Back in 2009, President Barack Obama supposedly kicked around the idea of apologizing to the nation of Japan for America dropping a couple of nukes on them back in World War II. Never heard about that? Don’t feel bad – there’s a reason why few people have, but thanks to Liz Cheney, we get to revisit this little episode again.
Liz Cheney and her father Dick Cheney appeared at the Reagan Presidential Library last Wednesday (September 9) to promote their new book Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America and discuss current political issues. Near the end of their discussion, Liz Cheney began discussing the “apology tour” President Obama took around the world soon after he took office, and reminded everyone of a little-known incident during the tour.
“He ended his apology tour….when he went to Japan. And before he got to Japan, the American ambassador sent a cable to Washington saying that the Japanese government had rejected the idea that President Obama travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and apologize for the nuclear bombs we dropped,” Cheney said. “Showing no recognition at all and no understanding at all of ending the war when we ended it and why that was the right thing to do.”
The revelation came via a leaked diplomatic cable from Wikileaks in 2009, and while few media outlets reported on it, the hosts of Fox and Friends speculated about the Obama Administration’s misguided foreign policy by suggesting such an action. The White House denied there was ever any plan, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy walked back their comments later. The story failed to find any legs in the mainstream media, which is why you likely never heard about it.
Although the media refused to report on the issue, Cheney is correct that the incident is an indictment of Obama’s foreign policy, even in those early days of his Presidency. At worst, the diplomatic cable does lend itself to the belief that Obama had every intention of extending his “apology tour” to Japan, just as the Fox and Friends hosts speculated. According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama had already apologized for past American policy in England, France, the Czech Republic, and Latin America. There’s no reason to believe that Obama wouldn’t take the opportunity to apologize for what liberals see as America’s ultimate act of imperialism, the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.
It is certainly within the realm of possibility to think Obama administration officials floated the idea to the Japanese ambassador, who shot the possibility down in no uncertain terms. Something certainly necessitated the Japanese ambassador to make such a strong insistence that it was covered in a diplomatic cable.
At best, let us assume President Obama had no intention at all to take advantage of the opportunity to make a strong anti-nuclear statement and continue his precedent of apologizing for America’s past policies and deeds. It’s a stretch, but let’s assume anyway. Under this scenario, that means the Japanese ambassador went out of his way to tell the Obama administration “don’t even think about apologizing when you come here.” Citing the fact that anti-nuclear activists in Japan would jump all over an apology, the ambassador called it a “non-starter.” Japan relies heavily on nuclear power to meet its growing power grid needs, and they thought Obama would make things worse for them.
Think about that. In just his first few months in office, the Japanese government had so little faith in our President that they had the (wait for it) audacity to tell our ambassador to warn Obama to not even consider the idea of apologizing over the nuclear bomb drop. Apparently, the Japanese government knew what so many American voters didn’t: that Barack Obama was not a leader who understood history or America’s place as a world superpower. And so they had to tell him not to mess things up diplomatically.
This scenario makes our President look even worse than if he actually had planned to apologize. By insisting he had no plans to apologize, the Obama administration is actually admitting that the Japanese government had no respect for Obama, and had to direct his actions like he was a junior diplomat.
Will Langan, who attended the Cheney lecture, was taken aback when Liz Cheney mentioned Obama’s Japan incident. “I think everyone’s jaw dropped when they heard this,” he said. “For years, Republicans have been joking about Obama apologizing for the atomic bomb, and now we know that he actually wanted to.”
Here is video of Liz Cheney’s comments about Obama. You can view the entire lecture on YouTube by clicking here.