Barcelona or Manchester United?

May 28, 2011

Champions League Football Finals: Barcelona or Manchester United?

LONDON – Sir Alex Ferguson predicted a classic Champions League final here Friday (May 27, 2011) as his Manchester United side put the finishing touches to preparations for their showdown with Barcelona.

Speaking on the eve of one of the most eagerly anticipated European finals in years, Ferguson agreed that Saturday’s Wembley showpiece was effectively a collision between the two best club sides of the past decade.

“I think many people would agree with that,” Ferguson said. “I think that the success both teams have had in the last decade has been enormous.

“It could be the best final of the decade. The attraction of two great teams with great history is obvious, and it’s an appealing final in terms of what could happen in the game. Anything could happen in this game tomorrow.

“There could be a lot of goals, there could be a lot of excitement, and there’ll be a lot of good football I’m sure of that.

“So it’s set up, the platform is there, and hopefully it turns out that way.”

Saturday’s meeting at Wembley is a rematch of the 2009 final in Rome, where Barcelona gave Manchester United a passing masterclass on their way to a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico.

However Ferguson hinted he planned to “fight fire with fire” on Saturday rather than opt for a more defensive-oriented game plan. “I think that, as we always do, we recognise the qualities of our opponents,” Ferguson said.

“Of course we always focus on what we can do ourselves and we hope to attack. I don’t think anyone questions the attacking players we will have on show tomorrow.”

Ferguson said he believed United were now better equipped to deal with Barcelona than they were two years ago. “We were disappointed we lost the game but it isn’t a matter of revenge it is about our own personal pride,” he said.

“We are very focused this time and our preparation has been better. I think we maybe made one or two mistakes last time but not this time.”

Ferguson also praised opposite number Pep Guardiola, who could claim his second Champions League crown in three years if Barcelona are successful against United on Saturday. “From beating us in Rome to the present day, you can see that maturity. He’s changed the way they press the ball, for a young coach he’s done fantastically well and has a good presence.

“He played for Barcelona, which helps, and with the history of Dutch coaches there, he’s made a big step forward for Spanish coaches.” The 69-year-old Scottish boss also admitted his side were excited to be contesting the final at Wembley, scene of the club’s famous maiden European Cup triumph over Benfica in 1968.

“It’s a symbol of English football. We’ve been here a lot of times. It’s not the old Wembley but you know when you come here it’s for a big reason and there’s none bigger than tomorrow,” Ferguson said.

“I feel this is the right place for a final. We’re at Wembley and that gives you an awareness that it’s a big game. And I quite like big games”.

AFP /ls

Learn to Deal with Heavy Capital Flows

May 28, 2011

Learn to deal with Heavy Capital Flows

RIO DE JANEIRO–Policy-makers in emerging markets need to keep reaching for a broad mix of tools to cope with the heavy capital flows that have caused strong-currency headaches and led to fears of asset bubbles — because such flows are here to stay.

That is largely good news, said economists and officials at a conference on capital flows held by the IMF and Brazil’s finance ministry. Hot economies such as Brazil and Indonesia may see less fallout than some fear when the US Federal Reserve eventually raises interest rates, tightening the tap on cheap funds that flooded into Latin America and Asia in search of higher returns.

But they will need to keep adjusting their policy mixes to distinguish between “good flows” that help economic growth and “bad” short-term flows that can cause volatility, said IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard. While countries should adjust fiscal and monetary policies before moving to capital controls, there is no one-size-fits-all response, he said.

“We have to be open to exploration here,” he told reporters at a beach-side hotel in Rio de Janeiro, which is experiencing many of the symptoms of Brazil’s boom, like soaring real estate prices and strong credit growth.

“We are not at the stage at which we can tell this is exactly the way we can do it … we still don’t exactly know what the optimal package is.”

In Latin America alone, capital inflows have skyrocketed to nearly US$270 billion (RM810 billion) in 2010 from an average of about US$40 billion between 2000 and 2005, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Emerging countries have adopted a broad range of measures to regulate inflows and stem currency rises, increasingly resorting to capital controls and so-called macro-prudential measures such as credit curbs.

In recognition of the alarm about huge inflows that are stoking growth and also inflation rates, the IMF last month endorsed the use of capital controls, once considered anathema to its free-market philosophy. Advanced countries want to establish a framework to monitor their use, an approach opposed by emerging markets.

Blanchard and other IMF officials said it was unclear whether such a system was needed because there was so far little evidence that capital controls had a negative, beggar-thy-neighbour effect on other countries.

There was a broad consensus that the surge in flows was more than a temporary phenomenon driven by loose liquidity in struggling developed economies. Rather, it is being driven by a fundamental re-rating of global risk, said Joyce Chang, global head of emerging markets and credit research at JP Morgan.

“This is not a temporary state of affairs. This is what the new normal has become. It could be a cycle but it could be a 25- to 50-year cycle,” she said.

“From a capital markets perspective many of us think that capital controls are likely here to stay. Investors will continue to allocate more to emerging market assets given the better fundamentals and higher returns.”

Developed world investors are still vastly under-exposed to emerging markets, suggesting that emerging markets need to be prepared for decades of strong inflows. She said US defined-contribution pension plans only have 2.1 per cent of their funds allocated to developing economies, which make up nearly 50 per cent of global GDP.

Flows to countries such as Brazil, which has tripled the tax it charges foreigners to buy local bonds, have remained strong, suggesting that governments have yet to exhaust their policy options, participants said.

“These measures are small. Given the profit opportunities, money is still going to come in,” Jonathan Ostry, deputy director of the IMF’s research department, told Reuters.

The key to a successful balance of policies may be technical expertise and detailed tweaking of rules to direct inflows to the “right” places. India last year raised the ceiling on foreign investment in long-term bonds, for example, aiming to attract funds for long-term projects such as infrastructure development.

Kristin Forbes (left), an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said countries should also consider the role of domestic investors since they are increasingly influential in determining net inflows.

“In the hierarchy of when you should use capital controls, a key question you should ask before even talking about them is: what is driving the surge in net inflows? If it’s largely foreigners then there may be a role for capital controls,” she said. — Reuters

Your Weekend Music–A Touch of Class

May 27, 2011

Your Weekend Music–A Touch of Class

We bring you a mixed bag of tunes for this weekend’s entertainment. We feature Julio Iglesias who sings for Miss France and his Amor, Amor, followed by two popular songs from New Yorker Barry Manilow, songwriter, composer and arranger. We also bring for the first time Neil Diamond and UB40 with their hits.

We hope you will be entertained while watching the European Cup Final between Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and Barcelona (Wembley Stadium). May the best team win this thriller in London (May 28, 2011, carried live on EPSN at 2.00am, May 29 Malaysian time).–Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican

Julio Iglesias

Barry Manilow

Neil Diamond


Postscript: This song by Nicole is dedicated to Tean Rean, Mongkut Bean, Tok Cik and other Kerbau riders who are drifting in style into the sunset. Enjoy.

ASEAN needs security and safety, not an Arms Race

May 27, 2011

ASEAN needs security and safety, not an Arms Race

by Dr. Farish M.Noor

There is no denying that a major upgrading of the defensive capabilities of ASEAN member countries is overdue, and that there is no reason to worry if and when any do so.

After all, we cannot expect ASEAN member countries to deal with present-day non-conventional security concerns, such as human trafficking, smuggling and piracy, while their armed forces are equipped with weapons so obsolete as to make pitchforks and parang a security threat.

There is, however, some cause for concern when the upgrading of the defensive capabilities of some countries lends the impression that the new weapons technologies that are being purchased may also be used for more belligerent intentions; and even more worrisome when there is the threat that such weapons technologies may fall into the wrong hands.

Furthermore, it has to be added that for most ASEAN member countries, the pressing needs of development have to come first: across both maritime and mainland Southeast Asia, there remains the dire need for better communication, transport infrastructure, schools and other educational facilities as well as the provision of healthcare — all of which contribute to the sum total of a nation’s social and material development. Nuclear weapons are not much use for countries where illiteracy remains a problem, it can be argued.

How then should the nations of ASEAN proceed in terms of the upgrading of their armed forces? ASEAN’s formation in the 1960s was meant to serve as an instrument for the prevention of war: to prevent the Cold War from spilling into the region, and to prevent war from erupting between the member states.

Thus far, ASEAN, along with the European Union, can claim some credit for being able to hold off the threat of both. However, as ASEAN member states continue to develop according to their own pace and trajectory, there is the need to ensure that communication between them remains at an optimum, real-time level. This has to be so in order to ward off any untoward incidents and concerns that might arise when one country suddenly ups the ante by acquiring a new weapon system that radically tips the balance of power in favour of it, at the expense of others.

It is in this light that we need to consider Indonesia’s latest testing of its Yakhont anti-ship missile, which was launched in the Indian Ocean recently. The successful test-firing of the Russian-made missile marks a significant development in the military potential of Indonesia.

The anti-ship missile has a range of around 300km and flies at Mach 2.5, more than twice the speed of sound.Vietnam, likewise, has the same missile capabilities, but its anti-ship missiles are based in land installations, rendering them useful for only defensive operations.

Over the past few years, other countries in ASEAN have beefed up their anti-ship missile capabilities: Malaysia has introduced underwater-launched anti-ship missiles in the Scorpene submarines.

The concern of some security analysts, however, is that these new arms purchases may inadvertently contribute to an arms race of sorts in Southeast Asia, and thereby decrease, rather than increase, Asean’s role as a peacekeeping arrangement between its member states.

Furthermore, one has to wonder how anti-ship missiles contribute to the safety of our territorial waters where — in some regions — the threat of piracy, smuggling and human trafficking seem to be the real problems that need to be resolved. Are the naval forces of ASEAN going to stop the smuggling of pirated DVDs by launching million-dollar missiles in the future?

Countries like Indonesia do indeed need to upgrade and even expand their armed forces for reasons that ought to be clear to anyone with a grasp of arithmetic: it would be impossible for the armed forces of Indonesia to maintain security in an archipelago of 14,000 islands stretched across an area the size of Europe unless it has a bigger army that is professional and well-equipped.

But this also means purchasing less glamorous equipment like transport ships, coastal patrol boats, observation aircraft, and, of course, improving the salary, training and level of professionalism of the ordinary soldiers themselves.

Such stuff may not be to the liking of fans of Rambo and other gory war flicks, but the bottom line is that the running of a professional army is akin to the running of a well-organised company: the accounts have to be in order, logistics have to be accounted for, supplies have to be regular, and professionalism has to prevail always.

For the sake of the communities of ASEAN, whose combined population now stands on a par with Europe at well above 300 million, policymakers in the region need to remain lucid and cognisant of these simple economic facts.  ASEAN does need security and safety, but it does not need an arms race.

Perkasa: Nazri a half-past-six minister

May 27, 2011

Perkasa: Nazri a half-past-six minister

By Syed Mu’az Syed Putra@
May 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Perkasa has called Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz a “half-past-six” leader in a public spat over the Malay rights group’s call for a “crusade” against Christians.

The NGO said this in retaliation after the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department’s referred to Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali as a “clown.”

“What is the point of listening to a half-past-six minister like Nazri. He thinks Malays will support his statement and it will benefit UMNO.We are not surprised because he is someone who is willing to attack those who have served the country like (former Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” said secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali in a statement last night.

Nazri had called Ibrahim a clown when defending the government’s decision not to take action against the Pasir Mas MP’s threat to wage a “crusade” against Christians.

“You cannot even say that Ibrahim’s words have caused the Malays to rise against the Christians. Now, people just laugh at Ibrahim and call him a clown,” the Padang Rengas MP said.

Ibrahim threatened Christians nationwide during a rally in Gombak two weeks ago with a crusade or holy war should they proceed with their purported agenda to usurp Islam.

He was referring to the recent row over a controversial newspaper report in Utusan Malaysia entitled “Kristian Agam Rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?) which alleged that the DAP was conspiring with church leaders to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.

The report was based entirely on unsubstantiated blog posts by two pro-UMNO bloggers, one of whom is currently under investigation by police. The second blogger has since deleted the entire contents of his blog.

Christian leaders and DAP members have denied the reports and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was forced to clear the air with Christian leaders. Utusan Malaysia’s Christian conspiracy report is now under police investigation.

President Barack H Obama addresses Westminster Hall

May 26, 2011

President Barack H Obama addresses Westminster Hall

This is the full text of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to both UK Houses of Parliament on May 25, 2011.

London (CNN) — 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’m told 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.

I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest and strongest alliances the world has ever known. It has 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. There may have also been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. 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 and 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 the 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, the 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 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 is 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 has ended. In Afghanistan, we have 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 has 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, 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 indispensible 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 catalyst for global action. In an era defined by the rapid flow of commerce and information, it is our free market tradition, 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 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.

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, the days are gone when Roosevelt and Churchill could sit in a room and solve the world’s problems over a glass of brandy — though I’m sure Prime Minister Cameron would agree that some days we could both use a stiff drink. 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 is what led to the Industrial Revolution that began in the factories of Manchester. That is what led to the dawn of an Information Age that arose from the office parks of Silicon Valley. And that is why countries like China, India and Brazil are growing so rapidly — because in fits and starts, they are moving towards the 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, innovative, entrepreneurial citizens.

That gives nations like the United States and the United Kingdom an inherent advantage. 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 these challenges — safeguards to protect the banking system after the Great Depression, for example, and regulations were established to prevent the pollution of our air and water during the 1970s.

But in today’s economy, such threats 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 excess 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 cleaner and safer.

Moreover, even when the free market works as it should, both our countries recognize that no matter how responsibly we live 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 a reason for our leadership in the world.

Having come through a terrible recession, our challenge today is to meet these obligations while ensuring that we’re not consumed with a level of debt that could sap the strength and vitality from our economies. That will require difficult choices and 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.

I believe we can do it again, and 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 infrastructure.

Just as we must lead on behalf of the prosperity of our citizens, so must we 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 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. 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, let’s remember that they have killed thousands of Muslims — men, women and children — around the globe. Our nations 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 and the rule of law that we so ardently defend.

For almost a decade, Afghanistan has been a central front of these efforts. Throughout those years, you 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 — 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 this, we have built the capacity of Afghan Security Forces. And because of that, we are now preparing to turn a corner in Afghanistan by transitioning to Afghan lead. During this transition, we will pursue a lasting peace with those who break from al Qaeda and respect the Afghan Constitution. 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: 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 share a common interest in an international architecture that keeps 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. From North Korea to Iran, we have 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. 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, and 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, but 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 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 in Tehran, Tunis and Tahrir Square is a longing for the same freedoms that we take for granted 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. So let there be no doubt: the United States and United Kingdom stand squarely on the side of those who long to be free.

Now we must show that we will back up these 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, and 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 have faced charges of hypocrisy from those who do not enjoy the freedoms that they hear us espouse. To them, we must squarely acknowledge that we have enduring interests in the region — to fight terror with partners who may not always be perfect, and to protect against disruptions in 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. 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 is 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 outcomes 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 free — from the beaches of Normandy, to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interest and our ideal. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place?

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 here today.

For there is one final quality that I believe makes the United States and the United Kingdom indispensible 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 and the rule of law. That is why we hold incredible diversity within our borders. That is why there are people around the world right now who believe that if they come to America, and work hard, they can pledge allegiance to our flag, and call themselves American. And there are people who believe that if they come to England to make a new life for themselves, they can sing God Save the Queen just like any other citizen.

Yes, our diversity can lead to tension. Throughout history, there have been heated debates about immigration and assimilation in both 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 connected, the example of our two nations says that it’s 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.

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’ve sometimes differed with our policies. As two of the most powerful nations in history, we must always remember that the true source of our influence hasn’t just been the size of our economy, the reach of our military, 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 human beings are endowed 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 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 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 of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, 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 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, prosperous, and just. Thank you.