News / Europe

In Berlin Speech, Obama Calls for Nuclear Reductions

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama set forth his vision for advancing toward a world free of nuclear weapons in a speech Wednesday at the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

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.

U.S. warheads, strategic and nonstrategicU.S. warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
x
U.S. warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
U.S. warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
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.

Russia warheads, strategic and nonstrategicRussia warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
x
Russia warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
Russia warheads, strategic and nonstrategic
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.

Before the address, Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks that covered, among other things, U.S. Internet surveillance.  

Video report by Kent Klein


Merkel said that while "enemies and opponents" can use the Internet to threaten democracy, she had stressed to the U.S. president that there should be "balance and proportionality" between the need to monitor threats and to preserve a "liberal order."

Obama called the U.S. Internet surveillance program "circumscribed" and "narrow," insisting that U.S. intelligence agencies are not "rifling through ordinary emails" of "German citizens or American citizens or anyone else," and that the Internet and telephone surveillance programs are under federal court supervision.

He said his administration has struck "the appropriate balance" between protecting the American people and preserving "civil liberty and privacy." He also reiterated that the surveillance programs have "saved lives."

This is Obama's first visit to Germany as president. He came to Berlin in 2008 as a presidential candidate, but was denied permission to make a speech at the Brandenburg Gate.

  • Flanked by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, U.S. President Barack Obama  waves at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin June 19, 2013.
  • A woman holds up a sign as she watches U.S. President Barack Obama at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 19, 2013.
  • Invited guests wait for U.S. President Barack Obama's speech front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013.
  • Invited guests are entertained by violinist David Garrett as they await the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin June 19, 2013.
  • Protesters display a cut out figure of U.S. President Barack Obama in front of a replicate piece of the former Berlin Wall reading "Mr Obama tear down Wall Street" in Berlin, June 19, 2013.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jack from: prc
June 22, 2013 4:29 AM
human being'ultimate goal is destory nuclear weapons,at present cancel 50% is best!

by: Igor from: Russia
June 20, 2013 1:40 AM
Obama speech is non-sense! To get rid of nuclear weapons, all owners of them (including the US, the UK, France, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, Russia...) must sit down together and commit to eliminate their nuclear weapons by a specific point of time. So the world would be a much safer place and other nations such as Iran or North Korea would have no need for such weapons. Countries like Israel has never allowed any international inspector to inspect their nuclear weapons, let alone other countries. Only Russia and the USA negotiate to reduce the number of their warheads but how about others (France, the UK, Israel...)???

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 19, 2013 11:13 PM
President Obama is an excellent orator. But oratory will not redeem him. Since he got the Nobel Peace Prize before he did anything, he makes peace and disarmament announcements at various occasions to justify his Peace Prize. But real justification for a peace price is based on actions and accomplishments and not by speeches outside the US.

by: Saliheen from: Port Harcourt
June 19, 2013 4:56 PM
Only the US and her allies (Israel, UK, etc), can give us the long awaited peace and prosperity in this. Not until they can start minding their business on international matters and be contented with the much they has stolen and rubbed other nations of.
You guys are threat the same global peace you preaches.

by: Phil
June 19, 2013 2:35 PM
A very predictable stance and speech by the guy who didn't deserve the nobel prize. All that bla bla about the nuclear reduction etc. doesn't make sense if there is no application and action on what u speak.. you my president are a hypocrite. We are bored and see through all the speeches. Where is the action on the ground ? Sounds like the American Presidency is powerless and nothing more than a mascot.

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
June 19, 2013 2:03 PM
President Obama is a super spy boss who wants to know what his subjects -- subjects -- are doing or not doing, to keep wealth in the hands of the 1% he answers to. PRISM helps do that.

As for reducing the world's nuclear arsenal, I suspect he politely ignored the dozens of nuclear weapons Israel has targeted against its enemies, and no doubt only offered lip service, if at all, about A-bombs built by and stocked in China, India, Pakistan, Britain, France.

by: Michael from: USA
June 19, 2013 8:25 AM
The historic Brandenberg Gate speech by Kennedy showed the world how the whole story is told, answers the "why" of military arms to deter only, showed what we did not need, and explained why.

The only missing part was the "big norm" needed to act as a standard, the Christian Gospel of Jesus [2 B.C.- 31 A.D. Jersusalem]

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs