Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘disarmament’

This looked like one rock concert! A huge flag-waving cheering crowd, some 25,000 or so, of Czech nationals in Prague yesterday. It hardly seemed the President of the United States was speaking, and that too on a grave threat facing the world — nuclear weapons. (It will take some time for us to shake off the hangover of George Bush!)

Watch this clipping of the full speech, that lasted half an hour, on BBC’s Youtube site here.

Read the full text of the Obama’s Prague speech on Huffington Post here.

It was a sterling performance by Obama; he went far beyond the political rhetoric that we are used to Not surprisingly, he was continuously cheered and interrupted by applause.

None of (the) challenges can be solved quickly or easily. But all of them demand that we listen to one another and work together; that we focus on our common interests, not on occasional differences; and that we reaffirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart. That is the work that we must carry on…. (applause) 

Barack Obama speaks at Hradcany Square near Prague Castle. AFP photo by Saul Loeb

Barack Obama speaks at Hradcany Square near Prague Castle. AFP photo by Saul Loeb

He has the amazing ability to connect to the people. That was seen in ample evidence during the 2008 campaign. And this Prague address didn’t look so much different either. (He used his famous campaign refrain Yes We Can.) — here a campaign to make the world safer, to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Barack and Michelle Obama wave to cheering crowd. Reuters photo by Leonhard Foeger

Barack and Michelle Obama wave to cheering crowd. Reuters photo by Leonhard Foeger

Obama at times sounds idealistic. He knows that…

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.)

Obama greets supporters. AP photo by Charles Dharapak

Obama greets supporters. AP photo by Charles Dharapak

India angle

There is a point that interests India. Obama made a mention of the CTBT and NPT — two highly contentious treaties. India has been under tremendous pressure to sign the CTBT and we famously held out when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister; pointing out the hypocrisy of the US policy. The US has signed it, but the Senate has not ratified it. This is one reason, why the American high moral ground lacks conviction. As a gen-next man, Obama knows it, and it’s commendable that he is going to get the Senate to ratify it.

To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. (Applause.) After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.

An American president for once was very clear in articulating what lies ahead when he said:

The basic bargain is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy.

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama leave Hradcany Square. Reuters photo by Jason Reed

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama leave Hradcany Square. Reuters photo by Jason Reed

When Obama said…

I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together. (Applause.)….

…. he was being candid and realistic; at the same time he was echoing the hope we all have in our hearts — hope for a better future.

Read Full Post »