Speaking at Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday, President Obama called for a reduction in the nuclear arsenals, by as much as a third, during his wide-ranging remarks touching on current global concerns, history, and “peace with justice.” The U.S. intends to work with Russia to move past “Cold War nuclear postures,” he told the crowd.
“We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama asserted. “After a comprehensive review, I have determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies and maintain a strong and credibility strategic deterrent while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.”
In doing so, the president also said he would work with NATO for “bold reductions” in Europe as well. The president said the Defense Department will be instructed to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks — and that he will hold a summit in 2016 to address the issue.
The new START treaty calls for the U.S. and Russia to cut their arsenals to 1,550 by 2018. Obama proposed bring that number to about 1,000.
The president’s speech also included a nod to history — “while I am not the first American president to come to this gate, I am proud to stand on its eastern side to pay tribute to its past” — and recalled President John F. Kennedy‘s famous speech that took place there.
Affirming the U.S.-Germany relationship, Obama spoke of pursuing “peace with justice” for “all mankind.”
“Peace with justice means pursuing a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how distant that dream may be,” he said.
Watch the full speech below, via C-SPAN:
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