May 19th, 2009
04:55 PM ET
11 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. independent newsjunkie, nj

    The real danger to the U.S.'s safety is all you boneheads out there looking for "the next enemy" and threatening other countries. If you go around spoiling for a fight, you're sure to find yourself in one before long. It's this kind of aggressiveness and arrogance that creates all the ill will toward America, you jingoistic scum!

    May 19, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter

    Larry wrote: The Democrats are more than carried away with "CHANGE",for some unknown reason things that have been working all along,now ,with their neighborhood leader,need to be screwed up,and everything needs to be put at risk,WHY ???

    Things that have been working all along? Classic. Funniest post of the week. Have a nice day!

    May 19, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Texan

    And if we dismantle all the nukes, where do we bury them? Let sleeping dogs lie..................

    May 19, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. 2young2vote-OR

    Great, but please get China involved. They are the biggest national threat to this country. They ARE building WMDs. In fact my granpa lives in a village near a nuclear materials factory. But to me everyone in the world seems to be ignoring this threat, and instead we send jobs there. Please stop their rise of power Mr. President. George Bush ignored them, maybe some sensible folk will pay attention.
    P.S. Where do u think N korea got their supplies?

    May 19, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. YBM

    Tulsa May 19th, 2009 5:32 pm ET

    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.
    Sorry Tulsa, you have it backward, losing you would increase the IQ of the nation.

    May 19, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. YBM

    The Broker. May 19th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

    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…
    You are correct, as it has been scientifically proven that genetically black people are less intelligent than white people. You increase the IQ of the black race by mixing in white genes.

    May 19, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Peter E

    We should know. We are the only country to date who has used nuclear weapons against civilians 'in order to save lives.' We don't seem to trust anyone else with that same justification... Democracies are sure so much more peaceful and stable than the 'rogue' states...

    May 19, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Brian - Seattle

    As someone who studies this issue specifically, I am very pleased with his steps today. Like most issues, you cannot really explain the complexity of such a problem, how to solve it, or address criticism in a comments section. However, from my knowledge on the subject, this is a much needed step in the right direction to ensure our security for the future.

    I encourage everyone to support the President in what he is trying to accomplish with regards to nuclear weapons.

    May 19, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If we are able to secure all the fissile material that can be made into weapons, then that is one less thing that we have to worry about. How can you go wrong with this kind of program. If we can use the material in fission reactors (reprocess it and use all of the reprocessed material), then we can do something useful with this stuff. Fission weapons are dangerous things. We all need to be aware of that.

    May 19, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Rob

    Yeah, Nuke em First !

    May 19, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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