Cold War ended in peace – Obama

Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe ended the Cold War in peace, US President Barack Obama said, speaking at the New Economic School in Moscow.

Obama believes that it happened because the peoples of Russia and Eastern Europe decided to put an end to it.

The US leader also mentioned that after that, many world nations had expectations of new relations between countries. Unfortunately, far from all expectations came into being, according to him.

Now the people of the US, Russia, and all countries, need to decide what succeeds the era of the Cold War, Obama noted.

Watch President Obama's speech at the New Economic School


“The US wants to see a strong and prosperous Russia”

In his speech the US president put special stress on the fact that the US respects the Russian people and its history, and that the two countries share common interests.

Obama highlighted that “the US and Russian peoples have never fought against each other.”

“On the contrary – they together fought against fascism during WWII,” he said.

President Obama presents Oksana Sytnova, the top student at NES, with her degree at a graduation ceremony (AFP photo / Saul Loeb)

Speaking about Russian-US ties the American president said that they can build a new future, having brushed away old barriers, suspicions and stereotypes.

“The future does not belong to those who bring armies to battlefields and dig missiles into the earth, but those who have an education, imagination and creativity. Precisely this is the source of power and strength in our century,” Obama said.

Obama also believes that great powers should not be demonstrating their might by demonizing their adversaries.

“In the 20th century there was the opinion that the United States and Russia are fated to be antagonists and that a strong Russia should assert itself by resisting America.

In the 19th century there was the opinion that the two countries are fated to fight for spheres of influence, that great powers should belong to competing blocks in order to reach a balance of forces. Both these ideas are wrong,” the US leader said.

According to the American President, the days when empires regarded other countries as pieces on a chess board are now gone.

“Given our interdependence, any world order which tries to place one country or group of people above others invariably fails, he said. The strive for power is no longer a game with a zero sum,” he said.

“US won’t impose its system to others”

In his speech Barack Obama said that no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century on its own, nor can it dictate its terms to the world.

According to the US President, that is why America seeks an international system that would allow nations to pursue their interests peacefully, even if they diverge.

Old stumbling blocks: Ukraine & Georgia

In his speech Barack Obama also mentioned that the United States supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia.

The ambitions of these two countries to join the North Atlantic Alliance have long been a sticking point in relations between Russia and its Western partners.

The American president pointed out that NATO should be cooperating with Russia instead of seeking confrontation. He stressed that America will never impose any security system on any other country and if a state wants to become a NATO member, the majority of its population should agree to that.

“Nuclear threat is a common responsibility”

Barack Obama has called on Moscow to share the responsibility of resisting the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

He pointed out that Russia and the United States, possessing the biggest nuclear arsenals in the world, have an obligation to put nuclear proliferation to an end in order to live in a nuclear-free world in the future. Obama values highly the agreement he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reached in order to sign a new strategic arms reduction treaty by the end of 2009.

The American president said that eliminating weapons of mass destruction is “the core nuclear challenge in the 21st century.” He added that there is no place for the illusion that “we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations” can have nuclear weapons.

Obama and Medvedev agreed to cut down American and Russian nuclear arsenals by one-third within the framework of the future arms reduction treaty to be signed by the end of this year.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Obama met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The US leader promised to take Russia’s opinion about the status of the post-Soviet space into account, as well as to consider Russia’s concerns on missile defense.

Read also: Synopsis of Obama visit to Moscow