19 Jun 2013

Obama calls for reduced nuclear weapon capabilities

Summary: US President Barack Obama has used his public speech in Berlin today (19 June) to propose cuts of one-third in American and Russian nuclear arsenals, in order to set an example and encourage similar cuts across all nations.

Mr Obama’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin displays a renewed focus on the nuclear disarmament policies he first outlined in his initial Presidential campaign. He called to alter the terms of the New Start treaty signed in 2010, which states that the United States and Russia can only hold up to 15,550 warheads, reducing this figure to 1000.

The speech is also an attempt to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, with specific pressure on Iran and North Korea.

President Obama said to the crowd: “So long as nuclear weapons exist we are not truly safe.

“Our own freedoms may be in danger.”

His speech called for moves to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in American policy; and to bring levels of nuclear weapons to the lowest levels since the 1950s.

In addition, he said he would seek negotiated cuts with Russia to bring about what he called ‘bold reductions in tactical weapons’, a move which Russia has previously resisted, and promised a summit in 2016 to discuss moves to cut nuclear fission production across all nations.