[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/04/05/czech.republic.obama/art.obama.jpg caption="President Barack Obama faces a large crowd Sunday near the Prague Castle in the Czech Republic. "]
Special to CNN
When President Obama called for a world free of nuclear weapons in Prague, Czech Republic, this spring, many dismissed this part of his speech as idealistic rhetoric.
But the abolition of nuclear weapons is not an unrealistic fantasy. It is a practical necessity if the American people are to have a secure future. President Obama should use his Nobel speech this week to reaffirm his commitment to this essential and obtainable goal.
It is essential because a world armed with nuclear weapons is simply too dangerous for us to countenance. Since the end of the Cold War we have tended to act as though the threat of nuclear war had gone away. It hasn't. It is only our awareness of this danger that has faded. In fact, there are some 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world today; 95 percent of them are in the arsenals of the United States and Russia.
Just this past weekend, the START treaty limiting the number of U.S. and Russian warheads expired. Negotiators in Geneva, Switzerland, have not yet been able to work out the details of a follow-up treaty.
President Obama is taking a trip back home to Illinois on Thursday to pay tribute to the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Lincoln's personal principles, his political sagacity and his character are all worthy of emulation by anyone interested in public service.
Like Obama, I have always been a great fan of Lincoln, whose role in our history isn't based only on his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (for which he justly deserves credit) but, in large measure, for preserving a nation based on "liberty for all."
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