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  • Speaker: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

  • history is more than the path left by the past.

  • It influences the present and can shape the future.

  • We meet today in Westminster Hall,

  • a building begun 900 years ago when the Vikings were visiting

  • the shores of what would become the United States,

  • even if it was Columbus who would subsequently demonstrate

  • the politician's art of arriving late,

  • but claiming all the credit.

  • (laughter)

  • This hall has witnessed grim trials in the sentencing to

  • death of a king, coronation banquets, ceremonial addresses,

  • and the coffins of those receiving the last respects of

  • our people.

  • Few places reach so far into the heart of our nation.

  • Yet until today, no American president has stood on these

  • steps to address our country's Parliament.

  • It is my honor, Mr. President, to welcome you as our friend and

  • as a statesman.

  • Statesmanship is the cement which seals our shared idealism

  • as nations.

  • It makes meaningful the unity of ambition, passion for freedom,

  • and abhorrence of injustice that is the call of our

  • close alliance.

  • It has fallen to you to tackle economic turbulence at home,

  • to protect the health of those without wealth,

  • and to seek that precious balance between security which

  • is too often threatened, and human rights which are too

  • often denied.

  • History is not the burden of any one man or woman alone.

  • But some are called to meet a special share of

  • it's challenges.

  • It is a duty that you discharge with a dignity, determination,

  • and distinction that are widely admired.

  • Abraham Lincoln once observed that nearly all men can

  • stand adversity.

  • But if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States

  • of America, Barack Obama.

  • (applause)

  • President Obama: Thank you very much.

  • (applause)

  • Thank you very much.

  • Thank you.

  • (applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (applause)

  • Thank you so much.

  • (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 out 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 our water during the 1970s.

  • But in today's economy, such threats of market failure can

  • no longer be contained within the borders of any