President Obama Visits Germany

President Obama Visits Germany
June 20 18:11 2013 Print This Article

U.S. President Barack Obama made a visit to Germany after the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

During a speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, he set out his vision for advancing toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Obama said he will seek to reduce deployed nuclear weapons by up to a third and renew talks with Russia to “move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.” He said the cuts in nuclear weapons can be made while at the same time ensuring the security of the U.S. and its allies, and also maintaining “a strong and credible strategic deterrent.”

The proposal would mean the United States and Russia would cut their number of strategic nuclear warheads by up to one third below the level they agreed to in the New START Treaty. That agreement, signed in 2010, calls for the two countries to reduce their arsenal to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads by 2018. Shortly before Obama delivered his speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying his government would not permit “disturbances to the system of strategic deterrence or a decrease in the effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear forces.”

Obama returned repeatedly throughout the speech to the theme of “peace with justice,” praising the free enterprise system as opposed to the kind of “top down” economic planning pursued by the Communist government of the former East Germany. He warned Western countries not to “turn inward” or become “complacent” after having won the Cold War, and said they must meet a number of challenges, including global warming, poverty and the spread of AIDS. He also said he would redouble his efforts to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Brandenburg Gate was the site of two notable addresses by former U.S. leaders. In 1963, president John F. Kennedy declared himself a citizen of a divided Berlin in his speech, and in 1987, president Ronald Reagan demanded that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall.

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