SBY Prepares Special Strategies to Criticize US in G Summit - Bisnis fabula-fantasia.info
July 11, @ pm · Filed by Bill Poser under Language and politics, Multilingualism . the U.S., the first person they want to meet is Obama, says Parnohadiningrat Sudjadnan, .. President Obama called President SBY for 6 minutes. Transcript of the July 27, broadcast of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' featuring Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), moderated by NBC's Tom Brokaw. years of SBY," the acronym by which Indonesia's current president, villages, I go to the riverbank, I go to the market to meet the people. Barack Obama won the Democratic primaries in in part because his rival, Hillary Clinton, voted to authorise the war in Iraq: in other words, Mr Obama's victory.
Well, these are issues, obviously, that you'd have to work through with the commanders. I have committed to making sure that we've got a residual force that can do a couple of things.
We can provide logistical support, intelligence support. Training for Iraqi troops is still going to be critical. They are now at a point where they are taking the lead in actions, but they are not completely independent of us, and we've got to make sure that that oversight, overwatch role continues.
And we've got to have a counterterrorism, a counterinsurgency strike force in the region. Where it's most effectively deployed, I think, is a decision that would be made in consultation with the, with the generals. How large that force might be, I think, is also something that we would want to consult with folks on the ground about, as well as the Iraqi government.
And what countries would accept it. And what countries are going to be interested in having them. But I think that if we have played our cards right in the coming months then you're going to see countries like Iraq, like Afghanistan, like Kuwait--those countries are going to be much more comfortable with our troop presence if they feel that they've been consulted and that there's not the prospect of a long-term occupation or permanent bases in Iraq.
Senator, you can't talk about Afghanistan without talking about Pakistan. Here's what you told Time magazine recently about additional assistance. You said, "We should condition some assistance to Pakistan on their action to take the fight to the terrorists within their borders.
And if we have actionable intelligence about high-level al-Qaeda targets, we must act if Pakistan will not or cannot. That seems, to me, to be a fairly tepid statement, "We'll condition some assistance. Well, I--it's not tepid at all, it's very concrete. We give money to Pakistan, much of it in the form of military aid. I would argue that too much of it has been in the form of just military aid and not enough of it has been in the form of building schools and building infrastructure in the country to help develop and give opportunity to the Pakistani people.
How, how do we measure that then? Then how do we know when they're not going after them? They say, as they have repeatedly, "We've been doing the best we can. Oh, well, my assessment is different, our intelligence assessments are different, our military commanders' assessments are different.
The fact is, is that if you've got training camps in Pakistani territory where these folks are operating with--without any worry that they are going to be broken up or that strikes are going to take place--we know where these folks are. You know, I was--I would talk to commanders and, and U. We have provided significant amounts of military aid, but much of it has been conventional military aid that is used by Pakistan because they're worried about India or they're involved in disputes about Kashmir.
And the point that I've made is, is that if we are going to provide military assistance to Pakistan, we should at least expect that that money is effectively deployed to deal with what is the most important security threat that we face.
That only makes sense. On the other hand, we've also got to make sure that we're reaching out to the Pakistani government and helping them to provide a better life for their people.
I'm sure you heard the same thing that I have heard every time I've gone to Pakistan. Got about million people there. The estimates are as many as 50 percent of them are sympathetic to the terrorists. If the United States makes a unilateral attack, it'll set off a conflagration within Pakistan.
That's part of the reason that Musharraf played it the way that he did. Well, look, there's no doubt that the situation in Pakistan is, is complicated. I think it was made more complicated by our insistence on providing Musharraf with a lot of military aid, ignoring some of the problems in terms of his anti-democratic practices, and ignoring the fact that the Taliban and al-Qaeda was resurgent in that area.
If we are reaching out to the Pakistanis and working with them not only about our security interests, but also about the well-being of the Pakistani people. If we are encouraging democratic practices and human rights and making sure that Supreme Court justices are not kicked off the bench because they're not providing rulings that are of the liking to the military, that will gain more support for our policies in the region and in Pakistan, and hopefully will give more political space for them to act forcefully against the extremists in the region.
Let's move on to Israel, where you got very good notices across the political spectrum from Israeli leaders, but you also met with King Abdullah of Jordan. He recently told The Washington Post, and he's been saying in--this in the United States, as well; when asked if Iran is the number one threat of the region, he said, no, "I think the lack of peace [between Israel and the Palestinians] is the major threat.
I don't see the ability of creating a two-state solution beyond I think this is really the last chance. If this fails, I think this is going to be a major threat for the Middle East: That's our major challenge, I'm very concerned that the clock is ticking, that the door is closing on all of us.
Did you tell him that you would appoint a presidential envoy who would report only to you to work exclusively on the issues of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? I told him something approximating that. What I told him was that this will be an issue that I don't wait until the last minute to work on, that I want to pick up on some of the progress that has been made coming out of Annapolis.
I give the Bush administration credit that the Annapolis process has gotten Prime Minister Olmert in Israel and President Abbas in the Palestinian territories to have very serious and frank discussions.
I think they have moved the ball forward. They may not be able to finish the job. They certainly can't finish it without serious participation by the next administration, and we've got to start early.
Advertise And, and one thing I want to pick up on, because I think King, King Abdullah is as savvy a analyst of the region and player in the region as, as there is, one of the points that he made and I think a lot of people made, is that we've got to have an overarching strategy recognizing that all these issues are connected.
It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region. So we've got to take all these issues, and I think the next president has to start very quickly in moving both on the peace process forward and still recognizing that issues like Iran are connected and of extraordinary priority.
You met with a wide variety of Israelis; you only met with Palestinian President Abbas. But you went to an Israeli village that had been shelled. You went to the Holocaust museum. Any number of people have commented on the fact that you really didn't spend any time with Palestinian businessmen or go to a Palestinian family that lost a child to Israeli gunfire.
You didn't even get a falafel in east Jerusalem while you were there. Can't you see why anytime an American goes to the Middle East, goes to an Arab capital, on the street or in a corridors of power, they say, "You just do whatever the Israelis want you to do, and the politicians come out here looking for Jewish votes.
Well, I, I, I don't think that's entirely fair. This is my second trip to Israel and the West Bank. And the first time that I went, I did meet with Palestinian businessmen, I did talk to Palestinian students in Ramallah.
When you're in a region for a day, you've got a lot of boxes that you've got to check. And in Israel in particular, a big chunk of our day was meeting with not only the current prime minister, but former prime ministers and a whole bunch of people who intend to be prime minister. And the--it was important for us to make sure that we had covered our bases there.
But the, the larger point I think to be made is this. That the Palestinian people are having a very tough time right now economically, and it is in U. I think it's in Israelis' interest as well.
And what I've said is that we're going to make sure that the Palestinians have the--a state that allows them to prosper as long as we also have certainty that Israel's security is not being compromised.
I think it's in the interest of both parties, but we are the critical ingredient in terms of making sure that a deal actually gets done. You were a rock star, as you often are when you give a speech.
You had some, by estimates,people listening to you. Not everyone in America was an admirer. Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist said, "He hasn't earned the right to speak there.
Dec. 7: President-elect Barack Obama - Meet the Press | NBC News
Kennedy and Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, their rhetoric soared, but their optimism was grounded in the reality of politics, conflict and hard choices.
Kennedy didn't dream of the universal brotherhood of man. He drew lines that reflected hard realities. Reagan didn't call for a kumbaya moment. He cited tough policies that sparked harsh political disagreements.
We should help Palestinians and Israelis unite. We should unite to prevent genocide in Darfur. We should unite so the Iranians won't develop nukes. What Obama offered in Berlin flowed right out of that mind-set. It will take politics and power to address those challenges, the two factors that dare not speak their name in Obama's lofty peroration. Obama has benefited form a week of good images.
But substantively, optimism without reality isn't eloquence. Well, let me, let, let You're a candidate for president of the United States.
Let me say first of all, there were a bunch of really good reviews that you didn't, you didn't put up on the screen. I'd, I'd say there were about nine good reviews for every, every bad one. And number two, I think David Brooks is one of my favorite conservatives, but he is a conservative who is supportive of John McCain, so let's, you know, put that out there as, as a caveat.
But get to the point. But, but, but, but let's, let's get to the point. No one speech does everything, right? I could have delivered a exhaustive list of policy prescriptions. I suspect thatpeople would have slowly drifted off as I entered into the 45th minute of the speech. What I was trying to do was provide some broad themes in terms of where America needs to go and where Europe needs to go. And contrary to David Brooks' suggestion and some of the suggestions of other conservatives, I was, I think, pretty clear about the, the difficulties of, of power and of politics.
When I specifically said that Europeans need to step up and do more in Afghanistan, that wasn't an applause line in Germany. When I talked about the fact that they need to do more in Iraq despite our past differences, that wasn't an applause line in Germany. When I talked about the fact that there has been too much anti-American sentiment and a, and a stereotyping of America in Europe, that wasn't an applause line in Germany, that wasn't a bunch of high-flying rhetoric.
So I, I think that, given the purpose that I had, which is to get Europeans to recognize the extraordinary sacrifices that Americans have made on behalf of world freedom and security and to get Americans to recognize we need partners in order to be effective to solve our problems, I would give myself a, a slightly better grade than David Brooks did.
Senator, we're going to give you a chance to make some real news here in a moment. You can talk about the vice presidential choices that may be on your mind. But we'll have a brief break first, and we'll be back to continue our discussion with Senator Obama, talk about his vice presidential choices, the economy, and also race in America.
I'll have more from London with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama after this brief station break. And wherever you are, Senator, as you know, all politics is local. Vice presidential candidates, tantalizing to everyone. Recent poll said that, by a factor of about 60 percent, the American people believe that John McCain should have a vice presidential running mate who is strong on the economy.
Think it's fair to say that conventional political wisdom in this country is that you need a vice presidential candidate who has very good national security credentials. Is that your number one criteria? You know, I hate to do this to you, Tom, but I made a pledge that the next time you heard me talk about vice president it would be to introduce my vice presidential running mate.
So here's what I'll tell you: I'm going to want somebody with integrity; I'm going to want somebody with independence, who's willing to tell me where he thinks or she thinks I'm wrong; and I'm, I'm going to want somebody who shares a vision of the country where we need to go, that we've got to fundamentally change not only our policies, but how our politics works, how business is done in Washington.
And I think that there are a number of great candidates out there. I'll be selecting one soon enough, and, and I'm sure NBC will be reporting on it. Are you going to break the old rules? The old rules have been you pick a vice presidential candidate because you need electoral strength in some region and you need somebody who is stronger in some policy area than you are.
I, I think the most important thing from my perspective is somebody who can help me govern. I want somebody who I'm compatible with, who I can work with, who has a shared vision, who certainly complements me in the sense that they provide a knowledge base or an area of, of expertise that can be useful. Because we're going to have a lot of problems and a lot of work to do, and I'm not interested in a vice president who I just send off to go to funerals. I want somebody who's going to be able to roll up their sleeves and really do some work.
Mike Murphy, who you know is a political consultant primarily for Republicans, is now working with NBC as an analyst, said on this broadcast two weeks ago something very interesting.
He said, "Republican Party always has trouble when the Democrats put on the ticket a Southern white male Protestant. Will that be a factor in your consideration?
Tom, you can fish as much as you want. You're not going to get it out of me. Well, let me--you, you had a conversation with a prominent Hillary fundraiser that got reported in the Los Angeles Times, in which she asked you--she's still a fan of, of Hillary, and she said And is she on your list? I think Hillary Clinton--I've said--this one I can actually answer, because I've said consistently that I think Hillary Clinton would be on anybody's short list.
She, she is one of the most effective, intelligent, courageous leaders that we have in the Democratic Party. And according to the woman that you were talking to, you said that "we just don't know what to do about Bill," or something to that effect. Oh, you know, I maybe--I think that a lot of conversations get characterized. I think that not only do I want Hillary Clinton campaigning with me, I want Bill Clinton, one of the smartest men in the history of politics, involved in our campaign.
But I'm not going to, I'm not going to spill the beans here. You, you can, you can do what you want Bill Clinton as, Bill Clinton as a surrogate for you day in and day out, throughout the campaign?
I, I would love to have Bill Clinton campaigning for me. I--he was very effective when it came to our primary, you know. He was traveling to little towns in Texas and Ohio, and it was very hard to keep up, given that he was campaigning so hard at the same time as Hillary was campaigning as hard as she was. We continue to hear that timing, obviously, will be a factor. It's no secret that next week the Olympics begin. And then America's attention will--we hope, at NBC--will be consumed by the Olympics, as it traditionally happens every four years.
And then right after that, the Democrats have their convention. Are you going to wait until the convention? You know, we will make the announcement when we make the announcement. Let, let me, let me just--and not to dodge, because I've already dodged enough. I think what's going to be on people's minds over the next week is going to be what's been on their minds for the last four weeks, and that is And so one of the things that I'll be doing on Monday, I'm going to be pulling together some of my core economic advisers--Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman; Warren Buffet; Paul Schmidt--Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google; Bob Rubin; Larry Summers; a host of people--Bob Reich--to come together and examine the policies that we've already put forward--a middle class tax cut, a second round of stimulus, a effort to shore up the housing market in addition to the bill that was already passed through Congress, what we need to do in terms of energy and infrastructure.
I think that that is what is driving people all across the country right now is worries and concerns about inability to pay the gas bill, inability to buy food because prices have gone up so high. And the failures of the economy, despite the fact that we grew for seven years, to provide rising levels of income and wages for the American people, I think, indicates the degree to which we've got to fundamentally shift how we approach economic policy.
Let me ask you a question about housing. A lot of attention this past week to federal aid for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government quasi-agencies that got themselves in real trouble. Banks have gotten in trouble. There's now a housing bill out there to take care of people whose homes are being foreclosed. This is not as cold-blooded as it sounds, but I hear a lot of people around this country saying, "Look, I did the right thing.
Or the lenders who were taking the fees and doing loans that they knew that would not be being paid back and walking away? Why should the hard-working taxpayer in this kind of an economy have to bail those people out? They shouldn't, which is why a couple of points that I've made. Any assistance to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac should not be focused on the investors and the shareholders.
It should not be focused on management. It should be focused on making sure that we've got liquidity in the housing market. And there are ways of making sure that we are not giving a windfall to investors who were enjoying the upside all these years of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extremely profitable partly because there was this implied federal guarantee.
Well, if they enjoyed all that upside, they should enjoy some downside as well. Why not just reconstitute them as pure government agencies and take them out of the private sector? So there are, there are a host of complicated issues here. It is true that there may be some folks who didn't make the best decision that will still benefit from the home foreclosure plans that have been put forward. But keep in mind that many of these folks were not so much speculators as they were probably in over their heads.
They tried to get more house than they could afford because they were told by these mortgage brokers that they could afford it. We are better off helping them stay in their home if you can fix the mortgage and let them pay it off over time than have them foreclose, in which not only do they lose their home, not only do the lenders lose a lot, but that community suddenly sees its property values going down.
And what we need is a floor in the housing market, a, a stop to the decline in housing values, as well as some certainty on the part of lenders in terms of what houses are worth so that we can start restoring confidence in the housing market, but also confidence in the financial markets where credit has been contracting.
And that's affecting a lot of terrific businesses and good sound developments and entrepreneurial opportunities because they just can't get good credit. People are driving less now. In some states, there's an indication that maybe even traffic deaths are down.
Well, I do not think that high gas prices are a good thing for American families. I mean, I've, I've met teachers who have quit their jobs because the school where they were teaching was just too far. It was consuming too much of their income. I've met people who lost their job and couldn't go on a job search because they couldn't fill up the gas tank. Ordinary families are under extraordinary stress as a consequence of these high gas prices, so we need to do what we can to bring those prices down, but But there's no easy answer for that on a short term.
The, the fact of the matter is that we should have, over the last 20 years, been planning for this day. I have been an advocate for raising fuel efficiency standards for years, something that John McCain has opposed. Had we taken those steps, we would not be in the same situation that we're in right now, the fact that all the big three U. Had we worked with them to adjust and retool to adapt to this market, we would not be losing as many jobs as we're losing right now.
That's, that's all hindsight. Going forward, what we have to do is we do have to continue to push to make cars much more fuel efficient, and I think that the direction of hybrid plug-ins, where we can get a hundred miles per gallon of gas because we've developed battery technology and created a new electricity grid, that can make a huge difference.
Industrial use of oil, we can change that. We have to have the same approach that John Kennedy said, "We're going to the moon in 10 years. Let me ask you about race. We have some recent polling on that, and, as you know, it's a whispered if not unspoken issue in your campaign. When African-Americans were asked that question, they said yes, 78 percent to 20 percent. If you're elected president, you won't seek his counsel?
Now, I think it's important to keep in mind, Tim, that I never sought his counsel when it came to politics. And I--you know, some, some of the reporting that implies that somehow he's my spiritual advisor or mentor, as he himself said, overstated things.
He was my pastor, and he built a terrific church. I'm proud of that church. We've got a wonderful young pastor who's there who's doing--continuing the terrific work that the church does. And that's my commitment. My commitments are to the values of that church, my commitment is to Christ; it's not to Reverend Wright. Could you have handled this better, differently, by severing your ties earlier? And what's the most important thing you've learned from this?
Well, when you're in national politics, it's always good to pull the Band-Aid off quick, and I think that's what, you know, the, the, the political consultants will tell you.
But life's messy sometimes, and, you know, it's not always neat, and things don't proceed in textbook Political fashion. And so, you know, when I reflect back, you know, what I'm proud of is that, in the speech in Philadelphia, I think I made a contribution to the overall dialogue about how we deal with race in America.
And I think that me denouncing his words without denouncing him was, at the time, the right thing to do. You know, I'm, I'm sorry that he didn't see an opportunity for him to reflect on the justifiable anger and pain that he had caused and to maybe, you know, suggest to the American people that's not, that's not what he believed.
But, clearly, you know, one of the things when you're running for president is that you don't have--all this stuff is happening under a spotlight, and you've got to deal with it quickly.
You were in North Carolina on Tuesday, on Tuesday and talked about the tone of the campaign over the last few weeks. The other candidates aren't talking about their ideas, they're talking about me. So they're talking about, they're, they're, they're talking about what, what--who, who is he? And do we know his values, and he's not wearing a flag pin right now and, you know, his former pastor said some crazy stuff.
You basically are outlining the kind of ads that you anticipate being run against you. InJohn Kerry was swiftboated. People challenged his patriotism, challenged his record in the U. When independent groups, so-called, come after you in the fall How is he going to defend or define his patriotism?
Well, first of all, you know, I have never challenged other people's patriotism. I haven't challenged Hillary Clinton's or John McCain's, and I will not stand by and allow somebody else to challenge mine. The fact that I'm running for president right now is an indication of how much I love this country, because it has given everything to me.
'Meet the Press' transcript for July 27, 2008
This country has been a great source of good. I've lived overseas and seen the difference between America and what it stands for and what other countries oftentimes stand for and where they fall short. I've, I've said before, my story's not possible in any other country on earth.
You know, when I think about this country, I think about my grandfather fighting in World War II in Patton's army; I think about my grandmother staying home--staying back and, and working on a bomber assembly line while she was raising a kid in--as, as they're coming out of a depression.
And, and so this country is the--it defines, for me, what's possible for not just me, but for so many people who see this as a beacon of good, including my father, who originally came here seeking an education in this country. So I love this country. It is what I have been fighting for, a--that America lives up to its values and its ideals. And that's what I think the people of Indiana and that's what the people of North Carolina are looking for right now.
What, what--they love this country as well, but what they've believe is that the values that have built this country, the belief in--that hard work is rewarded, that you can raise a family and have health care, and buy a home and retire with dignity and respect, that those things feel like they're slipping away.
And what this campaign's about, what I think this moment is about in America is whether or not we are going to fight for those ideals that make this country great, and, and if we miss that opportunity, then I think we will be doing a disservice to future generations. So I'm happy to have a debate, an argument with the Republican Party or any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great.
And what makes it great, ultimately, is its people and how the American people are able to live out their American dream. And right now, all too often Washington is failing in helping them to live out that American dream, and I--that's what I think this election's going to be about in November. The National Journal says that in 26 of the 29 contests you've been involved in you have lost white voters who do not have college degrees.
How do you connect with them? Well, you know, first of all, I think we got to give Senator Clinton some credit. I mean, she's a pretty formidable candidate, and she possesses the best brand name in Democratic politics. And her and her husband have been campaigning actively. People have fond memories of some of the work that they did in the '90s. And so the fact that she has won some of those contests in some demographic groups shouldn't be surprising. I mean, I'm the underdog.
I, I came into this thing with everybody anticipating that we would be blown away. And if I was worrying about polls and, you know, some of this, some of this analysis, I probably wouldn't have gotten into the race in the first place.
What's remarkable is how well we've done. Now, what I do believe is that it is important for the American people to understand my story and how it connects to theirs. I think it's important for people to understand not only that I was raised by a single mom and, and my grandparents, and the values of hard work and decency and honesty that they've passed on to me, that those are values that are rooted in the heartland of America and small-town America.
My, my wife, Michelle, you mentioned earlier, you know, when I think about her father, who worked as a shift worker for the city of Chicago, despite having MS, got up every single day and went to work, was able to raise a family and send his two kids to college and, and support a family of four on a single salary.
I think about your father and the fact that, that your dad, Tim, looked nothing like Michelle's dad, but they lived that same American dream and, and they had those same core values.
And those are the values of millions of people all across the country. And my job in this campaign is to communicate the fact that not only are those values at the core of what this country's about, not only are those values what make me patriotic, but those are the values that have to be fought for because that American dream is slipping away.
Advertise Those same individuals who are like Michelle's dad, who are like my grandparents, who are like your dad, they can't make it now doing the same things that they used to do. No matter how hard they work, they're falling behind. No matter how hard they work, they're at risk of losing their home or losing their pension.
That's what this campaign's about, and that's what we've been fighting for, and, and that's why, ultimately, I'm confident not only are we going to win this nomination, but I also believe that we're going to win this general election because that is what the American people understand. Unless we are able to create the kinds of opportunities for ordinary Americans that have been slipping away over the last seven years, with wages and incomes actually going down even during an economic expansion, then, you know, we're not going to pass on the kind of America to our children that we want to.
One issue that has really defined the two campaigns here in Indiana is this debate over gasoline This is Hillary Clinton's ad talking about you. Videotape of political ad Narrator: Now gas prices are skyrocketing, and she's ready to act again. Hillary's plan, use the windfall profits of the oil companies to pay to suspend the gas tax this summer.
Barack Obama says no, again. People are hurting, it's time for a president who's ready to take action now. Why are you against giving taxpayers in Indiana, North Carolina, a relief from federal gasoline tax this summer? You're right, Tim, this defines, I think, the difference between myself and Senator Clinton. This gas tax, which was first proposed by John McCain and then quickly adopted by Senator Clinton, is a classic Washington gimmick. It, it is a political response to a serious problem that we have neglected for decades.
Now, here's, here's the upshot. You're looking at suspending a gas tax for three months. That's assuming that the oil companies don't step in and raise prices by the same amount that the tax has been reduced. And, by the way, I have some experience on this because in Illinois we tried this when I was in the state legislature, and that's exactly what happened. The oil companies, the retailers were the ones who ended up benefiting. You voted for it, too. And, and that's my point. I voted for it, and then six months later we took a look, and consumers had not benefited at all, but we had lost revenue.
So you learned from a wrong vote. Yeah, I learned from a mistake. And, in addition, what happens is, is that this would come out of the Federal Highway Fund that we use to rebuild our roads and our bridges. And if we don't have that fund, then we're looking at thousands of jobs being lost in Indiana and in North Carolina. Now, Senator Clinton says that she's going to use the windfall profits tax to fill it.
First of all, she's already said that she's going to use the windfall profits tax for something else, as I have, and, and that is to invest in clean energy and, and other important measures. So that money, she's already spending twice.
More importantly, nobody thinks that George Bush is actually going to spend--or is actually going to sign a law for windfall profits taxes, so that's not going to happen this summer. So what this is, is a strategy to get through the next election. We don't think it's going to work, but we think it's a good issue to use in a campaign. We, we, we don't deal with the serious issues that are in front of us, we try to figure out what's going to poll well and what can we do to get through the next election.
And what I've said is, look, people do need serious relief. They are, are getting hammered. I mean, people who--can't go on job searches because they can't fill up their gas tank. And, you know, I have to say that if Senator Clinton or John McCain had stood up in previous years for increases in fuel efficiency standards, in getting serious about a--an energy policy that is freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, then we would not be in this same situation in the first place.
Now is the time for us to act, and I think the people of Indiana and North Carolina understand that. Ethanol, very important to your state, very important to, to Iowa. Here's the reports on that. This year, about a quarter of U. That has helped farmers Would you be willing to change ethanol subsidies or suspend some of these requirements so that people are not using corn for ethanol, but using corn for food and lowering food prices.
Well, look, we, we've got a serious food problem around the world. We, we've got rising food prices here in the United States. In other countries we're seeing riots because of, because of the lack of food supplies. So this is something that we're going to have to deal with. There are a number of factors that go into this. Changes in climate are contributing. The, the fact that in a lot of countries, you know, we've had problems getting food supplies to poor countries because the wealthier countries have reduced their stockpiles in, in serious ways.
And so there're a whole host of reasons why we're seeing problems with food supply. There's no doubt that biofuels may be contributing to it. And what I've said is, my top priority is making sure that people are able to get enough to eat.
And if it turns out that we've got to make changes in our ethanol policy to help people get something to eat, then that's got to be the step we take. But I also believe that ethanol has been a important transitional tool for us to start dealing with our long-term energy crisis ultimately. Over time we're going to shift to cellulosic ethanol, where we're not using food stocks but we're using wood chips, we're using, you know, prairie grass, we're using How long before our automobiles are off of gasoline oil and, and using something like an alternative fuel?
And the technologies exist right now for plug-in hybrids.Obama meets Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle
You know, we should continue to investigate the possibilities of electric cars. The problem is is that we have not been serious about it, and Detroit ended up making investments in SUVs and large trucks because that's where they perceived a competitive advantage and that's where they felt they could make the most profit.
I think it was a mistake for them not to plan earlier. Now we're seeing a huge growth in fuel-efficient cars that is benefitting the Japanese automakers, and Detroit is getting pounded some more.
And I think that we can make those cars here in the United States. By the way, that's going to be our expert market over the future. China already has higher fuel efficiency standards than we do. If we want to compete for those markets, then we're going to have to invest in technology. The government can help, but the automakers have to make some changes. And I didn't say that just in front of environmental groups, I went to Detroit and said it in front of the automakers.
That's the kind of truth telling we need from the next president. In terms of climate change, global warming, you've talked about wind and solar and biofuels. All--in all realistic assessment, don't we need more nuclear power in order to wean ourselves off of those same fuels that are contaminating the world?
I think we do have to look at nuclear, and what we've got to figure out is can we store the material properly? Can we make sure that they're secure? Can we deal with the expense? Because the problem is, is that a lot of our nuclear industry, it reinvents the wheel. Each nuclear power plant that is proposed has a new design, has--it, it has all kinds of changes, there are all sorts of cost overruns.
So it has not been an effective option.