Obama waves to invited guests Wednesday in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. (Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama proposed a one-third reduction in both American and Russian nuclear arms today, but any agreement would face long odds of approval by the Senate.
The proposal was the substantive centerpiece of the president’s symbolically resonant speech at Brandenburg Gate, which once divided East and West Germany. That’s where Obama drew a rapturous crowd as a candidate five years ago, where Ronald Reagan gave his “Tear down that wall” Cold War admonition a quarter-century ago, and where John F. Kennedy declared “Ich bin ein Berliner” half a century ago.
“We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama said.
It was not immediately clear, from either his text or materials released by the White House, whether the president is proposing negotiations on another Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or a less formalized way of getting the two sides “to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures,” as he said. Full story