Appealing for a new citizen activism in the free world, President Barack Obama renewed his call Wednesday to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles and to confront climate change, a danger he called "the global threat of our time."
In a wide-ranging speech that enumerated a litany of challenges facing the world, Obama said he wanted to reignite the spirit that Berlin displayed when it fought to reunite itself during the Cold War.
"Today's threats are not as stark as they were half a century ago, but the struggle for freedom and security and human dignity, that struggle goes on," Obama said at the city's historic Brandenburg Gate under a bright, hot sun. "And I come here to this city of hope because the test of our time demands the same fighting spirit that defined Berlin a half-century ago."
The president called for a one-third reduction of U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles, saying it is possible to ensure American security and a strong deterrent while also limiting nuclear weapons
Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, is a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament and has long called for the removal of the last U.S. nuclear weapons from German territory, a legacy of the Cold War. The Buechel Air Base in western Germany is one of a few remaining sites in Europe where they are based.
Under an agreement drawn up when they formed a coalition government in 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Westerwelle's Free Democratic Party agreed to press NATO and Washington for the nuclear weapons to be withdrawn, but did not set any timeframe.
Nuclear stockpile numbers are closely guarded secrets in most nations that possess them, but private nuclear policy experts say no countries other than the U.S. and Russia are thought to have more than 300. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that France has about 300, China about 240, Britain about 225, and Israel, India and Pakistan roughly 100 each.....snip~
Obama renews calls for nuclear reductions
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