Barack Obama deliver a speech at the Prague Castle
Today, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered in Prague his first major speech of his foreign policy. Speaking in front of a crowd of over ten thousand people, he referred to the founder and the first President of independent Czechoslovakia, Tomáš G. Masaryk, and to important events that shaped European and Czech history of the 20th century.
He also laid out a framework for his foreign policy, in a bold and ambitious call for a ban on nuclear weapon tests, strenghtening of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and a guarantee of every nation’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Using Prague as the setting to engage the world’s nuclear nations, Obama’s speech is symbolic on several levels. Although the country itself never acquired nuclear weapons, Czechoslovakia was a major supplier of uranium for Soviet military during the Cold War. Thousands of its citizens were imprisoned, tortured and used as slaves in inhuman conditions of its uranium mines in Jáchymov, Příbram, and other uranium mining centres. And finally, in the year that marks 20th anniversary of the unravelling of the Communist rule in Eastern Europe, 10th anniversary of Czech Repubic’s admission to NATO, and the first-ever turn of Czech Republic to hold the EU presidency, it signals that Czech Republic, after centuries of foreign or oppressive rule, is finally firmly in a community of free nations that, despite their occasional differences, treat each other as partners in a peaceful co-operation. (more…)