Obama Speech Calls For A Reduction In Global Nuclear Arsenals And Outlines A New Nuclear Defense Strategy

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  • Obama Brandenburg 19June2013
    U.S. President Barack Obama waves after speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany June 19, 2013. With Obama is German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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    Barack Obama
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President Barack Obama gave a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Wednesday in which he outlined his vision for lasting global peace and a reduction in the world's nuclear arsenals.

Prior to the speech, the president renewed previous calls for the U.S to reduce its nuclear arsenal by a third, and he said he will instruct the Defense Department to change the role nuclear warheads play in U.S. defense strategy.

“We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama said in his speech."The U.S. will look to Russia to match its plan and to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures,” he said.

The White House released an outline of the president’s new guidance on U.S. nuclear posture for the Pentagon, state department, energy department and intelligence agencies. In his speech, Obama called for maintaining a credible deterrent, strengthening non-nuclear military capabilities, and reducing the number and role of nuclear weapons in the U.S.' security strategy.

In 2016, the U.S will host a summit to address the flow of nuclear weapons and material. Obama said he hopes the U.S. will ratify a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty and a treaty to end the manufacture of fissile nuclear weapons.

The historic announcement was made on the east side of the Brandenburg Gate as a crowd of 6,000, with the speech echoing John F. Kennedy’s famous speech at the same location almost exactly 50 years ago.

“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,” Obama said.

Obama also spoke about the ongoing problems in Afghanistan and Burma, and he reiterated his call for the Guantanamo Bay prison facility to be closed. 

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