The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

President Barack Obama called for a major reduction of the United States’ nuclear arsenal during a Wednesday speech at the famed Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

“So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama told the crowd of 5,000 invited guests.

“We can ensure the security of America and our allies and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one third,” he said. The president added that he also plans to push for negotiated cuts with Russia, in an effort to “move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.”

The U.S. and Russia have already pledged to reduce their number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half, under the terms of the New START treaty, which was signed by President Obama and then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

Speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, which became a symbol of division during the Cold War, the president repeatedly alluded to Berlin’s divided history.

“This square itself, once a desolate no-man’s land, now it is open to all,” Obama said. “So 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.”

“Because courageous crowds climbed atop that wall,” the president said, “because millions across this continent now breathe the fresh air of freedom, we can say here in Berlin, here in Europe: Our values won — openness won, tolerance won, and freedom won.”

The speech was the second major address in Germany of Obama’s career. During his 2008 presidential campaign, some 200,000 Germans came to see then-Senator Obama deliver a major foreign policy address. Although Wednesday’s crowd was significantly smaller, Obama is still very well-liked in German; according to a new Pew poll, 88 percent of Germans say they have confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs.

A portion of President Obama’s speech is below; the full speech can be viewed here.

AP Photo/Michael Kappeler,Pool


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Devin Nunes

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California is retiring from Congress at the end of 2021 to work for former President Donald Trump.

Keep reading... Show less

From left Ethan Crumbley and his parents Jennifer and James Crumbley

Mug shot photos from Oakland County via Dallas Express

After the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, then-Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, evaded calls for banning weapons of war. But he had other ideas. The "more realistic discussion," Rogers said, is "how do we target people with mental illness who use firearms?"

Tightening the gun laws would seem a lot easier and less intrusive than psychoanalyzing everyone with access to a weapon. But to address Rogers' point following the recent mass murder at a suburban Detroit high school, the question might be, "How do we with target the adults who hand powerful firearms to children with mental illness?"

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}