Re-elected, Obama Reaffirms His Vision (Video)
On Monday, December 3, I was honored to be part of a select audience for President Obama's first national security speech since his reelection. That night, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rachel Maddow to talk about the President’s speech.
Just as the President had used his first foreign policy speech after becoming president in 2009 to talk about the elimination of nuclear weapons, he used this speech to reaffirm his personal commitment to this goal and its critical importance to American national security.
The President addressed his nuclear security team assembled at the National Defense University to commemorate the twenty years of achievement of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Named after the two senators who sponsored the legislation, Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar, the program has helped Russia and other successor states to the Soviet Union destroy thousands of nuclear-armed missiles, hundreds of silos, submarines and bombers, and deactivate over 13,000 nuclear warheads that once threatened America and the world.
President Obama talked about the continuing danger of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and recalled his trip with Senator Lugar to Ukraine where they saw teams of workers funded by the U.S. program slowly and carefully taking apart old weapons. “We simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century,” he said, then artfully bridged to his policy goals.
It took decades – and extraordinary sums of money – to build those arsenals. It’s going to take decades – and continued investments – to dismantle them…It’s painstaking work. It rarely makes the headlines. But I want each of you to know, and everybody who’s participating in this import effort to know that the work you do is absolutely vital to our national security and to our global security.
Missile by missile, warhead by warhead, shell by shell, we’re putting a bygone era behind us. Inspired by Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar, we’re moving closer to the future we seek. A future where these weapons never threaten our children again. A future where we know the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.