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PRAGUE -- Declaring the future of mankind at stake, President Obama on Sunday said all nations must strive to rid the world of nuclear arms and that the U.S. had a "moral responsibility" to lead because no other country has used one.
A North Korean rocket launch upstaged Obama's idealistic call to action, delivered in the capital of the Czech Republic, a former satellite of the Soviet Union. But Obama dismissed those who say the spread of nuclear weapons, "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War," cannot be checked.
"This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime," he told a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 in the historic square outside the Prague Castle gates. We "must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can.'"
Few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. Even backward nations such as North Korea have shown they can develop bombs, given enough time.