On Jan. 31 former Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to caucus-goers and reporters on behalf of Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Discussing topics ranging from the importance of the impeachment and how no president is above the law to electability, Kerry laid the case for a Biden win. Joined by former Senator Chris Dodd, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Biden campaign is pulling out all the stops to rally people before the Iowa Caucus.
Kerry helped dispelled fears about issues with Joe, especially his age. Stating “70 is the new 50.” He also discussed Biden’s experience in life long service and the ability to work across the aisle to get things done.
After the event, the Times-Delphic got the chance to chat with Kerry about a few key topics.
Times-Delphic: What do you think the Democratic candidate chosen needs to do, if elected, to repair the environmental harm done following Donald Trump’s withdraw from the Paris Agreement?
John Kerry: Well, the first thing he has to do is obviously rejoin it immediately, but we have to go much further than the Paris Agreement now. The Paris Agreement still leaves us… it was a bet on the private sector, accelerating, and unfortunately, because of Trump, that acceleration got shortchanged, so we have to get back to it.
But, the second thing he needs to do is immediately bring the leaders of the world, particularly the 20 most emitting countries, to Washington, sit them down and talk about everybody’s needs and how you transition faster. We can’t wait until 2050, 2045; we’ve got to transition to electric, we’ve got to transition the way we make our power, we have to transition to smart grids that are managing power more effectively, change the way we do a lot of industry, a lot of buildings. This is an enormous agenda and it’s really putting the world in a war footing to fight back against the deniers, liars, the destroyers, the people who attack science and restore people’s confidence that we are doing it. We can get it done. I think the next president needs to be the leader of that cause above all else. Everything else you can do while you’re addressing it, but the urgency of climate change cannot be overstated.
So the issue with the generational poverty gap is a big one in America and one that personally touches me, how do you see us moving forward with this? Do you see it as something like a wealth tax or something like Senator Booker’s baby bonds policy? What do we do?
Well, there’s a bunch of things we have to do, one of them is what I just said, if you do the energy piece of this you’re opening up 62 million jobs in the next 10 years. You’re going to spend somewhere around $29 trillion globally, on new energy, infrastructure, so forth. That’s jobs, every part of that is jobs. You wanna address poverty, then do infrastructure, do transportation, do water projects, do the things that make a difference to people‘s lives. We got 1 billion people without electricity, you’re talking about poverty, that’s inexcusable in 2020. So that’s one of the big things we have to do.
The other pieces of it are, obviously depending on where you are, you’ve got to educate people in today’s world. You don’t have education, you don’t have a prayer of ever breaking out of where you are unless you hit the lottery year or whatever the heck it is and that’s not the way people should live. So education is absolutely essential to this modern economy, that’s be moving very rapidly into a whole bunch of things: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the challenges of climate that come with it and obviously 2 billion people in the world between the ages of 15 and 25, who live in hotspots, most of them where they don’t have a lot of opportunities. And 1.8 billion who are 15 years old or younger, 400 million of them who won’t go to school.
That’s not a problem that you isolate ‘over there’ or ‘over there,’ it’s everybody’s problem and the UN Security and the UNSTG, sustainable development goals are pretty explicit on the various components on what you have to do. You have to build health care, you need a health system. Health is an essential ingredient in building society, calming things down, not having that stress and tension in your society. And it’s hard to get people to care about our government and the government isn’t doing the basics.
As a Vietnam Veteran, you have been known for taking a stance against wars, joining the Vietnam Veterans Against War in the 70s and criticizing President George W. Bush for the Iraq War. What is your opinion on current U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts and the degree that would require U.S. troops deployment?
Well, it’s much more complicated than people want it to be. Extremism is a threat and there are people who are hellbent determined to threaten the United States, just the reality. I think it’s important for us to do things multilaterally, not unilaterally. Unilateralism is a great threat, but if you get NATO or alliances with other countries that are focused on Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda… you can run a list of these guys, we can do a lot better.
Unfortunately, the Trump administrations has driven our allies away from us. They have broken up the notion of American leadership and engagement in the world. We have lost respect as the result in the world. People are wondering what’s happening in the United States. We have to get back to being the legitimate value-based, interest-based leader of the world. And there’s so much work to be done that we could be putting our energy not into these stupid squabbles, but real work to build society and get things done. And that’s what we have to get back to.
Tomorrow night, the real test will be the Iowa Caucus on whether efforts such as Kerry’s will help secure a Biden win going into New Hampshire and the super Tuesday states.