Political Headlines: Senate Rejects House G.O.P. Medicare Plan by 57-40 Vote

The Democratic-led Senate on Wednesday rejected a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare, defeating it by a 57-40 vote, with five Republicans breaking with their party to vote against the proposal.

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Full Text May 25, 2011: President Barack Obama & British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Joint Press Conference

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Conference in London, United Kingdom

Lancaster House, London, United Kingdom

President Obama & Prime Minister Cameron Joint Press Availability
May 25, 2011 1:33 PM

President Obama & Prime Minister Cameron Joint Press Availability

12:56 P.M. BST

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you, and apologies for keeping you waiting. It’s a pleasure to welcome President Obama here today.

We’ve just been having a barbecue in the gardens of Number 10 Downing Street with some of our service — armed-service personnel from the United States and from the UK. And it was a great reminder of the incredible debt that we owe all of them and their families for their service, for their sacrifice, for all they do to keep us safe. It was a great event and it was wonderful to have Barack and Michelle there.

It was also probably the first time in history, as we stood behind that barbecue, that I can say a British Prime Minister has given an American President a bit of a grilling. So I’m going to hold onto that.

Over the past year I’ve got to know the President well. And whether it’s in routine situations like sitting round the G8 table, or the slightly less routine of getting a phone call in the middle of the night, I’ve come to value not just his leadership and courage, but the fact that to all the big international issues of our time, he brings thoughtful consideration and reason.

And I know that today, Mr. President, you’ll be thinking of the dreadful tornado in Missouri and all those who’ve lost livelihoods and lost their lives and loved ones. And our hearts in Britain go out to all those people, too.

Barack and I know well the shared history of our countries. From the beaches of Normandy to the Imjin River, our soldiers have fought together. From labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cambridge, England, our scientists have decoded DNA and cured diseases together. And in millions of interactions every day, including our massive business relationship, our people forge friendships together.

That is what makes this relationship special. But what makes it essential is that it’s not just about history or sentiment; it is a living, working partnership. It is essential to our security and it’s essential for our prosperity.

And I feel every day just how important this partnership is. The President and I, together with my Deputy Prime Minister, have just had some excellent discussions. We’ve been talking today about the two things we care about most — getting our people jobs and keeping our people safe. Because every night millions of British and American people take the same worries to bed with them. They’re asking if they can find a good job, if they’re going to get a paycheck next month, and if there will be work for their children when they grow up.

The stark truth of the world today is that no country is owed a living. We’ve got to pay our way and we’ve got to earn our way. And that is what the President and I are determined to do. Barack and I did not come into politics to cut public spending, but neither did we seek office to see our great economies decline or to land our children with unsustainable debts. And that is why in the second half of this decade, we’re making sure that debt ratios will be falling on both sides of the Atlantic.

At the same time, we’re investing in our roads and railways, in science and innovation, and above all, in our young people. And down the line, the success of all this won’t be measured in export figures or trade flows; it will be in the feelings of the factory worker, whether they’re in Phoenix or the shopkeeper in Liverpool or the engineer in Ohio — the people who know if they work hard, then prosperity will be there for them and the promise of a better life there for their children.

As well as the economy, the President and I had some very good discussions on security. Now, Americans and Brits, you don’t need to explain terrorism to one another. Both our people have suffered at its hands, and indeed they have died together.

My wife Samantha was in Manhattan on 9/11, and I’ll never forget the five hours of trying to get hold of her. And she’ll never forget the New Yorkers that she met that day or the sense of solidarity that she felt that day and that we have felt ever since that day. And today, as we come up to its tenth anniversary, we should remember the spirit of that city and the sympathy we feel with those who lost their loved ones.

Now, there are those who say that this terrorist threat is beyond our control, and we passionately believe that is wrong. We can defeat al Qaeda, and the events of recent months give us an opportunity to turn the tide on their terror once and for all.

I believe there are three actions we must take. First, we must continue to destroy their terrorist network, and I congratulate the President on his operation against bin Laden. This was not just a victory for justice, but a strike right at the heart of international terrorism.

In this vital effort, we must continue to work with Pakistan. People are asking about our relationship, so we need to be clear. Pakistan has suffered more from terrorism than any country in the world. Their enemy is our enemy. So, far from walking away, we’ve got to work even more closely with them.

At the same time, this is a vital year in Afghanistan. British and American forces are fighting side by side in Helmand, right at the heart of this operation. We’ve broken the momentum of the insurgency, and even in the Taliban’s heartland, in Kandahar and central Helmand, they’re on the back foot. Now is the moment to step up our efforts to reach a political settlement. The Taliban must make a decisive split from al Qaeda, give up violence, and join a political process that will bring lasting peace to that country. We are agreed to give this the highest priority in the months ahead.

Second, we must reach a conclusion to the Arab-Israel peace process. Again, I congratulated the President on his recent speech on the Middle East, which was bold, it was visionary, and it set out what is needed in the clearest possible terms — an end to terror against Israelis and the restoration of dignity to the Palestinians; two states living side by side and in peace.

Yes, the road has been, and will be, long and arduous, but the prize is clear. Conclude the peace process and you don’t just bring security to the region; you deny extremists one of their most profound and enduring recruiting sergeants, weakening their calling and crippling their cause. That is why whatever the difficulties, we must continue to press for a solution.

Our third action must be to help elevate the changes in North Africa and the Arab world from a moment in history to a turning point in history. We’ve seen some extraordinary things — protesters braving bullets, bloggers toppling dictators, people taking to the streets and making their own history. If global politics is about spreading peace and prosperity, then this is a once-in-a-generation moment to grab hold of.

It is not a time for us to shrink back and think about our own issues and interests. This is our issue and this is massively in our interests. Those people in Tahrir Square and Tripoli just want what we have — a job and a voice. And we all share in their success or failure. If they succeed, there is new hope for those living there and there is the hope of a better and safer world for all of us. But if they fail, if that hunger is denied, then some young people in that region will continue to listen to the poisonous narrative of extremism.

So the President and I are agreed we will stand with those who work for freedom. This is the message we’ll take to the G8 tomorrow when we push for a major program of economic and political support for those countries seeking reform. And this is why we mobilized the international community to protect the Libyan people from Colonel Qaddafi’s regime, why we’ll continue to enforce U.N. resolutions with our allies, and why we restate our position once more: It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi still in power. He must go.

In all of these actions, we must be clear about our ambitions. Barack and I came of age in the 1980s and ‘90s. We saw the end of the Cold War and the victory over communism. We saw the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and the world coming together to liberate that country. Throughout it all, we saw Presidents and Prime Ministers standing together for freedom.

Today, we feel just as passionately about extending freedom as those who came before us; but we also know that idealism without realism does no good for anyone. We have learned the lessons of history. Democracy is built from the ground up. You’ve got to work with the grain of other cultures, and not against them. Real change takes time.

And it’s because of this we share the view that our partnership will not just continue, but it will get stronger. And this is a partnership that goes beyond foreign affairs. At home, we have similar goals — to bring more responsibility to our societies, and to bring transparency and accountability to our governments. In all these ambitions, our countries will continue to learn from each other and work with each other.

And as ever, it has been a pleasure to talk to the President, and an honor to have him with us today.

Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, David. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. I am very pleased to be back in the United Kingdom. I note that you have arranged for typical London weather these past two days, and I am very grateful for that.

I want to thank Her Majesty the Queen, and the British people for the extraordinary welcome that has been extended to me and Michelle. It’s a shining example of the genuine warmth and affection that our two nations feel towards one another.

Since David took office last spring, I believe we’ve now met or spoken at least two dozen times. We may be leaders from different political traditions, but on a whole host of issues we see eye to eye. We even took the same side in a epic match of doubles table tennis against some local students yesterday, and we won’t rehash the results of that.

The relationship between our two countries is one that’s not just based on warm sentiment or common history, although those things exist. It’s built on shared ideals and shared values. As David said, it is a special relationship and an essential relationship. I believe that it is stronger than it has ever been, and I’m committed to making sure that it stays that way.

The successful meetings we’ve had and the joint initiatives we’re announcing today represent the depths and breadth of our relationship. We discussed our efforts to strengthen the global recovery and create good jobs for our people. The investment relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is the largest in the world, one that accounts for nearly 1 million jobs in each of our economies. We believe we can make that relationship even stronger with deeper cooperation in areas critical to our future prosperity, like higher education and science and innovation; areas critical to our national security like cyber crime; and areas vital to the stability of the world, including international development.

During our discussions today we reviewed our progress in Afghanistan, where our brave servicemen and women have fought side by side to break the Taliban’s momentum and where we are preparing to turn a corner. We reaffirmed the importance of beginning the transition to Afghan lead for security this year and completing that transition by 2014.

We discussed the opportunity that exists for promoting reconciliation and a political settlement, which must be an Afghan-led process. President Karzai has made it clear that he will talk to anyone who is willing to end the violence, split with al Qaeda, and accept the Afghan constitution. And we welcome the positive cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan on that front.

At the same time, the Prime Minister and I both agree that our nations have a long-term interest in ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a launching pad for attacks against our people. So alongside our NATO allies and partners, we’re committed to a strong and enduring partnership with the people of Afghanistan.

As historic change unfolds across the Middle East and North Africa, we agree that the pursuit of self-determination must be driven by the peoples of the region and not imposed from the outside. But we are both committed to doing everything that we can to support peoples who reach for democracy and leaders who implement democratic reform.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss with our G8 partners how those of us in the wider international community can best support nations that make the reforms necessary to build a framework for democracy, freedom, and prosperity for their people.

At the same time, we will continue to strongly oppose the use of violence against protesters and any efforts to silence those who yearn for freedom and dignity and basic human rights. And that’s one of the reasons that we are working together in Libya, alongside with our NATO allies and partners, to protect the Libyan people. And we will continue those operations until Qaddafi’s attacks on civilians cease. Time is working against Qaddafi and he must step down from power and leave Libya to the Libyan people.

We also discussed the situation in Syria, where the Syrian people have shown great courage in their demands for a democratic transition. The United States welcomes the EU’s decision to impose sanctions on President Assad, and we’re increasing pressure on him and his regime in order to end his policy of oppression and begin the change that people seek.

We discussed Yemen, where the Yemeni people call for greater opportunity and prosperity and a nation that is more unified and more secure, and we expressed our joint concern of the deteriorating situation on the ground there. We applauded the leadership of the Gulf Cooperation Council in seeking an orderly and peaceful resolution to the crisis, and we call on President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power.

And at a time when so many in the region are casting off the burdens of the past, we agree that the push for a lasting peace that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. I appreciate the Prime Minister’s support for the principles that I laid out last week on borders and security, which can provide a sound basis from which the two sides can negotiate.

As increasing tensions in the Abyei region threaten to derail Sudan’s comprehensive peace agreement, we’re working closely together to encourage the parties to recommit to a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and calling on the rapid reinforcement of the U.N.’s peacekeeping presence in the region.
We also reviewed our close cooperation when it comes to countering terrorist threats, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their delivery to states like Iran, and our unrelenting efforts to keep our people safe.

And finally, we launched a joint initiative to exchange the best ideas and practices when it comes to supporting our veterans and our military families.

Today, before we came here, Michelle and I joined David and Samantha for a outstanding barbecue at Number 10 for active-duty members of our militaries, along with their spouses, who make extraordinary sacrifices as well. It was a wonderful event and a moving reminder of the long line of American and British service members who’ve made heavy and heroic sacrifices in the joint defense of our shared values that our people hold so dear.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you not only for the barbecue but for the opportunity to spend this very productive time at Number 10 with you and your team. I enjoy my visits here, as always, and I have confidence that our special relationship will continue to grow even stronger in the months and years ahead. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you, Barack. Thank you very much.

Nick Robinson from the BBC.

Q Thank you very much indeed. Prime Minister, can you confirm that you plan to escalate the war in Libya by sending ground attack helicopters? And, Mr. President, can you confirm that United States will sit that particular mission out?

And a general question for you, if I could. You’ve talked about an old war in Afghanistan and a new one in Libya. Is your partnership really that different than the one between Bush and Blair?

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Well, thank you for that. Lots of questions in there. First of all, the President and I agree that we should be turning up the heat in Libya. I believe the pressure is on that regime. You see it in the fact that the rebels have successfully liberated much of Misurata. You see it in the success in other parts of the country. You see it in the strength of the coalition. You see it in the growth of the National Transitional Council. So I believe we should be turning up that pressure.

And on Britain’s part, we will be looking at all of the options for turning up that pressure, obviously within the terms of U.N. Resolution 1973, because we believe we need to keep enforcing that resolution, protecting civilians, pressurizing that regime so that the Libyan people have a chance to decide their own future. And within that, those are the options we’ll look at.

You asked the question about this relationship and past relationships. I think every relationship between a President and a Prime Minister is different. I would say both of us strongly believe in the special relationship. We both called it an essential relationship. But we believe we have — as I said in my speech — we have to learn the lessons of history, about how best we promote the values that we share.

And that means, yes, going with the grain of other cultures; it means, yes, having a patient understanding that building democracy takes time and you have to work on the building blocks of democracy, and not believe this all can be done in an instant. But I believe in that partnership we’re extremely strong together in wanting to see the same outcomes, whether that’s in Afghanistan, where we want to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan that no longer requires the presence of foreign troops to keep it free from terrorism, and we want to see a Libya where people have the chance to decide their own future.

But we are doing things in a different way. We have ruled out occupying forces, invading armies. We are doing what we can to enforce Resolution 1973 and allowing the Libyan people to choose their own future. And we’re very committed to doing that work together.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I do think that we’ve made enormous progress in Libya. We have saved lives as a consequence of our concerted actions. I think it is important to note that we did so under a U.N. mandate and as part of a broad-based international coalition that includes Arab countries. And I absolutely agree that given the progress that has been made over the last several weeks, that Qaddafi and his regime need to understand that there will not be a letup in the pressure that we are applying. And the United Kingdom, the United States, and our other partners are putting a wide range of resources within — consistent with the U.N. mandate — in order to achieve that pressure. And I think we will ultimately be successful.

The goal is to make sure that the Libyan people can make a determination about how they want to proceed, and that they’ll be finally free of 40 years of tyranny and they can start creating the institutions required for self-determination.

So in terms of historical analogies, I just want to underscore this is not the United Kingdom and the United States alone. We have a broad range of partners under an international mandate designed to save lives and ensure that we did not have the sort of massacre that would lead us then to look back and say to ourselves, why did we stand by and do nothing.

With respect to Afghanistan, similarly, we have a broad-based international mandate and a broad-based international coalition designed to make sure that Afghanistan does not serve as a base for attacks against our people. We’ve discussed, consistent with what we said in Lisbon during our NATO summit, that this will be a year of transition because of the work that we’ve done and the enormous sacrifices that both our militaries have given. We are in a position now to transition, to start transitioning to an Afghan-led security process. And at the same time, we’re going to be engaging in the sort of diplomatic work that is required for an ultimate political solution to the problems there. And I’m confident that we can achieve it.

I think that there’s no doubt that the United States and the United Kingdom have a unique relationship. And that is going to be consistent regardless of who the President and the Prime Minister is, and it’s going to be consistent regardless of what parties we come from. There’s so much that binds us together that it is not surprising that we are typically, on the international stage, going to be working together as opposed to at cross purposes.

But as David mentioned, I think that the one thing that we have learned is that even as we promote the values and ideals that we care about, even as we make sure that our security interests are met, that we are using military power in a strategic and careful way; that we are making sure that as we promote democracy and human rights, that we understand the limits of what the military alone can achieve; and that we’re mindful that ultimately these regions are going to be — that the fate of these regions are going to be determined by the people there themselves, and that we’re going to have to work in partnership with them.

And that I think is the best example of alliance leadership and it’s something that I’m very proud to be a part of.

Julie Pace.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve said that Muammar Qaddafi’s exit from Libya is inevitable and that the U.S. will continue with the campaign until his attacks stop. Does that also mean that you will commit the U.S. to that campaign until Qaddafi is removed from power? And would you be willing to commit additional U.S. resources if that meant speeding up Qaddafi’s exit?

And, Prime Minister Cameron, do you believe that the U.S. and other NATO allies should increase their role in the Libya campaign, as other British lawmakers have suggested? Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have said from the outset that our goal, the reason that we intervened in Libya, was to protect the people on the ground and to give the Libyan people the space that they needed in order to bring about a change towards democracy. And I also was very clear in terms of how we were going to participate.
We moved very heavily on the front end, disabling their air defense systems, carrying the lion’s share of the burden when it came to setting the stage for NATO operations; and then that — once the transfer took place to NATO command and control, that at that point our primary role would be a whole range of support that utilized America’s unique capabilities. That’s what we’re doing. I also ruled out us putting any ground forces in Libya.

We have proceeded consistent with that. There are times where, for example, with our Predator capabilities, we have a unique capacity that we’ve brought to bear, and we will continue to do that. And the Prime Minister and I consistently discuss on a regular basis what can we all do to make sure that that pressure continues to apply.

I do think that is it going to be difficult to meet the U.N. mandate of security for the Libyan people as long as Qaddafi and his regime are still attacking them. And so we are strongly committed to seeing the job through, making sure that, at minimum, Qaddafi doesn’t have the capacity to send in a bunch of thugs to murder innocent civilians and to threaten them.

I believe that we have built enough momentum that as long as we sustain the course that we’re on, that he is ultimately going to step down. And we will continue to work with our partners to achieve that.

So we have not put forward any artificial timeline in terms of how long this will take. My belief is, is that the more resolute that we are now, the more effective the coalition is in rallying all the resources that are available to it, that we’re going to be able to achieve our mission in a timely fashion.

One last point, and this speaks to the issue of whether there are other additional U.S. capabilities that could be brought to bear. David and I both agree that we cannot put boots on the ground in Libya. Once you rule out ground forces, then there are going to be some inherent limitations to our air strike operations. It means that the opposition on the ground in Libya is going to have to carry out its responsibilities. And we’re going to have to do effective coordination — and we are doing that — with the opposition on the ground.

But I think that there may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets that are in a warehouse somewhere that could just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya. That’s not the case.

The enormous sacrifices that are being made by the British, by the French, by ourselves, by the Danes and others — we are bringing to bear an array of air power that has made a huge difference. But ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we’re able to wear down the regime forces and change the political calculations of the Qaddafi regime to the point where they finally realize that they’re not going to control this country; the Libyan people are going to control this country. And as long as we remain resolute, I think we’re going to be able to achieve that mission.

But there’s not a whole host of new and different assets that somehow could be applied — partly because we’ve been extraordinarily successful in avoiding significant civilian casualties. And that’s been part of our goal, that’s been part of our mission, is making sure that we are targeting regime forces in a way that does not result in enormous collateral damage. And that means we may have to sometimes be more patient than people would like. But ultimately I think it promises greater success, and it sustains our coalition and support for it, not just here but in the Arab world as well.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you. I so agree that the two key things here are patience and persistence. That is what the alliance is demonstrating and needs to go on demonstrating.

Julie, I’d just make two points. First of all, I think the President and I completely agree on this point of, of course, the U.N. resolution is not about regime change; the U.N. resolution is about protecting civilians from attack and taking all necessary measures to do so. With that said, most political leaders, including the two here, have said it’s hard to see how you implement U.N. Resolution 1973 with Qaddafi still in control of his country, which is why we’ve been so clear about Qaddafi needing to go and needing to leave Libya.

In terms of the U.S. role, I would make this point, which I’m not sure is widely understood in Britain or in Europe — is already a huge number of the sorties and the support and the air assets that are actually bringing the pressure to bear are U.S. assets. There was this enormous effort at the beginning, as the President said, but also a sustained amount of assets that have been used.

And as the President said, there are also the unique assets and capabilities that the U.S. has that others don’t have that are so vital. And as he said, we all have to ask what is it that we can all do to make sure the pressure is really brought to bear. That is what the British are doing, the French are doing, the Americans are doing. And I know we’ll discuss this in the margins of the G8.

But I’d just make this point, as well. As well as the military pressure, don’t underestimate the pressure of building up the opposition, the contacts we have with the National Transitional Council, the fact that they are opening offices and building support and strength from the allies. Don’t underestimate the extent to which we’re now cutting off oil products to the regime because they’re using them in their tanks and their other military equipment — and also the other steps that I know Americans and others are taking to try and release Libyan assets back into the hands of the National Transitional Council and recognizing them as the right interlocutor for us to speak to.

So in all those ways, we can keep this pressure up over the coming period while showing patience and persistence at the same time.

Tom Bradby from ITV.

Q Mr. President, you’ve talked about the need for robust action on your country’s deficit and debt positions. Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s supporters that he led the way on the issue, or do you feel that in fact he has traveled too far and too fast?

And could I just ask you both, as a sidebar, this time last year we talked about the case of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, on which the Prime Minister has expressed very clear views. You said you would work together to find a solution. So have you found one?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, on your second question, Mr. McKinnon, we have proceeded through all the processes required under our extradition agreements. It is now in the hands of the British legal system. We have confidence in the British legal system coming to a just conclusion. And so we await resolution and will be respectful of that process.

With respect to how we deal with debt and deficits, I said two years ago, the first time I came here, in April of 2009, the first G20 summit that I attended, that each country is different and each country is going to have to make a range of decisions about how to — at that time — dig our way out of the worst recession that we’d experienced since the 1930s, at the same time that we put our countries on a path of sustainable growth that ultimately results in jobs and prosperity for our people and a growing middle class across the board.

And we’ve succeeded in the first part, which is to yank the world economy out of recession, and that was in large part due to concerted action between the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

Now we’ve got that other challenge, which is how do we sustain growth in a way that’s responsible and responsive to the needs of our people. That requires us to continue to make investments in education, science, technology, infrastructure — things that help our economies grow. But it also means governments that live within their means.

And obviously the nature and role of the public sector in the United Kingdom is different than it has been in the United States. The pressures that each country are under from world capital markets are different. The nature of the debt and deficits are different. And as a consequence, the sequencing or pace may end up being different.

But the one thing that I’m absolutely clear about is David and I want to arrive at the same point; a point in which we’re making sure that our governments are doing what they need to do to ensure broad-based prosperity, but doing so in a responsible way that doesn’t mortgage our futures and leave a mountain of debt to future generations.

And the other point I think David and I would agree on is that this is going to be a constant process of trying some things, making adjustments. There are going to be opportunities for us to make investments. There are going to be other areas where we think those were good ideas at the time, programs that were started with the best of intentions and it turns out they’re not working as well as they should. If a program is not working well, we should get rid of it and put that money into programs that are working well. It means that we’ve got to make sure that we take a balanced approach and that there’s a mix of cuts, but also thinking about how do we generate revenue so that there’s a match between money going out and money coming in.

And each country is going to have to go through what is a difficult and painful process. What I’m confident about is that we’re going to be able to come out of this stronger than we were before. And I think that both the people of the United Kingdom and the people of the United States want to see a government that’s reflective of their values — the fact that they take their responsibilities seriously, they pay their bills, they make sure that their families are cared for, they make sacrifices where necessary in order to ensure that their children and their grandchildren are succeeding. And they want those same values reflected in their government, and I think that both our countries are going to be able to achieve that.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you. First of all, in the case of Gary McKinnon, I understand the widespread concern about this case, and it’s not so much about the alleged offense, which everyone knows is a very serious offense; it’s about the issue of the individual and the way they’re treated and the operation of the legal system, and as the President said, making sure that legal system operates properly and carefully.

The case is currently in front of the Home Secretary, who has to consider reports about Gary’s health and his well-being, and it’s right that she does that in a proper and effectively quasi-judicial way.

I totally understand the anguish of his mother and his family about this issue. We must follow the proper processes and make sure this case is dealt with in the proper way. And I’m sure that that is the case.

On the issue of deficit reduction, I mean, I remember when we also spoke about this at the G20, but even before that, when you first came here when you were running as candidate. And I completely agree with Barack that each country is different and has different circumstances. I mean, Britain does not have a reserve currency. We’re not in the same position as the U.S. with the dollar. And I think it was necessary for us to set out on the path of deficit reduction without delay after the election.

And I would argue the proof of that for the UK has been what has happened in capital markets. And as the President just said, capital markets treat different countries differently. Well, in the European context, what you’ve seen since the election is actually market interest rates in the UK, bond yields effectively come down. Whereas you look at what’s happened in Greece or in Portugal or other European countries, you’ve often seen those bond rates increase. That, in my view, is the risk we would have run if we had not set out on the path of deficit reduction.

But each country is different, but when I look across now and see what the U.S. and the UK are currently contemplating for the future, it’s actually relatively similar program in terms of trying to get on top of our deficits and make sure that debt is falling as a share of GDP. Because as the President said, we in the end share a very similar set of values about not wanting to load responsibility for these debts on our children and not wanting to shuck our own responsibilities for straightening out our own public finances.

So as he said, we may take slightly different paths but we want to end up in the same place. It’s an extremely difficult thing to have to do — dealing with your public finances, getting on top of your deficit — but it’s absolutely essential. And we’ve talked a lot today about national security. In the end, there’s no national security unless you have economic security. And that’s an argument that we have to make and win every day here in the United Kingdom.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Christi Parsons, last question.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday in his speech before Congress, the Israeli Prime Minister referred to the Palestinian right of return as “fantasy.” And I wonder if that’s a sentiment you agree with in any way. And also, if you could outline for us a little bit how you — your views on that issue, as well the future of Jerusalem.

And, Mr. Prime Minister, if I may, you said at the top of this press conference that you consider the President’s principles outlined last week to be bold and visionary and, in fact, what needs to be done. And I wonder if that means it makes you less open to the Palestinian campaign for recognition of statehood before the U.N. this fall. Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: My goal, as I set out in the speech I gave last week, is a Jewish state of Israel that is safe and secure and recognized by its neighbors, and a sovereign state of Palestine in which the Palestinian people are able to determine their own fate and their own future. I am confident that can be achieved. It is going to require wrenching compromise by both sides.

Over the last decade, when negotiators have talked about how to achieve that outcome, there have been typically four issues that have been raised. One is the issue of what would the territorial boundaries of a new Palestinian state look like? Number two, how could Israel feel confident that its security needs were being met? Number three, how would the issue of Palestinian refugees be resolved? And number four, the issue of Jerusalem.

The last two questions are extraordinarily emotional. They go deep into how both the Palestinians and the Jewish people think about their own identities. Ultimately they are going to be resolved by the two parties. I believe that those two issues can be resolved if there is the prospect and the promise that we can actually get to a Palestinian state and a secure Jewish state of Israel.

And what my speech did was to say, let’s begin the work with the very hard-nosed but transparent and less — perhaps less emotional issues of what would the territorial boundaries look like and what would Israeli security requirements entail.

And I believe that if the Palestinians and the Israelis begin talking about those two issues and get some resolution, they can start seeing on the horizon the possibility of a peace deal, they will then be in a position to have a — what would be a very difficult conversation about refugees and about Jerusalem.

That’s not something that any party from the outside is going to be able to impose on them. But what I am absolutely certain of is that if they’re not talking, we’re not going to make any progress, and neither the Israeli people or the Palestinian people will be well served.

Let me just make one more comment about the prospects for a serious peace negotiation. The Israelis are properly concerned about the agreement that’s been made between Fatah and Hamas. Hamas has not renounced violence. Hamas is an organization that has thus far rejected the recognition of Israel as a legitimate state. It is very difficult for Israelis to sit across the table and negotiate with a party that is denying your right to exist, and has not renounced the right to send missiles and rockets into your territory.

So, as much as it’s important for the United States, as Israel’s closest friend and partner, to remind them of the urgency of achieving peace, I don’t want the Palestinians to forget that they have obligations as well. And they are going to have to resolve in a credible way the meaning of this agreement between Fatah and Hamas if we’re going to have any prospect for peace moving forward.

As for the United Nations, I’ve already said — I said in the speech last week and I will repeat — the United Nations can achieve a lot of important work. What the United Nations is not going to be able to do is deliver a Palestinian state. The only way that we’re going to see a Palestinian state is if Israelis and Palestinians agree on a just peace.

And so I strongly believe that for the Palestinians to take the United Nations route rather than the path of sitting down and talking with the Israelis is a mistake; that it does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people, it will not achieve their stated goal of achieving a Palestinian state. And the United States will continue to make that argument both in the United Nations and in our various meetings around the world.

Q Do you agree with the comparison between Hamas and al Qaeda?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I believe that Hamas, in its own description of its agenda, has not renounced violence and has not recognized the state of Israel. And until they do, it is very difficult to expect Israelis to have a serious conversation, because ultimately they have to have confidence that a Palestinian state is one that is going to stick to its — to whatever bargain is struck; that if they make territorial compromises, if they arrive at a peace deal, that, in fact, that will mean the safety and security of the Jewish people and of Israel. And Hamas has not shown any willingess to make the kinds of concessions that Fatah has, and it’s going to be very difficult for us to get a Palestinian partner on the other side of the table that is not observing the basic Quartet principles that we both believe — that both David and I believe in — the need to renounce violence, recognize the state of Israel, abide by previous agreements.

That is I think going to be a critical aspect of us being able to jumpstart this process once again.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you. I described the President’s speech as bold and visionary because I think it did an absolutely vital thing, which was to talk about ’67 borders with land swaps. So as the President said, if you think about what both sides absolutely need to know to start this process, those two things are in place.

First, that the Israelis need to know that America and her allies like Britain will always stand up for Israel’s right to exist, right to defend herself, right to secure borders. That is absolutely vital that the Israelis know that their security is absolutely key to us. They need to know that.

But the second thing that needs to be done is the Palestinians need to know that we understand their need for dignity and for a Palestinian state, using the ’67 borders as land swaps as the start point. That is I think what is so key to the speech that’s been made. So neither side now has I believe the excuse to stand aside from talks.

On the specific issue of U.N. recognition, the President is entirely right that in the end the Palestinian state will only come about if the Palestinians and the Israelis can agree to it coming about. That is the vital process that has to take place.

As for Britain, we don’t believe the time for making a decision about the U.N. resolution — there isn’t even one there at the moment — is right yet. We want to discuss this within the European Union and try and maximize the leverage and pressure that the European Union can bring, frankly, on both sides to get this vital process moving.

Both of us in recent days have been to the Republic of Ireland. I went on part of the Queen’s historic trip, and I know Barack has just returned from a very successful trip. And when you look at what had to happen in Northern Ireland in order for peace to come about, is there has to be some recognition and understanding on each side of the other side.

And that is what I think is so crucial in what the President is saying about Hamas and Palestinian unity — which should in some ways be a welcome development if the Palestinians can have one group of people, but not unless those group of people are prepared to accept some of what the people they’re going to negotiate with desperately need.

And that, in the end, is why the peace process in Northern Ireland was successful, because both sides had some understanding of what the other side needed for some dignity and for some peace. And that is what we badly need right now in the Middle East. And I think the President’s speech has been a good step forward in really helping to make that happen. Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me just pick up on what David said about Ireland. It was inspiring to see, after hundreds of years of conflict, people so rapidly reorienting how they thought about themselves, how they thought about those who they thought once were enemies. Her Majesty’s visit had a profound effect on the entire country. And so it was an enormous source of hope. And I think it’s a reminder that as tough as these things are, if you stick to it, if people of goodwill remain engaged, that ultimately even the worst of conflicts can be resolved.

But it is going to take time. And I remain optimistic, but not naively so, that this is going to be hard work and each side is going to have to look inward to determine what is in their long-term interests, and not just what are in their short-term tactical interests, which tends to perpetuate a conflict as opposed to solving it.

And finally let me — also, David, just very briefly, thank you for expressing your condolences and concern about the people of Missouri. We have been battered by some storms not just this week but over the last several months, the largest death toll and devastation that we’ve ever seen from tornadoes in the United States of America. Knowing that we’ve got friends here in the United Kingdom who care deeply and who offer their thoughts and prayers makes all the difference in the world. So thank you very much for that.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you. And the Guinness wasn’t bad in Ireland, either.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It was very good.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

END 1:48 P.M. BST

Full Text May 25, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Address to the British Parliament

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

Remarks by the President to Parliament in London, United Kingdom

President Obama Speaks to UK Parliament

President Barack Obama gives a speech to members of both Houses of Parliament at Westminster Hall in London, England, May 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Westminster Hall, London, United Kingdom

3:47 P.M. BST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

My Lord Chancellor, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, my lords, and members of the House of Commons:

I have known few greater honors than the opportunity to address the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster Hall. I am told that the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela — which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke. (Laughter.)

I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest, one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known. It’s long been said that the United States and the United Kingdom share a special relationship. And since we also share an especially active press corps, that relationship is often analyzed and overanalyzed for the slightest hint of stress or strain.

Of course, all relationships have their ups and downs. Admittedly, ours got off on the wrong foot with a small scrape about tea and taxes. (Laughter.) There may also have been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. (Laughter.) But fortunately, it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

The reason for this close friendship doesn’t just have to do with our shared history, our shared heritage; our ties of language and culture; or even the strong partnership between our governments. Our relationship is special because of the values and beliefs that have united our people through the ages.

Centuries ago, when kings, emperors, and warlords reigned over much of the world, it was the English who first spelled out the rights and liberties of man in the Magna Carta. It was here, in this very hall, where the rule of law first developed, courts were established, disputes were settled, and citizens came to petition their leaders.

Over time, the people of this nation waged a long and sometimes bloody struggle to expand and secure their freedom from the crown. Propelled by the ideals of the Enlightenment, they would ultimately forge an English Bill of Rights, and invest the power to govern in an elected parliament that’s gathered here today.

What began on this island would inspire millions throughout the continent of Europe and across the world. But perhaps no one drew greater inspiration from these notions of freedom than your rabble-rousing colonists on the other side of the Atlantic. As Winston Churchill said, the “…Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.”

For both of our nations, living up to the ideals enshrined in these founding documents has sometimes been difficult, has always been a work in progress. The path has never been perfect. But through the struggles of slaves and immigrants, women and ethnic minorities, former colonies and persecuted religions, we have learned better than most that the longing for freedom and human dignity is not English or American or Western –- it is universal, and it beats in every heart. Perhaps that’s why there are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder, and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom.

We are the allies who landed at Omaha and Gold, who sacrificed side by side to free a continent from the march of tyranny, and help prosperity flourish from the ruins of war. And with the founding of NATO –- a British idea –- we joined a transatlantic alliance that has ensured our security for over half a century.

Together with our allies, we forged a lasting peace from a cold war. When the Iron Curtain lifted, we expanded our alliance to include the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, and built new bridges to Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union. And when there was strife in the Balkans, we worked together to keep the peace.

Today, after a difficult decade that began with war and ended in recession, our nations have arrived at a pivotal moment once more. A global economy that once stood on the brink of depression is now stable and recovering. After years of conflict, the United States has removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, the United Kingdom has removed its forces, and our combat mission there has ended. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum and will soon begin a transition to Afghan lead. And nearly 10 years after 9/11, we have disrupted terrorist networks and dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader –- Osama bin Laden.

Together, we have met great challenges. But as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch before us. In a world where the prosperity of all nations is now inextricably linked, a new era of cooperation is required to ensure the growth and stability of the global economy. As new threats spread across borders and oceans, we must dismantle terrorist networks and stop the spread of nuclear weapons, confront climate change and combat famine and disease. And as a revolution races through the streets of the Middle East and North Africa, the entire world has a stake in the aspirations of a generation that longs to determine its own destiny.

These challenges come at a time when the international order has already been reshaped for a new century. Countries like China, India, and Brazil are growing by leaps and bounds. We should welcome this development, for it has lifted hundreds of millions from poverty around the globe, and created new markets and opportunities for our own nations.

And yet, as this rapid change has taken place, it’s become fashionable in some quarters to question whether the rise of these nations will accompany the decline of American and European influence around the world. Perhaps, the argument goes, these nations represent the future, and the time for our leadership has passed.

That argument is wrong. The time for our leadership is now. It was the United States and the United Kingdom and our democratic allies that shaped a world in which new nations could emerge and individuals could thrive. And even as more nations take on the responsibilities of global leadership, our alliance will remain indispensable to the goal of a century that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more just.

At a time when threats and challenges require nations to work in concert with one another, we remain the greatest catalysts for global action. In an era defined by the rapid flow of commerce and information, it is our free market tradition, our openness, fortified by our commitment to basic security for our citizens, that offers the best chance of prosperity that is both strong and shared. As millions are still denied their basic human rights because of who they are, or what they believe, or the kind of government that they live under, we are the nations most willing to stand up for the values of tolerance and self-determination that lead to peace and dignity.

Now, this doesn’t mean we can afford to stand still. The nature of our leadership will need to change with the times. As I said the first time I came to London as President, for the G20 summit, the days are gone when Roosevelt and Churchill could sit in a room and solve the world’s problems over a glass of brandy -– although I’m sure that Prime Minister Cameron would agree that some days we could both use a stiff drink. (Laughter.) In this century, our joint leadership will require building new partnerships, adapting to new circumstances, and remaking ourselves to meet the demands of a new era.

That begins with our economic leadership.

Adam Smith’s central insight remains true today: There is no greater generator of wealth and innovation than a system of free enterprise that unleashes the full potential of individual men and women. That’s what led to the Industrial Revolution that began in the factories of Manchester. That is what led to the dawn of the Information Age that arose from the office parks of Silicon Valley. That’s why countries like China, India and Brazil are growing so rapidly — because in fits and starts, they are moving toward market-based principles that the United States and the United Kingdom have always embraced.

In other words, we live in a global economy that is largely of our own making. And today, the competition for the best jobs and industries favors countries that are free-thinking and forward-looking; countries with the most creative and innovative and entrepreneurial citizens.

That gives nations like the United States and the United Kingdom an inherent advantage. For from Newton and Darwin to Edison and Einstein, from Alan Turing to Steve Jobs, we have led the world in our commitment to science and cutting-edge research, the discovery of new medicines and technologies. We educate our citizens and train our workers in the best colleges and universities on Earth. But to maintain this advantage in a world that’s more competitive than ever, we will have to redouble our investments in science and engineering, and renew our national commitments to educating our workforces.

We’ve also been reminded in the last few years that markets can sometimes fail. In the last century, both our nations put in place regulatory frameworks to deal with such market failures — safeguards to protect the banking system after the Great Depression, for example; regulations that were established to prevent the pollution of our air and water during the 1970s.

But in today’s economy, such threats of market failure can no longer be contained within the borders of any one country. Market failures can go global, and go viral, and demand international responses.

A financial crisis that began on Wall Street infected nearly every continent, which is why we must keep working through forums like the G20 to put in place global rules of the road to prevent future excesses and abuse. No country can hide from the dangers of carbon pollution, which is why we must build on what was achieved at Copenhagen and Cancun to leave our children a planet that is safer and cleaner.

Moreover, even when the free market works as it should, both our countries recognize that no matter how responsibly we live in our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. And so part of our common tradition has expressed itself in a conviction that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security -– health care if you get sick, unemployment insurance if you lose your job, a dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. That commitment to our citizens has also been the reason for our leadership in the world.

And now, having come through a terrible recession, our challenge is to meet these obligations while ensuring that we’re not consuming — and hence consumed with — a level of debt that could sap the strength and vitality of our economies. And that will require difficult choices and it will require different paths for both of our countries. But we have faced such challenges before, and have always been able to balance the need for fiscal responsibility with the responsibilities we have to one another.

And I believe we can do this again. As we do, the successes and failures of our own past can serve as an example for emerging economies -– that it’s possible to grow without polluting; that lasting prosperity comes not from what a nation consumes, but from what it produces, and from the investments it makes in its people and its infrastructure.

And just as we must lead on behalf of the prosperity of our citizens, so we must safeguard their security. Our two nations know what it is to confront evil in the world. Hitler’s armies would not have stopped their killing had we not fought them on the beaches and on the landing grounds, in the fields and on the streets. We must never forget that there was nothing inevitable about our victory in that terrible war. It was won through the courage and character of our people.

Precisely because we are willing to bear its burden, we know well the cost of war. And that is why we built an alliance that was strong enough to defend this continent while deterring our enemies. At its core, NATO is rooted in the simple concept of Article Five: that no NATO nation will have to fend on its own; that allies will stand by one another, always. And for six decades, NATO has been the most successful alliance in human history.

Today, we confront a different enemy. Terrorists have taken the lives of our citizens in New York and in London. And while al Qaeda seeks a religious war with the West, we must remember that they have killed thousands of Muslims -– men, women and children -– around the globe. Our nations are not and will never be at war with Islam. Our fight is focused on defeating al Qaeda and its extremist allies. In that effort, we will not relent, as Osama bin Laden and his followers have learned. And as we fight an enemy that respects no law of war, we will continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard -– by living up to the values, the rule of law and due process that we so ardently defend.

For almost a decade, Afghanistan has been a central front of these efforts. Throughout those years, you, the British people, have been a stalwart ally, along with so many others who fight by our side.

Together, let us pay tribute to all of our men and women who have served and sacrificed over the last several years -– for they are part of an unbroken line of heroes who have borne the heaviest burden for the freedoms that we enjoy. Because of them, we have broken the Taliban’s momentum. Because of them, we have built the capacity of Afghan security forces. And because of them, we are now preparing to turn a corner in Afghanistan by transitioning to Afghan lead. And during this transition, we will pursue a lasting peace with those who break free of al Qaeda and respect the Afghan constitution and lay down arms. And we will ensure that Afghanistan is never a safe haven for terror, but is instead a country that is strong, sovereign, and able to stand on its own two feet.

Indeed, our efforts in this young century have led us to a new concept for NATO that will give us the capabilities needed to meet new threats — threats like terrorism and piracy, cyber attacks and ballistic missiles. But a revitalized NATO will continue to hew to that original vision of its founders, allowing us to rally collective action for the defense of our people, while building upon the broader belief of Roosevelt and Churchill that all nations have both rights and responsibilities, and all nations share a common interest in an international architecture that maintains the peace.

We also share a common interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. Across the globe, nations are locking down nuclear materials so they never fall into the wrong hands — because of our leadership. From North Korea to Iran, we’ve sent a message that those who flaunt their obligations will face consequences -– which is why America and the European Union just recently strengthened our sanctions on Iran, in large part because of the leadership of the United Kingdom and the United States. And while we hold others to account, we will meet our own obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and strive for a world without nuclear weapons.

We share a common interest in resolving conflicts that prolong human suffering and threaten to tear whole regions asunder. In Sudan, after years of war and thousands of deaths, we call on both North and South to pull back from the brink of violence and choose the path of peace. And in the Middle East, we stand united in our support for a secure Israel and a sovereign Palestine.

And we share a common interest in development that advances dignity and security. To succeed, we must cast aside the impulse to look at impoverished parts of the globe as a place for charity. Instead, we should empower the same forces that have allowed our own people to thrive: We should help the hungry to feed themselves, the doctors who care for the sick. We should support countries that confront corruption, and allow their people to innovate. And we should advance the truth that nations prosper when they allow women and girls to reach their full potential.

We do these things because we believe not simply in the rights of nations; we believe in the rights of citizens. That is the beacon that guided us through our fight against fascism and our twilight struggle against communism. And today, that idea is being put to the test in the Middle East and North Africa. In country after country, people are mobilizing to free themselves from the grip of an iron fist. And while these movements for change are just six months old, we have seen them play out before -– from Eastern Europe to the Americas, from South Africa to Southeast Asia.

History tells us that democracy is not easy. It will be years before these revolutions reach their conclusion, and there will be difficult days along the way. Power rarely gives up without a fight -– particularly in places where there are divisions of tribe and divisions of sect. We also know that populism can take dangerous turns -– from the extremism of those who would use democracy to deny minority rights, to the nationalism that left so many scars on this continent in the 20th century.

But make no mistake: What we saw, what we are seeing in Tehran, in Tunis, in Tahrir Square, is a longing for the same freedoms that we take for granted here at home. It was a rejection of the notion that people in certain parts of the world don’t want to be free, or need to have democracy imposed upon them. It was a rebuke to the worldview of al Qaeda, which smothers the rights of individuals, and would thereby subject them to perpetual poverty and violence.

Let there be no doubt: The United States and United Kingdom stand squarely on the side of those who long to be free. And now, we must show that we will back up those words with deeds. That means investing in the future of those nations that transition to democracy, starting with Tunisia and Egypt -– by deepening ties of trade and commerce; by helping them demonstrate that freedom brings prosperity. And that means standing up for universal rights -– by sanctioning those who pursue repression, strengthening civil society, supporting the rights of minorities.
We do this knowing that the West must overcome suspicion and mistrust among many in the Middle East and North Africa -– a mistrust that is rooted in a difficult past. For years, we’ve faced charges of hypocrisy from those who do not enjoy the freedoms that they hear us espouse. And so to them, we must squarely acknowledge that, yes, we have enduring interests in the region -– to fight terror, sometimes with partners who may not be perfect; to protect against disruptions of the world’s energy supply. But we must also insist that we reject as false the choice between our interests and our ideals; between stability and democracy. For our idealism is rooted in the realities of history -– that repression offers only the false promise of stability, that societies are more successful when their citizens are free, and that democracies are the closest allies we have.

It is that truth that guides our action in Libya. It would have been easy at the outset of the crackdown in Libya to say that none of this was our business -– that a nation’s sovereignty is more important than the slaughter of civilians within its borders. That argument carries weight with some. But we are different. We embrace a broader responsibility. And while we cannot stop every injustice, there are circumstances that cut through our caution -– when a leader is threatening to massacre his people, and the international community is calling for action. That’s why we stopped a massacre in Libya. And we will not relent until the people of Libya are protected and the shadow of tyranny is lifted.

We will proceed with humility, and the knowledge that we cannot dictate every outcome abroad. Ultimately, freedom must be won by the people themselves, not imposed from without. But we can and must stand with those who so struggle. Because we have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free -– from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?

Our action -– our leadership -– is essential to the cause of human dignity. And so we must act -– and lead -– with confidence in our ideals, and an abiding faith in the character of our people, who sent us all here today.

For there is one final quality that I believe makes the United States and the United Kingdom indispensable to this moment in history. And that is how we define ourselves as nations.

Unlike most countries in the world, we do not define citizenship based on race or ethnicity. Being American or British is not about belonging to a certain group; it’s about believing in a certain set of ideals — the rights of individuals, the rule of law. That is why we hold incredible diversity within our borders. That’s why there are people around the world right now who believe that if they come to America, if they come to New York, if they come to London, if they work hard, they can pledge allegiance to our flag and call themselves Americans; if they come to England, they can make a new life for themselves and can sing God Save The Queen just like any other citizen.

Yes, our diversity can lead to tension. And throughout our history there have been heated debates about immigration and assimilation in both of our countries. But even as these debates can be difficult, we fundamentally recognize that our patchwork heritage is an enormous strength — that in a world which will only grow smaller and more interconnected, the example of our two nations says it is possible for people to be united by their ideals, instead of divided by their differences; that it’s possible for hearts to change and old hatreds to pass; that it’s possible for the sons and daughters of former colonies to sit here as members of this great Parliament, and for the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British Army to stand before you as President of the United States. (Applause.)

That is what defines us. That is why the young men and women in the streets of Damascus and Cairo still reach for the rights our citizens enjoy, even if they sometimes differ with our policies. As two of the most powerful nations in the history of the world, we must always remember that the true source of our influence hasn’t just been the size of our economies, or the reach of our militaries, or the land that we’ve claimed. It has been the values that we must never waver in defending around the world — the idea that all beings are endowed by our Creator with certain rights that cannot be denied.

That is what forged our bond in the fire of war — a bond made manifest by the friendship between two of our greatest leaders. Churchill and Roosevelt had their differences. They were keen observers of each other’s blind spots and shortcomings, if not always their own, and they were hard-headed about their ability to remake the world. But what joined the fates of these two men at that particular moment in history was not simply a shared interest in victory on the battlefield. It was a shared belief in the ultimate triumph of human freedom and human dignity -– a conviction that we have a say in how this story ends.

This conviction lives on in their people today. The challenges we face are great. The work before us is hard. But we have come through a difficult decade, and whenever the tests and trials ahead may seem too big or too many, let us turn to their example, and the words that Churchill spoke on the day that Europe was freed:

“In the long years to come, not only will the people of this island but…the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in [the] human heart, look back to what we’ve done, and they will say ‘do not despair, do not yield…march straightforward’.”

With courage and purpose, with humility and with hope, with faith in the promise of tomorrow, let us march straightforward together, enduring allies in the cause of a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, and more just.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 4:21 P.M. BST

On This Day in History May 25, 1961… 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Moon Speech to Congress

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: 50TH ANNIVERSARY JOHN F. KENNEDY’S MOON SPEECH TO CONGRESS

https://i0.wp.com/i.space.com/images/i/9809/i02/kennedy-moon-speech-1961.jpg

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced in an address to a joint session of Congress his goal of sending and putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Stating “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

HEADLINES

  • President Kennedy’s Speech and America’s Next Moonshot Moment: President Kennedy speaks to Congress on May 25, 1961. President Kennedy speaks to Congress on May 25, 1961. Photo Credit: NASA
    This journey into the future has its foundations 50 years in the past, when President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge that transformed the tentative early steps of human spaceflight into a giant leap for mankind.
    In just a short six weeks in the spring of 1961, a trio of dramatic events set the stage for our first journey to another world: Soviet Yuri Gagarin’s first human spaceflight on April 12, was followed on May 5 by Alan Shepard’s first American flight. Then, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy went to Congress for an address on “Urgent National Needs.”
    Kennedy told Congress and the nation that “space is open to us now,” and said that space exploration “may hold the key to our future here on Earth.” Then he issued an audacious challenge to NASA that seemed unthinkable after just a single U.S. spaceflight… – Nasa.gov, 5-25-11
  • Race to Space, Through the Lens of Time: On the 12th, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth — one more space triumph for the Soviet Union. Though the flight was not unexpected, it was nonetheless deflating; it would be more than a month before Alan Shepard became the first American in space, and that was on a 15-minute suborbital flight. On the 17th, a force of anti-Castro exiles, trained by the C.I.A., invaded communist Cuba at the Bay of Pigs — a fiasco within 36 hours. Mr. Kennedy’s close aide Theodore Sorensen described him on the 19th as “anguished and fatigued” and “in the most emotional, self-critical state I had ever seen him.”
    At one meeting, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, the attorney general, “turned on everybody,” it was reported, saying: “All you bright fellows. You got the president into this. We’ve got to do something to show the Russians we are not paper tigers.” At another, the president pleaded: “If somebody can, just tell me how to catch up. Let’s find somebody — anybody. I don’t care if it’s the janitor over there.” Heading back to the Oval Office, he told Mr. Sorensen, “There’s nothing more important.”
    So, 50 years ago, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress and a national television audience, declaring: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
    There it was, the challenge flung before an adversary and to a nation on edge in an unconventional war, the beginning of Project Apollo.
    Echoes of this time lift off the pages of “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon” (Palgrave Macmillan), a new book by John M. Logsdon, a political scientist and longtime space policy specialist at George Washington University. He has drawn on new research in archives, oral histories and memoirs available in recent years to shed new light on the moon race.
    The famous speech came after five weeks of hand wringing, back-channel memos and closed-door conferences, often overseen by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. In those meetings NASA and Pentagon officials, scientists and engineers, budget analysts and others decided that sending astronauts to the Moon by the end of the sixties was the country’s best shot at overcoming the Soviet post-Sputnik command of the orbital front in the cold war…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • The Moon and Man at 50: Why JFK’s Space Exploration Speech Still Resonates: Fifty years ago today (May 25), President John F. Kennedy presented NASA and the nation with a historic challenge: To put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the 1960s.
    Kennedy’s dramatic 1961 speech jump-started NASA’s Apollo program, a full-bore race to the moon that succeeded when Neil Armstrong’s boot clomped down into the lunar dirt on July 20, 1969. The moon landing was a tremendous achievement for humanity and a huge boost to American technological pride, which had been seriously wounded by several recent space race defeats to the Soviet Union.
    The impact of Kennedy’s words lingers still, long after Apollo came to an end in 1972. The speech fundamentally changed NASA, ramping up the space agency’s public profile and creating a huge infrastructure that continues to exist today. [Photos: John F. Kennedy’s NASA Legacy]
    “This is the most significant decision made by our national political leaders in relation to space activities,” said Roger Launius, space history curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. In addition to starting up humanity’s first journey to another world, he added, “it transformed NASA into a big space-spectacular agency, which it wasn’t before.”
    Kennedy made his speech before a special joint session of Congress just four months after being sworn in as president. Filled with proposed policy initiatives (the moon challenge being the last and most dramatic of these), the address was an attempt to get his presidency on track after a very bumpy start…. – Space.com, 5-25-11
  • The 1961 JFK Speech That Sparked ‘Apollo’ and Led Space Exploration to New Heights: NASA’s exploration solidified scientific understanding of moon’s formation and planetary science.
    Fifty years ago, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy told a joint session of Congress that “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
    His vision became NASA’s Apollo program, which conducted six successful manned lunar landings during 1969-72 and brought the crews and the moon rocks that they collected safely home. As Kennedy intended, the Apollo program established the nation’s preeminence in spaceflight, but it also produced a revolution in scientific understanding of the moon, sparking a debate that continues today about the relative merits of manned and robotic exploration.
    Kennedy’s call to action was viewed as a largely geopolitical maneuver, intended to achieve U.S. supremacy in rocketry and space travel at a time when the Soviet Union had gained a huge head start by launching Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, and Yuri Gagarin — the first man to orbit Earth. There were defense implications: rockets that launch manned capsules into orbit could also propel nuclear weapons across intercontinental distances.
    Whether Apollo had a strong scientific purpose at first or not, the president’s speech “was tremendously influential,” said retired astronomer William E. Howard, who served in military, academic, and intelligence organizations. “[It] inspired a lot of people to go into science.”… – Fox News, 5-25-11
  • JFK’s Man-on-Moon Dream Shown on Tapes to Be Offset by Worry Over Stunt: Then U.S. President John F. Kennedy gives a speech on the nation’s space effort before a special session of Congress in Washington, on May 25, 1961. Source: AFP/Getty Images
    John F. Kennedy’s call to send a man to the moon symbolized the soaring ambition associated with his presidency. In private, he was more a cold-eyed realist, concerned that the mission would be dismissed as a costly “stunt” and might be better recast as a military venture.
    A presidential recording to be released today by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum reveals a Kennedy conversation in the Oval Office with then-NASA administrator James Webb in which the president expresses doubts that belie his public promotion of manned space travel.
    “This looks like a hell of a lot of dough to go to the moon,” Kennedy told Webb at the September 1963 meeting.
    The release marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s speech to Congress on May 25, 1961, in which he said the U.S. should commit within the decade to “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
    “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish,” Kennedy said.
    Two years after that address, the president was confronting budget issues as he was contemplating his 1964 re-election campaign, acknowledging that the moon mission probably wouldn’t be accomplished during his time in office.
    His conversation with Webb took place on Sept. 18, 1963, two months before the president was assassinated in Dallas…. – Bloomberg, 5-25-11
  • JFK had doubts about moon landing Questioned costs, voters’ reactions: “I predict you are not going to be sorry,’’ NASA Administrator James Webb said to JFK. “I predict you are not going to be sorry,’’ NASA Administrator James Webb said to JFK. (Abbie Rowe/ JFK Library And Museum/ File 1961)
    Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy stood before Congress and audaciously declared that before the end of the decade, the United States should land a man on the moon.
    “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space,’’ he said, delivering a confident rejoinder to the Soviet Union’s successes in the space race.
    But two years later, the president struggled with doubts about the expensive program as he prepared for his reelection campaign and worried that public and congressional support was waning, according to a newly declassified tape being released today by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
    The recording of a frank, 46-minute White House meeting with NASA Administrator James Webb in September 1963 provides a window into Kennedy’s thinking, revealing political calculations as well as more personal reactions. At one point during the conversation, Kennedy asks, “If I get reelected, I’m not — we’re not — go[ing] to the moon in my — in our period are we?’’
    Webb tells him no, and Kennedy’s voice drops with disappointment: “We’re not going . . . yeah.’’
    “What I love is that you get every part of him as a person — him doubting the American public is interested in it; then he asks are we going to land in my presidency,’’ said Maura Porter, an archivist at the Kennedy Library. “This is just two months before his death and he thinks space has lost its glamour with the American public — he doesn’t see space being a political positive as he goes into the ‘64 campaign.”… – Boston Globe, 5-25-11

QUOTES

  • Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961
    President John F. Kennedy Delivered in person before a joint session of Congress May 25, 1961:

    IX. SPACE
    Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.
    I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.
    Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of leadtime, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.
    I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:
    First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
    Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.
    Third, an additional 50 million dollars will make the most of our present leadership, by accelerating the use of space satellites for world-wide communications.
    Fourth, an additional 75 million dollars–of which 53 million dollars is for the Weather Bureau–will help give us at the earliest possible time a satellite system for world-wide weather observation.
    Let it be clear–and this is a judgment which the Members of the Congress must finally make–let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs: 531 million dollars in fiscal ’62–an estimated seven to nine billion dollars additional over the next five years. If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all.
    Now this is a choice which this country must make, and I am confident that under the leadership of the Space Committees of the Congress, and the Appropriating Committees, that you will consider the matter carefully.
    It is a most important decision that we make as a nation. But all of you have lived through the last four years and have seen the significance of space and the adventures in space, and no one can predict with certainty what the ultimate meaning will be of mastery of space.
    I believe we should go to the moon. But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.
    This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel.
    New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. They could in fact, aggravate them further–unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.
    JFK Library

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

  • JFK’s Moon Shot: Q & A With Space Policy Expert John Logsdon: On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most memorable speeches of the 20th century. He challenged Congress and the American people to put a man on the moon, and return him safely to Earth, by the end of the decade.
    The rest, of course, is history. NASA’s Apollo program roared to life, and just eight years later Neil Armstrong’s boot crunched down into the lunar dirt. [Photos: JFK and NASA]
    Kennedy’s announcement came close on the heels of two embarrassing American Cold War defeats. The Soviet Union had put the first human being, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in space on April 12, 1961. Less than a week later came the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a failed CIA-backed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist government in Cuba.
    As the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s momentous speech approaches, SPACE.com caught up with historian and space policy expert John Logsdon, author of “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon” (Palgrave Macmillian, 2010). [50 Years of Presidential Visions for Spaceflight]
    Logsdon chatted about what drove Kennedy to make the speech, and what it means today:
    SPACE.com: What did Kennedy hope to achieve with this speech? Was he just interested in beating the Soviets, or did he also want to jump-start a space program that was still in its infancy?
    John Logsdon: In the immediate aftermath of Gagarin, on April the 20th, he had asked his advisers to find him a “space program which promises dramatic results in which we could win.” So that was the guidance he set out: something in space, dramatic, win.
    There were no real alternatives, either in space or, as he told his science adviser, in any other area that would have the impact of a space achievement. The Soviet Union kind of had defined the playing field as space success, and Kennedy came to the conclusion that he had no choice but to accept that game rather than try to shift the stakes into something else. [Biggest Revelations of the Space Age]
    SPACE.com: Why did Kennedy choose the moon? Were there other options that could also have shown American technological superiority and restored our pride?
    Logsdon: Well, the technical basis for choosing the moon was, it was the first thing that [famed rocket designer] Wernher von Braun and others in NASA said the Soviet Union could not do with its existing rocket. They would have to build a new, larger rocket to send people to the surface of the moon. And so the moon became the first thing where the United States had, as von Braun said, a sporting chance to be first. [Giant Leaps: Top Milestones of Human Spaceflight]
    SPACE.com: JFK’s announcement charted the course of NASA for a decade. What were its longer-lasting effects?
    Logsdon: I think it’s charted the course of NASA for most of the 50 years since, in the sense that it created a large organization built around large engineering projects centered on human spaceflight, with an institutional base of civil servants and contractors and facilities that exists today, and still has the expectation that the country will provide support.
    I kind of look at the budget curve for Apollo as a rollercoaster. Kennedy’s commitment took the space program up the front end of that rollercoaster and over the top, and the momentum has lasted a long, long time. I think it’s just about gone now…. – Space.com, 5-25-11

1961 – JFK – Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs

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