May 19th, 2009
04:55 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: U.S. must play leading role in reducing nuclear threat

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama reiterated his call Tuesday for the United States to play a leading role in the fight against nuclear proliferation.

It is critical to "reduce and ultimately eliminate" the risk posed by nuclear weapons at a time when organizations like al Qaeda are seeking fissile material and countries like Iran are trying to acquire a nuclear capability, Obama said.

The president pledged to take "verifiable steps" on the issue, which he said had a long tradition of "bipartisan support" at key junctures in U.S. history.

Obama made his remarks at the end of an Oval Office meeting on U.S. non-proliferation policy with former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia.

Schultz, who served under President Reagan, told Obama that the issue is "really non-partisan."

Obama urged nations to get rid of nuclear weapons at a speech in Prague at the beginning of April. He called such arms "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" and said the U.S. is committed to reducing nuclear stocks within the next four years.

Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have announced that their countries will begin negotiations aimed at reducing their respective nuclear arsenals.

"One of the things I have always believed strongly is that both the United States and Russia and other nuclear powers will be in a much stronger position to strengthen what has become a somewhat fragile thread-bare nonproliferation treaty if we are leading by example and if we can take serious steps to reduce the nuclear arsenal," Obama said during an April 1 news conference.

Obama is slated to travel to Moscow in July.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Some Republican Guy

    Someone needs to tell the him that it's pronounced "Nookular." Sheesh, can't he get anything right? Have a nice day!

    May 19, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    Coddling terrorists. Playing footsie with Ahmadinejad. Hugging Castro & Chavez. Spending us into oblivion.

    Obama now wants to reduce our defenses?

    He is a greater danger to America's safety than Osama Bin Laden!!

    May 19, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz,VA

    A reduction in the U.S. and the Russian arsenal is where it needs to begin. If both countries began to decrease it's arsenal, they'll have a stronger case to make to those countries seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

    May 19, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. The Broker.

    New!!! When did America ever live in this Century? They are still trying to correct their own past. So they think by Electing a Black-man. America can move on. No! Sorry America. You just went back a hundred years. Better luck in your next idiocy...

    May 19, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. GWB

    Yes, I agree. Let's reduce "newkilla" threat once and for all.

    May 19, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Richard-Arkansas

    Obama Victim,

    Just how many times must we be able to blow up the world. We have enough weapons on just our side to wipe out a galaxy and the Russians do also. Nuclear weapopns would certainly work against non-state actors. Who do you want to wipe out-Iraq?, Iran?, Pakistan? Afganistan? Remember that the fall out has to go somewhere and winds blow west to east so who is to the eastof Pakistan, and Afganistan? That right, Hawaii and then the US. Aren't three-headed frogs enough? We poisoned the water so I guess it is time to re-dirty the air (and this time permanently).

    May 19, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Tulsa

    @Obama Victim May 19th, 2009 4:59 pm ET


    Riiiiggghhhtt...... we should continue the policies that got us where we are..... because THIS TIME they're going to work!
    You idiot.
    I'm waiting to hear what you, the obvious "smart guy" would do.... Nothing? Ramp up the military with items we don't need and make us less prepared to fight the wars of THIS century?
    Nothing? Figures.

    You are as dumb as most of your Republican brethren.

    May 19, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Idiot_Peolosi

    Le'ts see if OBUMMER does anything against IRAN. If he can talk them out of NUKES, I'll be very happy; however, I have my doubts, and I expect OBUMMER (The Con Artist) to be all talk and no action.

    May 19, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Bobbie in Maryland (Could I PLEASE get out of moderation???)

    @ Obama Victim:
    Coddling terrorists. Playing footsie with Ahmadinejad. Hugging Castro & Chavez. Spending us into oblivion

    Where do you GET these ideas??/ The President is acting in his capacity as a DIPLOMAT! (I know you must have forgotten what one looks like, as we haven't had one in...oh, 8 years!)
    I'm proud of our leader who doesn't think that every negative situation MUST end in WAR!!!
    Have a nice day!

    May 19, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Marc in Virginia

    Is this what the Biggest Celebrity in the World was discussing with James Bond? The sheep eat up anything this guy does.

    May 19, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. ib

    I suppose the King Obama wants the US to do away with our nukes saying it will make us safer. Dumb and only the far left wingnuts believe him.

    May 19, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. phoenix86

    Someone tell this idiot in the White House that the US reducing its nuclear arsenal does not reduce the nuclear threat.

    Unbelievable the ignorance of this guy!!!

    May 19, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Mississippi Mike

    No, no, no, no, no! Don't eliminate our nuclear missile arsenal. If you think that by laying down our arms our enemies will do the same you are an absolute fool. Our strong military is what keeps our enemies at bay. The only way to ensure peace is by being ready to go to war.

    May 19, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. David

    I think that the nuclear threat should not be underestimates, and it's good to see Obama taking the lead on this issue. I also think he should take leadership in addressing other global issues like severe poverty. The Borgen Project has good info on the estimated cost of ending global poverty:

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget.

    May 19, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Randolph Carter

    Morons, he's talking about reducing, not eliminating our nukes. Do we really need the capability to destroy all life on earth 10 times over? We can put the money saved towards weapons we are much more likely to use in 21st century wars. Yeah, an ICBM is really effective against a militant insurgency. Have a nice day!

    May 19, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Tulsa

    God, you people are IDIOTS.

    May 19, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. gary

    The biggest nuclear threats are Pakistan and Iran. We should buy Pakistan's arsenal (secretly) and we should help isreal bomb Irans arsenal (secretly) and that will eliminate half of the nuclear threat!

    May 19, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. J.P.

    Yes, and Obama will achieve this monumental feat by asking Iran "pretty pretty please, with a cherry on top."

    POTUS Fail.

    May 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Kelby In Houston, TX

    My fellow liberals,
    When you debate someone who is conservative, try not be funny or witty. Don't crack any jokes at any time, because you will lose them. Simply dismantle their argument and show them the error and why you feel the way you feel.
    Sarcasm and witt confuse conservatives. That's why they think liberals hate America

    May 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Tulsa

    How many times do we have to be able to destroy the world?Phoenix86, Mississippi Mike an the rest of you moronic Republican trash should take a long walk off a short pier and increase the IQ of our nation.

    May 19, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. But Obama is doing nothing....

    to stop Iran and N. Korea as they continue to develop their nuclear weapons programs....

    Iran and N. Korea now know that Obama is weak and given to speeches rather than action-so why should they fear him? It's obvious they ignore him--

    May 19, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. tom

    To Bobby in Md.

    "Diplomacy is the art of saying ...nice doggy...while looking for a rock."
    -Will Rodgers

    Can you tell me exactly WHERE it has worked?

    Ask Neville Chamberlain.

    May 19, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Our Commander in Chief...

    is being ignored by N. Korea and Iran-–why?--because they know he's a woos and will take no steps to stop them-we're in deep doo-doo.

    May 19, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. tom

    And for Kelby in Houston...

    "If not a liberal in your twenties, you have no heart. If still a liberal in your forties you lost your mind."

    Witty enough for you?

    May 19, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Neil

    We started this nuclear nonsense. We must take the lead in eliminating the threat. Not even Obama can snap his fingers and make it go away. It will take a sustained effort for many more years to achieve anything close to a true end to nuclear proliferation.

    May 19, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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