By James Lewis
After years of leaving his nuclear weapons policy on the back burner, President Barack Obama called last month for major reductions in U.S. and Russian strategic stockpiles.
Obama made these remarks outside Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, nine days and 50 years after President John F. Kennedy’s American University speech, in which he called for the first round of arms talks with the Soviet Union and for the world to rethink nuclear weapons.
Before he spoke, Obama removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Maybe it was the 90-degree heat, or perhaps Obama wanted to signal that leaders across the political spectrum must work hard to reduce the threat of nuclear warfare.
Obama didn’t just echo JFK. He also triggered recollections of President Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” demand on the same spot outside the Brandenberg Gate in 1987.
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