In a wide-ranging foreign policy speech in Berlin – his first in Germany as US President – Barack Obama has pledged to negotiate more nuclear weapons cuts with Russia. This was at the Brandenburg Gate, symbol of East-West division and reunification.
“So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe, so today I’m announcing additional steps forward, after a comprehensive review I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one third.”
Obama also spoke of the “sanctity of free will”. He said: “Today, 60 years after they rose up against oppression, we remember those East German heroes of June 17, . When the Wall finally came down, it was their dreams that were fulfilled, their strengths and their passion. Their enduring example reminds us that, for all the power of militaries, for all the authority of governments, it is citizens who choose whether to be defined by a wall or whether to tear it down.”
On a theme of ‘peace with justice’, Obama quoted the famous words of solidarity President Kennedy spoke in 1963: “‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ echoes through the ages.
“We can not dictate the pace of change in places like the Arab world, but we must reject the excuse that we can do nothing to support it. In this century, these are the citizens who long to join the free world. They are who you were. They deserve our support, for they too, in their own way, are citizens of Berlin.
“The Wall belongs to history, but we have history to make as well, to care for the young people who can’t find a job in their own countries and the girls who are not allowed to go school overseas, to be vigilant in safeguarding our own freedom but also to extend the hand to those who are reaching for freedom abroad. This is the Spirit of Berlin.”