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President Obama's Speech at the Brandenburg Gate, June 2013

Speaker: Barack Obama
Published June 19, 2013

President Barack Obama gave these remarks in Berlin on June 19, 2013. He discussed a wide-range of foreign policy topics in relation to "peace with justice," including reduction in nuclear weapons, cooperation on climate change, and strategies to combat security threats.

Excerpt from his remarks:

"Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons -- no matter how distant that dream may be. And so, as President, I've strengthened our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and reduced the number and role of America's nuclear weapons. Because of the New START Treaty, we're on track to cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s. (Applause.)

But we have more work to do. So today, I'm announcing additional steps forward. After a comprehensive review, I've determined that 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. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures. (Applause.)

At the same time, we'll work with our NATO allies to seek bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe. And we can forge a new international framework for peaceful nuclear power, and reject the nuclear weaponization that North Korea and Iran may be seeking.

America will host a summit in 2016 to continue our efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world, and we will work to build support in the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and call on all nations to begin negotiations on a treaty that ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. These are steps we can take to create a world of peace with justice. (Applause.)

Peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet. The effort to slow climate change requires bold action. And on this, Germany and Europe have led.

In the United States, we have recently doubled our renewable energy from clean sources like wind and solar power. We're doubling fuel efficiency on our cars. Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down. But we know we have to do more -- and we will do more. (Applause.)

With a global middle class consuming more energy every day, this must now be an effort of all nations, not just some. For the grim alternative affects all nations -- more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise. This is the future we must avert. This is the global threat of our time. And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work. (Applause.)

Peace with justice means meeting our moral obligations. And we have a moral obligation and a profound interest in helping lift the impoverished corners of the world. By promoting growth so we spare a child born today a lifetime of extreme poverty. By investing in agriculture, so we aren't just sending food, but also teaching farmers to grow food. By strengthening public health, so we're not just sending medicine, but training doctors and nurses who will help end the outrage of children dying from preventable diseases. Making sure that we do everything we can to realize the promise -- an achievable promise -- of the first AIDS-free generation. That is something that is possible if we feel a sufficient sense of urgency. (Applause.)

Our efforts have to be about more than just charity. They're about new models of empowering people -- to build institutions; to abandon the rot of corruption; to create ties of trade, not just aid, both with the West and among the nations they're seeking to rise and increase their capacity. Because when they succeed, we will be more successful as well. Our fates are linked, and we cannot ignore those who are yearning not only for freedom but also prosperity.

And finally, let's remember that peace with justice depends on our ability to sustain both the security of our societies and the openness that defines them. Threats to freedom don't merely come from the outside. They can emerge from within -- from our own fears, from the disengagement of our citizens.

For over a decade, America has been at war. Yet much has now changed over the five years since I last spoke here in Berlin. The Iraq war is now over. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Osama bin Laden is no more. Our efforts against al Qaeda are evolving.

And given these changes, last month, I spoke about America's efforts against terrorism. And I drew inspiration from one of our founding fathers, James Madison, who wrote, "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." James Madison is right -- which is why, even as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond a mindset of perpetual war. And in America, that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo. (Applause.) It means tightly controlling our use of new technologies like drones. It means balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of privacy. (Applause.)

And I'm confident that that balance can be struck. I'm confident of that, and I'm confident that working with Germany, we can keep each other safe while at the same time maintaining those essential values for which we fought for."

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