Archive for the ‘Gordon Brown’ Category

World Leaders Agree to Seek Major Economic Reform

November 16, 2008

Group of 20 In Wasshington DC Pledges Cooperation to Restore Growth
World leaders holding an emergency meeting to combat the economic crisis agreed yesterday to a far-reaching action plan that, over the next 4 1/2 months, would begin to reshape international financial institutions and reform worldwide regulatory and accounting rules. 

By Glenn Kessler and Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 16, 2008; Page A01

The leaders’ 11-page statement spoke of broad principles, leaving the details to be worked out by lower-level aides before another summit meeting in April, after Barack Obama assumes the presidency. But the gathering in Washington of the nearly two dozen nations — from every region of the world — reflected the new balance of power emerging in the aftermath of a financial crisis that has devastated even well-run economies, a wrenching process that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has dubbed “the birth pangs of this new global order.”

World leaders pose for the group photo on Saturday, Nov. 15, ...

World leaders pose for the group photo on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, in Washington. President Bush invited leaders of the G-20 community to Washington for a weekend summit to discuss the world economy and the current condition of the financial markets.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

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For Yanks and Brits: This is no time for a novice? Oh yes it is

November 4, 2008

In the UK, Gordon Brown’s favourite slogan will be seriously undermined if the American electorate vote for change….

The Times (UK)
There was just one word on the home page of the Barack Obama website yesterday: Change. With only hours to go, the Democrats were advertising Change We Need rallies and Change the World T-shirts. The presidential candidate’s slogan is: “Change we can believe in” – “I’m asking you to believe not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington, I’m asking you to believe in yours,” says the man who would be commander in chief.

If the polls are right and Mr Obama is indeed declared the first black president of the United States early tomorrow morning nobody can be in any doubt that America has decided it is time for a change. “Change to what?” many will ask with some justification. But in this crossroads election – that is a choice between different cultural as well as political futures – the voters have opted for the new over the old.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to Saudi businessmen ... 
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to Saudi businessmen in Riyadh, November 2, 2008.(Fahad Shadeed/Reuters)

Right to the end, John McCain was pitting his experience against his rival’s lack of it. The Republicans have been playing voters in swing states a recording of Hillary Clinton saying that “in the White House there is no time for on-the-job training”. Just as it looked initially as if the former First Lady would snatch the Democratic nomination from the new kid on the block, so some assumed that the 72-year-old Vietnam vet would seize the crown from the young pretender. The electorate, however, appears to have decided that it is time for a novice.

And this is, of course, a message that has resonance in Britain. The presidential contest is a political prototype, the Urtext of election campaigns, because in the end all contests boil down to a choice between experience and change. It can be framed in different ways – the future against the past, fear rather than hope, “better the devil you know” versus “it can’t get any worse”. In television terms, it’s The West Wing or Yes, Minister; during the primaries, the Obama team described it as “magic versus the machine”.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks ...
Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks during an election rally in Henderson, Nevada , November 1, 2008.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

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Gordon Brown’s New Rules for Our Global Economy

October 17, 2008

By Gordon Brown
The Washington Post
Friday, October 17, 2008; Page A25

This is a defining moment for the world economy.

We are living through the first financial crisis of this new global age. And the decisions we make will affect us over not just the next few weeks but for years to come.

The global problems we face require global solutions. At the end of World War II, American and European visionaries built a new international economic order and formed the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and a world trade body. They acted because they knew that peace and prosperity were indivisible. They knew that for prosperity to be sustained, it had to be shared. Such was the impact of what they did for their day and age that Secretary of State Dean Acheson spoke of being “present at the creation.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens to questions after ... 
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens to questions after an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday Oct. 16, 2008. European Union leaders have agreed to stick to ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020, but divisions over how to share out the cuts have been widened by fears over the impact of the financial crisis.(AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

Today, the same sort of visionary internationalism is needed to resolve the crises and challenges of a different age. And the greatest of global challenges demands of us the boldest of global cooperation.

The old postwar international financial institutions are out of date. They have to be rebuilt for a wholly new era in which there is global, not national, competition and open, not closed, economies. International flows of capital are so big they can overwhelm individual governments. And trust, the most precious asset of all, has been eroded.

When President Bush met with the Group of Seven finance ministers last weekend, they agreed that we all had to deal with not only the issue of liquidity in the banking system but also the capitalization and funding of banks. It was clear that national action alone would not have been sufficient. We knew we had to send a clear and unambiguous message to the markets that governments across the world were prepared to act in a coordinated manner and do whatever was necessary to stabilize the system and address the fundamental problems.

Confidence about the future is vital to building confidence for today. We must deal with more than the symptoms of the current crisis. We have to tackle the root causes. So the next stage is to rebuild our fractured international financial system.

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The Next World War? It Could Be Financial.

October 12, 2008

By Peter Boone and Simon Johnson
The Washington Post
Sunday, October 12, 2008; Page B01

The global financial outlook grows more dire by the day: The United States has been forced to shore up Wall Street, and European governments are bailing out numerous commercial banks. Even more alarmingly, the government of Iceland is presiding over a massive default by all the country’s major banks. This troubling development points not only to an even more painful recession than anticipated, but also to the urgent need for international coordination to avoid something worse: all-out financial warfare.

The ramifications of Iceland’s misery are probably more serious than people realize. The country’s bank assets are more than 10 times greater than its gross domestic product, so the government clearly cannot afford a bailout. This is going to be a large default, affecting many parties. In the United Kingdom alone, 300,000 account holders face sudden loss of access to their funds, and the process for claiming deposit insurance is not entirely clear.

But there’s a broader concern. With European governments turning down his appeals for assistance, Iceland’s prime minister, Geir Haarde, warned last week that it was now “every country for itself.” This smacks of the financial autarchy that characterized defaulters in the financial crisis in Asia in the late 1990s. Similarly, when Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001-’02, politicians there faced enormous pressure to change the rule of law to benefit domestic property holders over foreigners, and they changed the bankruptcy law to give local debtors the upper hand. In Indonesia and Russia after the crises of 1998, local enterprises and banks took the opportunity of the confusion to grab property, then found ways to ensure that courts sided with them.

This is a natural outcome of chaotic times. Iceland’s promise to guarantee domestic depositors while reneging on guarantees to foreigners may be just a first step. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s decision last week to sue Iceland over this issue may escalate the crisis. The use of counterterrorist legislation to take over Icelandic bank assets and operations in the United Kingdom also has a potentially dramatic symbolic effect.

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World outraged, fearful over Bhutto assassination in Pakistan

December 27, 2007
By Matthew Tostevin

LONDON (Reuters) – World leaders voiced outrage at the assassination on Thursday of Pakistan‘s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and expressed fears for the fate of the nuclear-armed state.


U.S. President George W. Bush condemned the killing as a “cowardly act” and urged Pakistanis to go ahead with a planned election. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it “a barbaric act of terrorism” that was a challenge to the world.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Bhutto had risked everything to try and bring democracy to her country, of which Britain used to be the colonial ruler.

“The terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan,” he said.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack as she left a rally ahead of an election due on January 8. The identity of the attacker was not immediately clear, but Islamist militants have been blamed for a previous assassination bid.

“The subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Pakistan’s giant neighbor and nuclear rival.

“The manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the killing odious.

France, like the European Union, is particularly attached to stability and democracy in Pakistan,” he said in a letter to Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf.


Pakistan was already a big global worry.

The U.S. ally has been struggling to contain Islamist violence while Musharraf, whose popularity has slumped, only lifted a state of emergency on December 15 after six weeks.

Bush urged Pakistanis to honor Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process and said those behind the attack must be brought to justice.

“The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy,” he told reporters at his Texas ranch.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the assassination was a “heinous crime” and an “assault on stability” in Pakistan.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, said it was “an attack against democracy and against Pakistan.”

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto, 54, as she left the rally in a park in the city of Rawalpindi before blowing himself up. Police said 16 people died in the blast.

The 53-nation Commonwealth, which suspended Pakistan over the emergency rule declaration, said the assassination was “a dark day for Pakistan and the Commonwealth.”

Saudi King Abdullah said the attackers were “wicked murderers who are distant from Islam and morals.”

Iran‘s foreign ministry condemned the attack and urged calm and stability in Pakistan.

A Vatican spokesman said Pope Benedict had been informed, adding:

“It is difficult to see any glimmer of hope, peace, reconciliation in this country.”

Generationlong Battle Against Terrorism: Seize The Moment

August 5, 2007

Oliver North
August 5, 2007

“We’re in a generationlong battle against terrorism, against al Qaeda-inspired terrorism, and this is a battle for which we can give no quarter. It’s a battle that’s got to be fought in military, diplomatic, intelligence, security, policing and ideological terms.”

That’s pretty strong stuff — and since those remarks were made last week at Camp David, one might think they were uttered by President Bush. However, they were spoken by Britain’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown….

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