President Barack Obama addressed a town hall meeting in Strasbourg, France on Friday as he marked the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Obama focused on rebuilding the relationship between Europe and America, noting the need for unity across the Atlantic as nations face terrorist and economic threats.
We find ourselves at a crossroads, Obama said. The same forces that have brought us closer together have also given rise to new dangers that threaten to tear our world apart.
The president said that he plans to lay out a plan in Prague over the weekend that will offer a goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
We cannot reduce the threat of a nuclear weapon going off unless those who possess the threat of a nuclear weapon.take drastic action to reduce stockpiles, Obama said in the question and answer portion of the town hall meeting. We want to pursue that vigorously . starting that process of reducing nuclear stockpiles.
Doing so will give nations more authority to tell Iran not to develop nuclear weapons and to have North Korea stop proliferating its nuclear program, Obama said.
In terms of the economic crisis, Obama noted that the U.S. certainly shares blame for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. However, he urged nations to work together moving forward.
Obama recognized the anti-American sentiment that has permeated Europe in recent years, acknowledging that America and Europe have allowed their alliance to drift.
I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, Obama said. But we also know that there has been something more that has crept into our policy.
Instead of celebrating your dynamic union.there have been times that Americans have shown arrogance and been dismissive, Obama recognized. But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious.
Instead of Europeans recognizing the good America does in the world, Obama noted that too often Europeans blame America for all the bad in the world.
These conflicts look to widen the divide across the Atlantic, Obama warned. However, he added that it is important to recognize that America needs Europe, just as much as Europe needs America.
America is changing. But it cannot be America alone that changes, Obama said. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination.
He called the Group of 20 Summit in London a success, noting, We are ushering a new era of responsibility.
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