Today marks 10 years since President @BarackObama gave his famous speech in Prague on the future of nuclear weapons and disarmament. The President's speech was drafted by @brhodes and @garysamorehks and others and I was honored to play a role as well. 1/
It was an exciting time to be in the Administration and being part of the team that drafted the speech is one of the highlights of my career. It was and remains an important statement of American policy. 2/
The Prague speech has been lauded by some and mocked by others, but a review of the content shows that the speech was responsible, serious and balanced by aspiration and reality that is missing from today's discourse. 3/
It is worth reviewing today what the speech actually said, what it helped achieve, and where it fell short of its promise - a promise that remains valid and will likely be pursued when we have stronger US leadership. 4/
In reviewing the speech, you cannot forget what came before it was given. America had been led and led others into a disastrous war in Iraq over the false claims of WMD. Bush Admin squandered US credibility and leadership. 5/
America was seen as the major source of nuclear instability and irresponsible behavior in the world by many, and America's ability to lead in the effort to prevent nuclear use, proliferation and pursue reductions was abysmally low. 6/
The Prague speech changed the frame for Amereica's action and the way America was perceived. It immediately refilled the credit for America to leads the world in addressing real and dangerous nuclear risks. Words in this case mattered a great deal. 7/
Prague reclaimed America's global position and leadership on nuclear security. 8/
President Obama tool ownership of the issue, reminded the world of America's ability to lead and inspire action and laid our a concrete agenda for action to make the US and the world a safer place. 9/
Prague rejected nuclear pessimism. "Some argue that the spread of nuclear weapons cannot be stopped." "Such fatalism is a deadly adversary." 10/
"As the only nuclear power to have used nuclear weapons, the United States has a moral responsibility to act . . . . we can lead it." 11/
"I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." 12/
At the same time, President Obama made clear that as long as nuclear weapons exist, America will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal for itself and its allies. 13/
He stated and made sure that America reduced the role nuclear weapons play in its own security and in the world. 14/
He declared America will pursue the New START agreement with Russia. The agreement was signed, limited each to 1550 offensive deployed nuclear weapons and remains in full force and is working to keep us safe today. 15/
Prague recommitted the United States to full support for the NPT as the core nonproliferation and disarmament bargain. The NPT remains a key element in global security and deserves full US and global support. 16/
President Obama also promised the US would support a new framework for civilian nuclear cooperation, that led to the creation of the fuel bank and stronger norms against the spread of enrichment and reprocessing. 17/
The Prague speech also spoke about the need to prevent a nuclear Iran, which eventually led to the JCPOA - a critical agreement that to this day - and in spite of Trump sabotage - constrains Iran nuclear potential and prevented a new ME war. 18/
Prague also created a new approach to tightening pressure on DPRK. That maximum pressure campaign on North Korea in the face of nuclear and missile testing. Multiple UNSCR with Chinese support were passed, making DPRK pay a price for its action. 19/
The President also foreshadowed the move away from the Bush approach to missile defense in Europe that did nothing to protect Europe, and led to the creation of the EPAA that actually provides NATO and Europe with defenses against Iran's missiles. 20/
Perhaps the biggest achievement was the Prague announcement that Obama would convene the first Nuclear Security Summit. 4 were held. 1000s of KG of HEU and Pu consolidated and hundreds of facilities had security improved. Nuclear security became a head of state issue. 21/
In this no one worked harder that @LauraSHHolgate who came to the Admin to help implement the President's vision and helped protect America and the world from nuclear terrorism. She and her team deserve massive credit. 22/
Prague did not achieve everything it sought to do. The US did not ratify the CTBT, a test ban very much in America and the world's interest. It still deserves US support and should be entered into force. 23/
Despite real and creative efforts, a few states still blocked the push to negotiate a ban on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. Such a ban very much in America's interest. 24/
And of course, Prague did not foresee or prevent Russia from returning to aggression and nuclear sabre ratting in Europe. Putin has weaponized nuclear risk because of his conventional weakness, and undermines the goals of Prague and of the NPT. 25/
Prague is many thing to many people. It inspired many to believe in disarmament again. It helped restore America's global leadership. It laid the groundwork for the JCPOA and New START, for the President's visit to Hiroshima and to help reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism. 26/
But remembering Prague and the need for America to lead should remind us all that we must again restore America's lead and help reduce the risk of nuclear weapons. There is no question that the risk is going up, and America must change its approach again. 27/
That is the challenge and promise of Prague. Perhaps not in my life time, but we must seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. We must reject fatalism. Can we get there? Yes We Can. #yeswecan /end
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