A Hopeful Reset

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 7, 2009
President Obama With Graduates at New Economic School in Moscow

Today, President Obama delivered remarks at the New Economic School in Moscow, Russia. President Obama said:"[T]here is sometimes a sense that old assumptions must prevail, old ways of thinking; a conception of power that is rooted in the past rather than in the future. There is the 20th century view that the United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists, and that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another. And there is a 19th century view that we are destined to vie for spheres of influence, and that great powers must forge competing blocs to balance one another.

These assumptions are wrong. In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chess board are over. As I said in Cairo, given our independence, any world order that -- given our interdependence, any world order that tries to elevate one nation or one group of people over another will inevitably fail. The pursuit of power is no longer a zero-sum game -- progress must be shared.

That's why I have called for a 'reset' in relations between the United States and Russia. This must be more than a fresh start between the Kremlin and the White House -- though that is important and I've had excellent discussions with both your President and your Prime Minister. It must be a sustained effort among the American and Russian people to identify mutual interests, and expand dialogue and cooperation that can pave the way to progress."

The President also spoke on that central issue of his visit, nuclear non-proliferation:

"This is the core of the nuclear challenge in the 21st century. The notion that prestige comes from holding these weapons, or that we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations can have these weapons, is an illusion. In the short period since the end of the Cold War, we've already seen India, Pakistan, and North Korea conduct nuclear tests. Without a fundamental change, do any of us truly believe that the next two decades will not bring about the further spread of these nuclear weapons?

That's why America is committed to stopping nuclear proliferation, and ultimately seeking a world without nuclear weapons. That is consistent with our commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That is our responsibility as the world's two leading nuclear powers. And while I know this goal won't be met soon, pursuing it provides the legal and moral foundation to prevent the proliferation and eventual use of nuclear weapons.

We're already taking important steps to build this foundation. Yesterday, President Medvedev and I made progress on negotiating a new treaty that will substantially reduce our warheads and delivery systems. We renewed our commitment to clean, safe and peaceful nuclear energy, which must be a right for all nations that live up to their responsibilities under the NPT. And we agreed to increase cooperation on nuclear security, which is essential to achieving the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material within four years."The White House Blog provides more on the President's visit to the New Economic School in Moscow, Russia.

Comments

Comments

Gail S.
|
Illinois, USA
July 7, 2009

Gail S. in Illinois writes:

Thank you all for your strong motivation and strong efforts, and I have been crying watching Micheal Jackson, but people must realize life goes on. I have been telling people for years to stop taking drugs and chemicals, and I hoped that Micheal and others would listen, but Holistic and natural is the only way.

John
|
Greece
July 7, 2009

John in Greece writes:

President Obama is doing a great job, although he has to deal with a very complicated table. Sometimes I get confused attempting to understand the Russian policy who is who.

Do we have to talk and deal with the Russian President, the Prime Minister, or maybe even some other people, we may not know yet, but they decide for those two under the table? (ex-KGB) This makes Mr. Obama's and his Administration mission even tougher.

However, the President is genius, spiritual and humorous. I will never forget him and I think that this is one of all time Presidents best-saying: (in my words) You sold us Alaska. Thank you for this!

President Obama and the Administration are GREAT and make us feel very proud. I wish them the best success in this tough diplomatic project that is vital for our planet, believing that they know much better than me that the Russian T-shirt is always double-faced?
So, we must always watch our western backs.

@ Gail S. in Illinois -- What Jackson has to do with this extremely important political/diplomatic issue?

christopher
|
New Jersey, USA
July 7, 2009

Christopher in New Jersey writes:

Why hasn't the US issued the full-text of the Joint Understanding on START? The Russians have released it but the US only has a "fact sheet" out.

http://kremlin.ru/text/docs/2009/07/219078.shtml

Susan
|
Florida, USA
July 7, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

I think our President is trying to "mend fences". I understand his desire to undo the damage from the past eight years. But I do not believe or trust Putin, and, yes, I believe he is the one who is running Russia. I agree with John in Greece. We must watch our western backs. Please tell me when Russia has NOT been "two-faced", or when have we ever been able to trust them? I hope this trip does make a difference. I applaud President Obama for reaching out. I am hopeful!

Ron
|
New York, USA
July 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Hope but Verify....

Let's keep our eyes on the ball one nuclear mistake and game-over; no "reset" button.

With loose nukes, rogue-nuke nations, trans-national-organized crime groups, terrorists, and crazies....we are getting real close to the first nuclear disaster.

edite
|
Canada
July 8, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

History, since the very beginning of time, has been destined to be repeated over and over again. Nothing new is learned. Spheres of influence have always existed and to believe or think that this will change is very naive.Who controls the commodities of oil and gas rules the world, nuclear weapons or not. This is decidedly a sphere of influence and if President Obama believes those who hold this power will play nice,nice with the West and America in particular is dreaming about a Utopia that does not exist and never will. Ardent academics are wont to pontificate about how wonderful and great the world could be but in more than two thousand years that has yet to happen.

Evil countries, evil leaders, evil people do exist. They will always be with us in the same way that the poor will always be with us. How does one know? The Bible tells us so.

"Progress must be shared" and " new world order" smacks of socialist jargon where everyone dresses alike, works the fields alike, eats the same things, has the same things and kowtows to the same leader. Obama denigrates the "old ways of thinking" but that is exactly what made America the greatest nation on earth, with the most freedom, the most choice,the best scientists, the best of household goods etc.

The contradictions in this speech are almost laughable if it wasn't so very sad. In one paragraph he says picking and choosing which nations can have nuclear weapons in order to protect ourselves is an illusion and yet in the very next paragraph he opines that America is committed to stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons everywhere. Dream on, Sir. That will never happen. The Russians, for instance,will agree to anything, sign anything, a treaty or be a consignatory to a pact, and not adhere to any of its tenets. That is the reality, not the illusion. For heaven's sake, they have never followed the tenets of the United Nations Charter or for that matter, the United Nations Charter of Universal Rights and Freedoms.

Why, in the name of God, does Obama believe Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, China et al will suddenly change years of oppression and their old ways of doing things just because Obama has appeared on the political scene? There is something extremely illusitory about that. Wiser leaders than Obama and Putin(Medvedev is only an appendage) like Thatcher and Reagan once ruled the world. They understood the machinations of the"evil empire" or even the "axis of evil" and played to their strengths, and not their weaknesses. And guess what, they won. They are the ones who will help define history for millions of souls enslaved by the "evil empire". Obama sees only what he chooses to see and that is a lamb in wolf's clothing.That is real stinkin' thinkin'. It is feared that with president Obama's simplistic approach to foreign policy for America will in effect hand back to the Russians all of the "territories" ( sovereign countries) they annexed at the end of the second world war and occupied for fifty years.Is that the price Obama is prepared to pay for nuclear reductions? His nuclear disarmament stance is strictly leftist propaganda and now that he has the power, he plans to exercise this foolhardy option. The fact that Obama could do a replay of Stalin, FDR (Uncle Joe's friend) and Churchill, who sold millions of people into slavery for their thirty pieces of silver. (Spheres of influence in Germany and Europe)Maybe we should all be sending FDR capes and Chamerblain's umbrellas to the White House. Obama's position and lack of foreign policy experience and his reliance on speechwriters who were born after the second world war and the Korean War,and know only textbook history ,boggles the mind.

If a black man was going to win the White House, how I wish it had been General Colin Powell. he is one who truly understands and knows the score in this world of ours. One always hoped that he would run for President. Sadly, he did not.

Notwithstanding all of the above, these questions about nuclear weapons may be moot, cyberwarfare will destroy countries faster and more fully than any nuclear weapons.

John
|
Greece
July 8, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Edite in Canada --QUOTE: If a black man was going to win the White House, how I wish it had been General Colin Powell END OF QUOTE.

Is this a soup statement?

I personally love Powell. Mr. Powell is a great brain. And he served the country in a great way.

Nevertheless, why we have to go in a "Gail S." platform discussing "black or white" -- America is based on brains and not colors!

America is full of colors and that's why it's the most successful democracy in the world.

http://idmx.blogspot.com/2007/01/soup-questions.html

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

If wishes were nukes, we'd all glow in the dark.

If we left illusions of grandure to fester, that is.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Edite in Canada,

If I understand your basic line of thought here, you are perhaps suggesting that war is a human genetic trait that can't be erased with a good speech?

In which case, that's 200,000 years worth of the dysfunctionality of man that he's trying to change.

Well, someone's got to. I'm not nearly so diplomatic nor articulate, and I could use all the help I can get...(chuckle).

In which case all I can point to that would give me hope is the fact that it took 200,000 years to reach the moon and create the internet, and the global village deals with it's idiots in a forum of dialoge among the family of nations for the most part.

Are we ready to create a nuclear weapons free world?

Well, we started out with sticks and stones long ago, so I suppose going back to that is always an option as long as they exist.

An option best avoided by getting rid of them.

I'm not so sure the President is trying to change human nature so much as trying to buy humanity a little more time to ward off a new stone age.

Ron
|
New York, USA
July 9, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Want to RESET?
Launch a global attack on corrupt government officials.
Remove them from office and see a sharp decline in the following illicit trades:

Narcotics, weapons,humans, dual-use commodities,
counterfeit currencies, flora, fauna, animals,
minerals, gems, the list is endless....

Arrest their associates, Seize their assets, reset
the economic, political and social pin-ball machine
(which is definitely on "TILT").

Edite
|
Canada
July 9, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

@ John in Greece:

You are absoltely correct, colour should not have been injected into my quoted comment. It was not intended. I love Gen. Powell too, ever since I first heard him on television. I had the television on, not necessarily watching but just listening while doing something else .I first heard his voice which caught my attention and then began to listen to what he was saying.
He sounded like such an upright, upstanding person with firm convictions about morality, about America, the world, his life, his wife, patriotism, his country, etc. Most importantly, he was speaking plain old-fashioned common sense. Because of the colour setting of the TV, one couldn't tell if he was black, white or any other colour. I learned who he was, bought books about him, Sacred Honour is one of them, and was very impressed with everything written and said about himself or by others. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, it was very apparent America was in perfect hands. I was horrified when he left his post as Secretary of State. I also had wanted him to run for President but it was not to be. He cared too deeply for his family, a wonderful trait.

Edite
|
Canada
July 9, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico:

You sound clever enough for all of us and fairly witty too.
Yes, it is a very basic human trait for the human race to fight, bicker, and act in a very territorial manner, much like animals, only probably worse. A man plants a tree and a neighbour curses it because its overgrown branches block his sun for his flowers or garden. So the fight ensues, to cut or not to cut, that is the question. And then, another neighbour adds an addition to his house and his neighbour complains to the city council that his beautiful view of whatever is now blocked and he wants his neighbour to demolish the addition, if not, he'll sue and then he is sure he will win. It is always a test of wills. Countries can be territorial too. If your country doesn't have an ice-free seaport and your neighbouring country does, well, just invade and annex. That should do it.Only, a few thousand or hundreds of thousands or millions of souls are left for dead.Now, that is a fine state of affairs, isn't it.? And nations in building a space station, I'll just bet they have to draw straws for the best bunk or whatever it is they sleep in or on or under or just hang there, but at least it will be their spot.

No one has implied that attempting to achieve more peaceful resolutions for the problems nations have with one another is not an admirable exercise to indulge in, but floundering blindly in the dark when there is no real defined boundary, the line in the sand,without concessions that work for both or for all is a tall order and no, a good speech will never do it. Only great leaders who have been tested by time,experience, knowledge, will, convictions and most of all strength and a strong backbone will even come close.Like steel, they have to be molded by the figurative test of fire.

Sadly, our lot in life and this world will always be fraught with winners and losers, fighters and peacniks,the idiot masses and the genious few. Wishful thinking is not productive thinking. But, hope always springs eternal, and is the basic ingredient for a springboard to positive action to do good. Dag Hammarskold(sp) once said something to that effect.

eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Edite in Canada,

Wishful thinking is not what's driving policy, the long term survival of the human race is.

If you haven't watched President Obama's remarks at the economic school, you can do so on http://www.c-span.org/

I think he's very clear what the stakes are, and the dangerous nature of retaining old ways of thinking that won't get us where we need to be to reach a sustainable future.

As a member of one of America's original nuclear families, I have certain obligations to my kids that goes well beyond the average parent. When I told my kids that this legacy ends here with my generation so they and their kids don't have to live with nuclear terrorism as future political methodology, or the probabilities of living in a world that can self destruct at a moment's notice, indeed even by accident, never mind ill intent of those with illusions of grandure.

You can call that a "dad thing", but Obama would not be the first U.S. President I've heard repeat my own perspective back to me with the same meaning in context.

"Anyone who has witnessed the birth of one's child can tell you that yes indeed you create your own reality, the question is what do we wish to create for ourselves as reality on this planet, now and for our children's, and their children's future? Not just in this country, but the world as a whole, as an international vision."
-EJ 2002

Apparently the Russians have made certain realizations that the question begs a sustainable answer.

It's a good start. Now let's put pedal to the metal and deal in high speed, permanent terms with the nuclear ethical infants of the world.

I have a rope.

.

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