I grew up in the long shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis (you youngsters can go look it up). I have never quite shaken the feeling that, somehow or other, the world was due to end in nuclear fire. This is the reason that I am such a fervent supporter of our Nuclear Free policy, and why, whatever his and their many other faults, I have always had a special admiration for David Lange and his government.
I put it to you that there are developing parallels between Lange and Obama. Both charismatic leaders, both gifted orators, both men of essentially decent instincts. Both I think swept up by economic agendas that they didn’t fully understand and never controlled, Lange with the neoliberal reforms of the 80’s, Obama with the way his response to the economic crisis has been captured and dictated by the very bankers that created it.
And both, it seems, opposed to nuclear weapons:
Barack Obama put flesh on the bones of his utopian vision for ridding the world of nuclear weapons today, speaking hours after North Korea launched a long-range rocket.
In the first big foreign policy speech of his presidency, Obama told a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in morning sunshine in Prague that America, as the sole country ever to fire a nuclear weapon in anger, bore the moral responsibility for launching a new era of nuclear disarmament aimed at eliminating nuclear stockpiles.
His presidency, Obama declared, would see “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”.