing the end of his presidential tenure, has genuinely spoken on Hiroshima or not is something only he can tell. But there is no doubt that behind all the soft posturing, there is a hard foreign policy goal and it is about containing China in Asia---something the Obama Administration has vigorously aimed for.
It makes little sense in apologising for something which had happened under different circumstances
Apology makes little sense in the realm of international politics since decisions there are taken in response to the situation in hand. Sources in the White House said the US president does appreciate the fact that Harry S Truman, who was the US president when Hisroshima and Nagasaki were nuked, made the decision for the right reasons. Even surveys have shown a majority of Americans favouring the use of nuclear weapons against Japan.
This statement clears all doubts. A peace-time apology for a war-time crime makes little sense. No government ever has a business in rectifying the past mistakes rulers live in the present.
Obama's humanitarian gesture is inspired by the motivation to corner the Chinese by reaching out to its regional rivals like Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Obama has reached out to Philippines, Japan, Vietnam---all to stop China
In November last year, Obama said during his visit to the Philippines that the US would hand over two ships to that country to boost its maritime defence capabilitues. The inner message was clear: The US is never going to be cowed down by China near the latter's territory.
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The US has also lifted embargo on the sale of weapons to Vietnam, another country where it had committed atrocities during the Cold War, making clear its intention to form a regional balance of power against Beijing. The US president has shown a hurry in pushing the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal despite opposition from many Democrats.
Obama also worked on boosting relation with India
Obama also saw the US making all efforts to boost its relation with India as another strategy to counter China. He became the first US president to be present at the Republic Day ceremony in India last year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited him as his own move to flex the diplomatic muscle vis-a-vis China and Pakistan.
Eyeing 2 aims in one move
Through his sympathetic words and gestures, Obama is eyeing to kill two birds with one stone. One, as has been said above, he is making his last major effort to prevent China's military and economic rise and secondly, he is trying to make up for all the disappointments that his stint in the White House saw by going down in history with a lasting legacy (he also became the first US president to visit Cuba in almost nine decades when he set his foot there in March) of peace.