Obama, Brown on the Record: G-20 Summit - Page 11 of 16

Obama, Brown on the Record: G-20 Summit

As I spoke about during the campaign, as Secretary of State Clinton has amplified in some of her remarks and her meetings with top Russian officials, what we’ve seen over the last several years is drift in the U.S.-Russian relationship. There are very real differences between the United States and Russia, and I have no interest in papering those over. But there are also a broad set of common interests that we can pursue. Both countries, I believe, have an interest in reducing nuclear stockpiles and promoting nuclear nonproliferation. Both countries have an interest in reducing the threat of terrorism. Both countries have an interest in stabilizing the world economy. Both countries have an interest in finding a sustainable path for energy and dealing with some of the threats of climate change that we’ve discussed.

So, on a whole range of issues, from Afghanistan to Iran to the topics that will be consuming most of our time here at the G20, I think there’s great potential for concerted action. And that’s what we will be pursuing.

Now, as has I think been noted in the press, a good place to start is the issue of nuclear proliferation. And one of the things that I’ve always believed strongly is that both the United States and Russia and other nuclear powers will be in a much stronger position to strengthen what has become a somewhat fragile, threadbare nonproliferation treaty if we are leading by example and if we can take serious steps to reduce the nuclear arsenal.

I think people on both sides of the Atlantic understand that as much as the constant cloud, the threat of nuclear warfare has receded since the Cold War, that the presence of these deadly weapons, their proliferation, the possibility of them finding their way into the hands of terrorists, continues to be the gravest threat to humanity. What better project to start off than seeing if we can make progress on that front. I think we can.


Q Both of you today have conjured the alarming specter of the Great Depression, but let’s take your most optimistic hopes for this summit. Assuming you’re successful, I suspect what millions of people around the world want to know is how much worse is this going to get and how long is it going to last and when is it going to end and growth return.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: It will get worse if people do not act. The option of doing nothing is not available to us. And I think we’ve seen from past crises, both internationally and in regions of the world, that if people fail to take the decisive action at the beginning, then you risk a longer recession; you risk more businesses being lost, you risk more jobs lost.

So, of course, these are difficult decisions because governments are moving in where markets have failed and banks have collapsed. But to take these decisions is the right course for the world economy.