US Calls for Reduction of Nuclear Weapons

August 4, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. warhead [WAWR-hed] (n.) – a missile, bomb, or any kind of nuclear explosive
Example: The soldiers launched many nuclear warheads that killed thousands of people.

2. slash [slash] (v.) – to reduce or lessen by a large amount
Example The government slashed the budget for military programs due to the low national income.

3. stockpile [STOK-pahyl] (n.) – a large supply of stored materials for future use
Example During the war, the old man kept a stockpile of weapons in his house.

4. strike a balance [strahyk uh BAL-uhns] (idiom) – to reach an agreement
Example: The challenge for government is how to strike a balance between freedom and rights.

5. move on [moov on, awn] (phrasal v.) – to stop discussing, doing, or thinking about something and begin something new and different
Example After undergoing therapy, the soldier was finally able to move on from his bad experiences during the war.


Read the text below.
US President Barack Obama called for the further reduction of US and Russian nuclear weapons in his first speech in the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

President Obama asked European nations to cut back on their tactical warheads. According to him, the US could still keep itself and its allies secure while slashing its nuclear weapons by one-third. He added that the world is not a truly safe place as long as nuclear weapons exist.

In 2010, the US and Russia signed a joint agreement to reduce their nuclear stockpiles to a maximum of 1,550 warheads and 700 launchers. Obama claimed that the US is on its way to achieving this goal but admitted that a lot of work still has to be done.

Furthermore, the US is seeking to create a new international agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear power. The US government also plans to close its prison camp at Guantanamo [gwahn-TAH-nuh-moh], to strictly control military plane technology, and to strike a balance between privacy and national security. The government made these efforts in order to move on from the mindset of war.

However, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin expressed doubts on Obama's intentions. Rogozin said he cannot take the speech seriously since the US is currently building up its missile defense systems. German Chancellor Angela Merkel likewise criticized the US for its recently exposed surveillance programs.

To address Merkel’s criticism, Obama replied that the US monitoring activities fall within certain limits. The president has also claimed that the government had prevented 50 possible threats and saved many lives because of its surveillance.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Obama’s statement that the world will never be safe as long as nuclear weapons exist? Why or why not?
·         How do you think we can achieve global peace and security? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Do you think another war will happen in the near future? Why do you say so?
·         What do you think are the motivations behind wars? Please explain briefly.


August 4, 2013