Remarks by Vice President Biden Marking the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” Speech, As Prepared For Delivery
Remarks by Vice President Biden Marking the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” Speech, As Prepared For Delivery
President John F. Kennedy Library & Museum
I want you to imagine—I want you to imagine the benefits to the first country that develops smart anti-cancer therapies that kill cancer cells and leave ordinary cells untouched.
Imagine the first country that develops regenerative medicines that can re-grow damaged organs, eliminating the agonizing wait for an organ transplant, allowing patients to recover from spinal cord injuries, and curing diseases like diabetes.
Imagine the first country that makes solar power as cheap as fossil fuels, and builds the first buildings that are able to produce all the energy they consume.
Imagine the first country to build a supercomputer capable of performing a million-trillion calculations a second – a computer fast enough to not only sequence every gene in the human body, but to test every combination of genes – giving us a new ability to fundamentally decode the complex interactions between genetics and disease.
Imagine the first country that creates a car battery that’s even lighter and cheaper than the new lithium ion batteries of today – able to store enough energy from one charge to take a car 1,000 miles.
Of one thing I am convinced: If President Kennedy were standing here today, this is what he would imagine, this is what he would envision – and then he would challenge America to accomplish all of these goals and more. He would challenge us to push the boundaries of our own knowledge and our present capacity. To bridge the gap between the possible and the unimaginable.
For it would have been beyond his comprehension that the United States would fail to invest in visionary new ideas. Ideas needed to make the 21st century livable.
I don’t believe he could have imagined the United States continuing to rely on fossil fuels. I don’t believe he could have imagined the United States failing to cultivate new brilliant young scientists, and to challenge them to end the diseases that have plagued humanity for generations.
In an ever-more complicated and interconnected world, Ladies and gentlemen, I believe if he were standing here today, he would tell us, as he did 50 years ago, that we have a choice about what kind of country we are going to be. That vision should not be a hard sell today, in 2011. For because of President Kennedy’s vision, leadership, and confidence, we’ve already met such a challenge – by relying on all the resources and talents America possesses today.
50 years ago, President Kennedy said, “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 marshaled 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…”
He said that we needed, “a degree of dedication, organization, and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts.”But because of him, we don’t have to say that.
We have made national decisions on this scale and of this magnitude. We have marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have specified long range goals on an urgent time schedule. Because of the visionary leadership of a young president, we know it can be done. We know we can mobilize to meet the challenges of the moment.
I was 18 years old when President Kennedy gave his moon shot speech. An 18 year old kid from Scranton, who never dreamed that he would one day be standing here to pay tribute to the power and vision and achievement that grew out of President Kennedy’s words that day – and to urge a new generation to honor his actions with our own. What a great honor.
I remember President Kennedy saying it was up to us—up to the nation—to decide whether to commit ourselves to the challenge of sending a man to the moon and bringing him safely back to earth. That if we weren’t going to go for it full tilt, we might as well not go for it at all.
In 1961, President Kennedy’s character and makeup was a reflection not only of his generation, but of America’s character. Well, I am confident my generation and yours is not only up to the task – but even better position to meet the daunting challenges of this young century.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Society is like a wave….”America has not changed, it’s gotten better. Nothing incremental. He had, as I do, an unlimited faith in the character and the aspirations of the American people. He knew that the American people had never failed to rise to a challenge, never failed to overcome adversity, and never let their country down.
From a revolution for independence, to a war to keep us united, the throes of a Great Depression, to building and deploying an arsenal of democracy and expanding democracy at home through Civil Rights and civil justice American has always been at its best when challenged. That’s when you see our national grit. Determination. Ingenuity.
That’s why President Kennedy said, speaking of the challenge to go to the moon, that if we came together and took up the challenge, then “in a very real sense, it [would] not be one man going to the moon…for all of us must work to put him there.” I knew, as a young man, how bold it was. How exciting it was. It appealed to America’s essential exceptionalism, the idea that we were a special nation, meant to do extraordinary things. Even then, my friends, I sensed that this challenge was about more than landing on the moon.
It was bigger than that. It was about a truly new frontier.
You just knew in your gut that the process of getting there, the pursuit of the moon, would open whole new vistas to humanity. It would be a new measure of possibility—a new mark of human achievement.
President Kennedy knew that going to the moon would change the way we lived on earth. That it wasn’t about going to a distant world, but bringing the United States into the modern world, and making sure we didn’t lose our place in it. And he was right.
The pursuit of the moon inspired thousands in my generation to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology. It unleashed one of the most significant expansions of scientific capacity the world had ever known. And my impression was that he never had a doubt that it would. Because he knew our history. He knew the equation of America: challenge plus investment equals progress.
A half century later, President Obama and I share that same conviction, that same faith, and that same certitude. For the new frontiers here on earth are equally as challenging, and equally capable of being conquered. A new energy policy that will save the planet from global warming, increase our independence, and renew our economy.
Advances in science and health that will increase the quality of life for millions of Americans and tens of millions of people the world over. This is an incredible time in which we live, a time of extraordinary possibilities. We are a nation of people who are always about – possibilities.
What is truly unique about America is that we have the political system, the economic system, the education system, and, most importantly, the will to turn those possibilities into realities.
But like President Kennedy we understand that it takes a national vision, it takes a leader to set the goal, and if he does, investment and innovation, and ultimately, commercialization will follow. Over and over again, that’s been the American model of innovation, allowing us to lead the world in technological advancement the past 250 years. It’s part of our nation’s DNA; it’s embedded in our nation’s history.
But the goals are not America’s alone. Other nations are seeking to win the future as well. You see it in China and India and Brazil, countries that are making massive investments in research, development, infrastructure, education.
If we shrink from President Kennedy’s bold approach, we run the risk of being left behind. We and the world are at a critical juncture, and the United States needs to reassert its commitment to competitiveness – competitiveness that puts us in a position to be the global economic leader of the 21st century.
That is why President Obama has set such bold goals to meet the challenges of this generation. Think about it: We know we can be generating 80% of America’s electricity from clean sources by 2035. We launched what we call a “SunShot” to make solar energy as affordable as traditional forms of energy. And I assure you, just as in the moonshot – in pursuit of that goal – we will develop new technologies that will leapfrog anything we’re thinking about right now.
We know that with the seed money we’ve already provided through the Recovery Act, that private industry can put a million advanced technology vehicles – electrics and plug-in hybrids – on the road by 2015. But we also know, along the way, they will develop a whole new generation of batteries that will ultimately be able to carry a car father than 1,000 miles on a single charge – and batteries that can store the energy we harvest from the sun, not only from automobiles but for industrial use as well.
We know that we must and will lead the world in the percentage of college graduates by the end of the decade, because we know our people. We know America. There is no reason why, in the 21st century, America cannot have the best educated, best trained population mankind has ever known. We have the talent, resources, and know-how.
In the process of doing all this, your generation will be responsible for fundamental breakthroughs not only in the far reaches of space, or the depths of the sea, in the confines of our own bodies, and in the mysteries of the human brain.
A great deal has been written about the advances we’ve made in the last quarter century in understanding the brain functions and the potential that will come from further study. There’s been a great of research in the last half decade, research that has attracted the interest not only of neuroscientists and surgeons, but gifted persons from other disciplines – psychologists, sociologists, and journalists.
One example that I recommend to you all is David Brooks’ new book, “The Social Animal” – that points out with greater understanding of the potential we have to affect social interaction in ways we haven’t ever thought of before.
The promise in this area is unlimited, and the need for further research is immediate. Thousands of our wounded warriors are retuning with Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries. For these and other reasons, our administration has made an unprecedented commitment to advancing understanding of the brain – through the NIH, through the National Science Foundation, through the Department of Defense, and through the VA.
We’re supporting the Human Connectome Project – dedicated to discovering the “wiring diagram” for the human brain. The Human Connectome Project will lead to major advances in our understanding of how our brain circuitry changes as we age and how it differs in people with neurological or psychiatric illnesses.
We’re supporting a consortium of researchers to create stem cells from patients with Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. This allows researchers to better understand the progression of these diseases, and to screen potential drug candidates.
We’re supporting the development of “neural prosthesis,” which is in the nascent stages of allowing individuals with prosthesis to control them by their thought process.
We’re also supporting Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s bold new campaign, called One Mind for Research.
Many of you are here today as part of that effort. Your work truly is a modern moonshot. There’s no question that President Kennedy’s spirit is alive today in this nation, in this audience, and in the DNA of Patrick Kennedy.
The truth is, just as JFK couldn’t have known that shooting for the moon would create the semiconductor industry, which would give birth to the personal computer industry, which would give us IBM and Microsoft and Apple, who gave us the iPhone – and who knows where this goes next?
We cannot know with certainty what our fundamental recommitment to science, and research and development will yield. But we do know, from experience that the results will be greater than the sum of the parts, and the rewards will be far greater than the original investment. And we also know that the march into the future will continue whether we lead it or not.
President Kennedy understood this 50 years ago. Here’s what he said, “The exploration of space will go ahead whether we join in it or not…and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.”
No nation that expects to be the leader of others can afford to be a follower on confronting the critical challenges of today. But just as there were naysayers in 1961, there are naysayers in 2011. They say our economy is too fragile for us to be so bold. I say, our economy will stay fragile, unless we are bold. They say we cannot afford to invest in these endeavors. I say, we cannot fail to invest.
This argument is not new to America. There are those in the political leadership who hold the view that government has no role, and should not be setting out a vision for America’s future. I would argue that at every juncture, they’ve been proven wrong.
If we had listened to those voices in 1774, private enterprise and government would not have collaborated to build the rifles with interchangeable parts needed to win the Revolutionary War.
If we had listened to these voices in 1843, Congress never would have collaborated with Samuel Morse build a demonstration telegraph line, from Washington to Baltimore and unleashing a telecommunications revolution.
If President Lincoln had listened to those voices in the middle of the Civil War, he wouldn’t have paid private railroad companies $16,000 dollars for every 40 miles of track on a transcontinental railroad they laid down.
If President Eisenhower had listened to those voices in 1957, he never would have invested millions of government dollars in a new research endeavor called ARPA, which invented the Arpanet, which became the Internet.
And if President Kennedy has listened to those voices, we never would have reached for the moon, and reaped the incredible benefits that flowed from that effort. And I assure you that neither President Obama and I are going to listen to those voices, and mortgage the future of your generation.
In his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.”
Today, we are summoned again. Let us have the strength, courage, and vision to answer that call.
For in the words of President Obama, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
Thank you. May God bless America. And may God protect our troops.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
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 greatergenerator 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.)
Strengthened Collaboration Between the United States and United Kingdom
The Prime Minister and President Obama announced today six specific areas where the United Kingdom and the United States will strengthen our cooperation in the coming months. They span security and support to Armed Forces personnel; commitments to collaboration in science, higher education, volunteerism and international development; and the development of cyberspace.
Strengthened collaboration in science and higher education
The UK and the United States will increase the links between our higher education institutions through increased post-graduate student and researcher exchange programs. We will also collaborate on a number of significant research projects and will embark together on an ambitious program to create the world’s first combined space weather model.
Support for Armed Forces Personnel
The UK and the U.S. will work together through the establishment of a Service Personnel and Veterans Task Force with the aim of delivering the best possible support for serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans. It will focus on linking service personnel, veterans and families to their local communities; helping those leaving the Services into civilian life; and supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel.
UK-U.S. Partnership for Global Development
The Prime Minister and President reaffirmed their commitment to changing the lives of 1.2 billion people in the world today. The UK and the U.S. will work together to advance economic growth; prevent conflict in fragile states; improve global health particularly for girls and women; and mitigate the effects of climate change.
U.S. Peace Corps and VSO Partnership on Volunteerism
The U.S. Peace Corps and VSO will jointly promote volunteering and active citizenship through people to people exchanges. They will work together alongside local communities and organisations on development priorities and they will enhance their effectiveness by sharing best practice in training, systems and innovation.
Increased cooperation in cyberspace
The UK and the U.S. will work together to nurture and accelerate the opportunities and growth that cyberspace offers the global economy by building international consensus on the broad principles that will sustain and enhance the prosperity, security and openness of our networked world.
Analyzing future challenges in the global economic and security environment
A UK-U.S. Joint Strategy Board will help to develop a coordinated approach to long term challenges in the global economic and security environment. The Board will be co-chaired by the U.S. National Security Staff and the UK National Security Secretariat. It will meet quarterly and will report to the U.S. and UK National Security Advisors, Thomas E. Donilon and Sir Peter Ricketts.
Joint Fact Sheet: Peace Corps and VSO Partnership on Volunteerism to Promote Global Development
“And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.”
– President Barack Obama, June 4, 2009
“I want young people from this country to have the chance to really understand the challenges faced by people in very poor countries, by living and working alongside them to improve their lives.”
— Prime Minister David Cameron, March 9, 2011
The partnership between Peace Corps and VSO will leverage the resources of both organizations to improve the lives of poor and marginalized people, and to promote the value of volunteering in global development. Peace Corps and VSO will harness complementary strengths, share knowledge and collaborate on key development interests, building on our nations’ shared history of volunteerism.
Leaders in International Volunteerism for more than 50 Years
Peace Corps and VSO are leading global organizations that fight poverty by using the power of people and volunteers to bring about lasting change. Both organizations are founded on an approach that puts people first, and fosters capacity building and knowledge exchange in a way that transforms poor and marginalised communities worldwide. Peace Corps and VSO’s joint network of almost 10,000 currently serving volunteers in nearly 95 countries, combined with an alumni base of more than 250,000 former volunteers, will enhance global volunteerism efforts and create lasting change.
Complementing One Another, Building on Strengths
Peace Corps and VSO have informally collaborated for more than a decade through sharing training resources and collaborating on volunteer site assignments. In line with best practice, the two organizations will capitalize on this joint work, thereby increasing the global impact of their efforts in the more than 25 countries where both organizations currently operate. Volunteers from both organizations will work alongside local communities and organizations on development priorities, as well as supporting them in building a lasting legacy of local volunteerism, that will make a real and sustainable difference to the lives of poor people.
Increased Impact through Partnership
- Peace Corps and VSO will promote volunteering and active citizenship. Through people to people exchanges, Peace Corps and VSO will support together the efforts of countries to develop their own volunteer programs to engage local citizens in shaping their communities and futures.
- Peace Corps and VSO will address urgent development challenges in areas such as education, health, HIV/AIDS, youth development, gender, climate change and citizen participation by sharing knowledge, resources, and training capabilities to further enhance each organization’s current programming and training.
- Peace Corps and VSO will collaborate on organizational effectiveness. By sharing best practice in training, systems and innovation, the partnership will enhance the effectiveness of both organizations.
Joint Fact Sheet: U.S. and UK Cooperation on Cyberspace
Today, President Obama and PM Cameron reaffirmed their close bilateral cooperation, and charted important new steps forward, on an area of increasing attention: cyberspace issues, particularly cybersecurity.
A shared vision for cyberspace’s future. Leaders noted that networked technology now provides one of the essential foundations for opportunities and growth within any modern prosperous global economy, and outlined their shared vision for cyberspace which places at its heart fundamental freedoms of speech and association, individual privacy, and the free flow of information.
Building consensus on responsible behavior. Both recognized that the same kinds of “rules of the road” that help maintain peace, security, and respect for individual rights internationally must equally apply in cyberspace. Leaders’ highlighted their commitment to building consensus on the basic principles, and participating in the London International Cyber Conference in November 2011.
Protecting our citizens and building the rule of law. Through its deposit of instruments of accession in Strasbourg today, the United Kingdom has now joined the U.S. and 30 other states as parties to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the world’s foremost treaty to combat cybercrime internationally. The Convention sets standards for national laws in dealing with online fraud and abuse, but even more importantly permits effective cooperation between nations — a crucial tool since so many cybercrimes cross national boundaries. Noting this landmark achievement, leaders’ agreed to continue work to expand the reach of this important treaty.
Partnering with industry to win the future. In recent months, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron each hosted milestone discussions with leaders from their respective technology industries. These innovators help spur the investment and long-term job growth on which economies depend; noting their contribution, Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama will continue to find ways to join with industry to maintain national competitiveness.
Expanding the reach of networked technologies. The U.S. and UK are committed to partnering to help more countries benefit from information and communications technologies. Leaders’ will direct new and regular government-wide consultations, sharing strategies and plans to more effectively deploy resources in building technological capacity in the developing world.
Sharing a responsibility for cybersecurity. Leaders’ concluded by noting the relationship on cybersecurity issues remains deeper than ever; that both nations benefit from a shared awareness of threats to national networks, share measures to better defend them. To maintain that leadership and better confront tomorrow’s threats, the President and Prime Minister noted new trans-Atlantic initiatives to provide joint funding and review of cybersecurity research and development (R&D) projects.
Joint Fact Sheet: U.S.-UK Task Force to Support Our Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans and Their Families
Joint Fact Sheet: U.S.-UK Task Force to Support Our Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans and Their Families
Defense is a cornerstone of the UK-U.S. relationship. Since World War II, seven decades ago, British and American Service personnel have operated side-by-side in conflicts around the world. From the Korean and the Cold Wars to the Gulf and Iraq Wars, our alliance has evolved and strengthened. British personnel serve in U.S. units, and American soldiers, sailors, marines and air force personnel operate in British units. In Afghanistan, where we and our NATO allies and partners are working side-by-side in support of the Afghan Government, our alliance is stronger than ever. We intend to keep it that way. We also share a commitment to deliver the best possible support for the men and women of our Armed Forces and our Veterans. To that end, we have agreed to establish a new Service Personnel Task Force to build on existing cooperation and share best practices on support to Service personnel and their families.
Both the U.K. and U.S. Armed Forces have shouldered an enormous burden in recent years. When our people – our greatest assets – go to war, they and their families need to have the best possible support both then and in the future. Therefore, we have agreed to build on existing cooperation by establishing a Task Force to share best practice in supporting our Veterans, Service personnel and their families. As our servicemen and women have stood shoulder to shoulder in recent operations so the U.S. and UK will stand together in recognizing the sacrifices made by them and their families and in ensuring that we give them the best support possible.
The Task Force will bring together teams of UK and U.S. experts from inside government and will seek the views and involvement of the charitable and business sector where appropriate. The President and the Prime Minister have named the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (Dr. Clifford Stanley) and the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Mr. Andrew Robathan MP) to lead the task force jointly.
The task force will initially focus on three strands of work:
- Supporting Service personnel, veterans and families, in particular linking them to local communities.
- Supporting the transition of those leaving the Services into civilian life, including vocational training and education.
- Supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel, including physical and psychological care and rehabilitation.
Joint Fact Sheet: U.S.-UK Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Collaboration
Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama agree that science and higher education are the foundation stones of their two nations’ 21st century economies and that the UK and U.S. have a responsibility to further their global leadership roles in these essential fields. The U.S. funds approximately one-third of the world’s scientific research and the UK is first among G-8 countries in scientific publications and citations as a fraction of GDP. In higher education, the U.S. and UK are home to the world’s ten highest ranking universities.
Recognizing the great potential for productive cooperation in these domains, the Prime Minister and President reaffirmed during the State visit their mutual commitment to strong collaboration in science and higher education and agreed to work to increase the number of joint endeavours among individuals in cutting-edge laboratories, universities, scientific societies, think tanks, government agencies to develop human capital and ensure a strong and agile knowledge base. They expressed particular support for cooperation in fields that will create jobs and generate new economic opportunities in both countries while tackling some of the most pressing global challenges facing the world today. The leaders also expressed a determination to maintain research excellence that leads to economic growth and job creation.
The UK and the U.S. are world-leading knowledge economies and enjoy the most productive bilateral higher education relationship in the world, with each country being the other’s top destination for overseas study—a partnership worth more than $1 billion annually. The Prime Minister and President welcomed the forthcoming meeting of the UK-U.S. Higher Education Policy Forum. They also encouraged further strengthening of institutional higher education links including international internships and other modes of mutual mobility for students and faculty members—between the U.S. and UK and in cooperation with other global partners—to better equip American and British students with the skills needed to succeed in and bolster the global economy.
The leaders welcomed in particular the growing partnership between the UK Meteorological Office (Met Office) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, codified with the signing of an historic Memorandum of Agreement in February 2011. This agreement provides for a coordinated U.S.-UK partnership in the delivery of space weather alerts to help provide critical infrastructure protection around the globe. The two governments announced today that they will embark together on an ambitious program to create the world’s first combined space weather model capable of forecasting terrestrial weather with great accuracy and also indicating where, when, and for how long space weather effects will persist in our upper atmosphere and whether these anomalies are likely to disrupt and degrade GPS-enabled positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities.
In addition, the leaders announced a package of significant ongoing and future activities intended to deepen their partnership and commitment to meeting global challenges in the following areas: Space Science and Exploration, Clean Energy and Climate Science, Food Security, Health and Wellbeing, Innovation and Growth. Each of these is detailed on the corresponding Joint Statement Addendum on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Collaboration.
Addendum on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Collaboration
The Prime Minister and President highlighted the long and distinguished tradition of bilateral collaboration in science and innovation, noting that some 30 percent of the UK’s internationally co-authored papers are with US partners and those papers produce an impact that is 50 percent higher than the UK research-base average. The leaders expressed their determination to maintain research excellence that leads to economic growth and job creation and asked their respective science advisers to advance strategic discussions on areas of mutual interest while also encouraging closer ties between the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology (CST). The leaders also agreed to work together in several specific research areas including:
Innovation, Jobs, and Growth: The U.S. and the UK are two of the world’s most active investors in venture capital. The leaders agreed to work together to ensure that innovative, high-growth businesses have access to venture capital to fund their growth and create highly skilled jobs. The Prime Minister and President also noted their respective countries’ achievements in attracting research and development investment from overseas. They welcomed the decision by Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science and Technology and its company Janssen to partner with six leading British Universities to undertake cutting edge neuroscience research.
Space Science and Exploration: The Prime Minister and President noted that the U.S. and the UK have enjoyed fruitful bilateral cooperation in earth and space science and look forward to new initiatives in these areas and in space exploration. The leaders also acknowledged the significant contributions to understanding our own planet and noted the UK’s important contributions, through the European Space Agency and in collaborations with the U.S., relating to Mars exploration, astronomy, and space physics.
Terrestrial and Space Weather: In addition to the collaborations detailed above, the Met Office and NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center will establish a second 24/7 space weather forecast office to complement and coordinate the dissemination of actionable space weather information. At this years’ World Meteorological Congress, the two countries have agreed to work together with other international partners to implement a fully operational global space weather warning system. This close engagement will reflect the increasingly international nature of space whilst respecting our separate national priorities.
Health and Wellbeing: The two leaders endorsed collaboration between world-class longitudinal studies in the U.S. and UK, with the potential to transform our understanding of issues such as childhood obesity, cancer, aging, and emotional wellbeing. The President and PM Cameron also welcomed the involvement of the Economic and Social Research Council in partnership with the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in the development of a U.S. National Research Council Panel on Measuring Subjective Wellbeing, which has the potential to generate new insights that will directly inform social and economic policies. The two leaders also noted the new programme of joint research on the ecology of infectious diseases.
Clean Energy and Climate Science: The two leaders agreed on the importance of continued collaboration and concerted international effort in clean energy and climate science. They expressed their strong support for the next Clean Energy Ministerial, which will take place in London in 2012. They endorsed the announcement of UK co-funding of the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for International Research and Education program in the area of Sustainable Materials for Energy, agreeing that sustainability should be a key consideration when making choices among competing energy technology options. The U.S., through its Department of Agriculture (USDA), will continue working with the UK as a part of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases to address mitigation of greenhouse gases from croplands, livestock production systems, and paddy rice, while enhancing food security. In addition, the UK and U.S. entities are engaging African and Asian developing countries in the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project to better understand the implications of climate change on food production and food security around the world and to develop adaption strategies. They emphasized the importance of data sharing and open science data policies that support climate research and modelling.
FACT SHEET: The U.S.-UK Joint Strategy Board
The United States and the United Kingdom today are announcing the creation of a Joint Strategy Board. The Board will help enable a more guided, coordinated approach to analyze the “over the horizon” challenges we may face in the future and also how today’s challenges are likely to shape our future choices. It is designed to better integrate long-term thinking and planning into the day-to-day work of our governments and our bilateral relationship, as we contemplate how significant evolutions in the global economic and security environment will require shifts in our shared strategic approach.
The Joint Strategy Board, co-chaired by the U.S. National Security Staff and the U.K. National Security Secretariat, will include representatives from the Departments of State and Defense, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Joint Intelligence Organization. It will report to the U.S. and U.K. National Security Advisors, Thomas E. Donilon and Sir Peter Ricketts.
The Joint Strategy Board will meet quarterly alternating between sites in the United States and United Kingdom. The U.S. and U.K. National Security Advisors will review the status of the Board after one year and decide whether to renew its mandate.
Joint Fact Sheet: The U.S.-UK Partnership for Global Development
Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama reaffirm our commitment to changing the lives of the 1.2 billion poor people in the world today. Recent success and new technologies provide hope and opportunities to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Combating poverty, mitigating disasters and preventing conflict is morally right and is firmly in line with our respective national interests and fundamental values. The President and Prime Minister are pleased to announce our collective interventions to achieve the best results for the world’s poorest people—advance economic growth, prevent conflict in fragile states, improve global health particularly for girls and women, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The private sector is the key to stimulating sustainable economic growth, which helps countries pull themselves out of poverty. We will help create the right environment for business, markets and investments in education, skills and innovation, in addition to building capable and accountable institutions and governments. Together, we will tackle corruption and bribery that prevent resources from reaching the people they are intended to help. We will renew our efforts to stimulate trade and regional integration – especially in Africa, where the potential is immense.
We will redouble our collaboration with other countries in the G-20 to promote sustained economic growth through the Seoul Multi-Year Action Plan for Development and commit to the promises made at L’Aquila to invest heavily in agriculture and nutrition, and ensuring young children have adequate nutrition during the initial phase of their lives. Over the next five years, we will: help 18 million vulnerable women, children and family members escape the grip of hunger and poverty; prevent stunting and child mortality in 17 million undernourished children; generate $2.8 billion agricultural GDP through research and development activities; and leverage $70 million in private investment to improve market opportunities and links with smallholders.
Conflict and Fragility
Fragile states pose a significant, yet distinct, development challenge. As a group, fragile states have not achieved a single Millennium Development Goal, and most remain heavily dependent on foreign assistance. The United States and the United Kingdom were among the first to recognize this unique development challenge and we are working closely together in countries such as Sudan and Afghanistan using the new approaches we have developed. We will strengthen local economies, make job creation a priority and ensure that women are involved in every level of the decision-making process. We will promote greater openness in order for citizens to hold their governments and officials accountable, and will strengthen civilian policing and local forms of dispute resolution so citizens feel safer. We are the two largest humanitarian aid donors and are coordinating our operations to help vulnerable countries to prepare for disasters and to enhance their resilience. We will continue to work together to improve international responses and to encourage other donors to bear their share of responsibility. In all of our programmes, we will measure the results we achieve so that we base our investment and policy decisions on solid evidence.
Aid Effectiveness – Accountability, Transparency and Results
The United States and the United Kingdom believe the quantity of our aid must be seen as equal in importance to its quality and we must be open, transparent and accountable in how we are spending our taxpayers’ money. Together, we have put in place mechanisms such as the UK Aid Transparency Guarantee and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard so the public – both at home and abroad – are able to access clear, comparable information about our aid programs. In so doing, we will help individuals understand the results being achieved, provide developing countries a stronger voice, and encourage other donors to follow our lead. We will ensure that the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011 transforms the way bilateral aid is delivered around the world and we will continue to work together to strengthen multilateral organisations.
Twenty first century technology and innovation can help us achieve our development goals. We will continue to work together, not least at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Replenishment Conference in June, and to ensure the GAVI Alliance has the resources it needs to do its job. The introduction of new and underused vaccines could result in another 250 million children being immunized and prevent four million childhood deaths by 2015. We will also work to increase the level of care given to pregnant women and newborn babies by supporting the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women and Children. Our alliance with Australia and the Gates Foundation should help 100 million more women meet their need for modern family planning by 2015.
Girls and Women
Women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty as they own only 10 percent of the world’s property and represent two-thirds of the developing world’s illiterate. But we know that investing in girls and women has transformative impacts on growth and poverty reduction. It is also cost-effective as women tend to invest returns in their families and communities. Over the next five years, our investments alone will: save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth; get more than five million girls into primary and secondary school; help 18 million women to access financial services and; do more to prevent violence towards women in at least 15 countries.
Without urgent global action, climate change could reverse our hard-won gains and increase the risk of insecurity and fragility in many parts of the world. The United States and the United Kingdom therefore continue to seek to hold the increase in temperature below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We also continue to work towards implementing the key agreements reached in Cancun, including making the very best use of the climate financing and encouraging innovation that will help the poorest countries get on a climate resilient, low emissions path to sustainable economic growth and development. By employing existing technologies, such as drought and flood resistant crops, and new ways of delivery clean and affordable energy, we will work with the private sector and other stakeholders to ramp up investments in clean technologies while protecting the world’s precious forests and rich biodiversity. Our support for the REDD+ partnership will increase the incomes of the 1.2 billion of the world’s poorest people who depend on forests for their livelihoods.