“It’s not a hardship to drive it. It’s fun.”
— George Shultz, former Secretary of State, referring to his Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that uses much less gasoline than a conventional vehicle, at the second annual summit of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, February 11.
I found this nugget in my inbox, tucked into the recent issue of @stanford, “a monthly newsletter of campus news and research,” in the “Heard on Campus” segment (I am an alum of the law school). How great to hear another respected Republican foreign policy leader touting the benefits of cleaner and more efficient automobiles. Over the past several years, it seems the chorus is getting louder and louder, with testimony, articles, and op-eds about and from Republican and Democratic foreign policy and military leaders. At various conferences held by the American Council on Renewable Energy and most recently at the December 7, 2004, Conference on Phase II of renewable energy policy, former Clinton administration CIA director James Woolsey and former National Security Advisors to President Reagan Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane and Frank Gaffney shared their common interest in reducing reliance on foreign oil and other foreign sources of energy. They cited the need to reduce not only our vulnerability to price shocks and security threats, but also one of the causes of our ongoing military engagement in the Middle East.
Woolsey, McFarlane, and others advocated investment in biofuels, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources, calling themselves “cheap hawks” who don’t want to spend Pentagon resources except when they have to. Woolsey advocates “a coalition between tree huggers, do-gooders, sodbusters, and cheap hawks — people like me — who want to reduce the leverage of Middle East countries, and win this long war on terrorism but with as little shooting as possible.” This approach of pulling together groups who have had little interaction in the past is just the sort of approach (like Apollo Alliance) that is going to get us moving forward.
The cheap hawks’ call for investment is now on the web at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, where Woolsey is an advisor.
Any time those of us advocating the development of clean energy technologies can get new allies onboard, it is good news, particularly such prominent and bipartisan voices. As one among many who fought to get media attention to clean energy and environmental matters in the 2004 presidential campaign, I find these new voices — from both sides of the aisle — a hopeful sign.