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pd03ja00 Memorandum on Providing Disaster Assistance to Venezuela...
parenthetically, one of the benefits of our research into the human genome is that we'll be able to analyze these viruses much more quickly and come up with antidotes much more quickly than we used to be able to. Even now, when new strains of diseases--whether it's AIDS or anything else--comes up, we can identify them so much more quickly than we used to be able to. So what I think will happen--let me just make this point--the organized forces of destruction will take maximum advantage of new technologies and new scientific developments just like democratic societies do. So I think, just like the computers are all being miniaturized and people carry these little [[Page 2675]] pads around that have--and now you've got these gadgets where you can use as a telephone or a typewriter, do E-mail and all that. Well, the same miniaturization will apply to biological and chemical weapons. And if people should get nuclear materials that can be made into a bomb, to nuclear materials--which is why we've worked so hard with Russia to control access to that stuff. So we've just got to be ready. There will always be bad guys out there in the world who will try to take advantage of people's vulnerabilities. Mr. Rose. But aren't the odds against us, when you describe that kind of technological advantage--I mean, and just recently two people trying--in separate cases--trying to get inside America's borders with explosives--it gets more and more easier to conceal, and more and more the likelihood that an American city---- The President. Well, if you go back through all of human history and you look at conflicts in weapons systems--and that's what we're talking about, biological, chemical weapons--offense always precedes defense; that is, you've got to know what you're defending against. So my goal in this whole thing, trying to mobilize the country on biological, chemical weapons, and make sure the Government is doing everything possible, is to close the gap between offense and defense. And the answer to your question is, we won't be severely--there might be incidences. I mean, the World Trade Center was blown up; Oklahoma City was blown up. We've got a guy in the laboratory in the Middle West, almost 5 years ago, who was trying to develop biological agents, political extremist. Mr. Rose. And there are scary ideas coming out of science, where viruses can attack certain ethnic groups? The President. Yes, there are people that---- Mr. Rose. The potential of science to do harm is alarming. The President. But you know, it's always been that way. I mean, it's always been that way. And I think that I'm actually more optimistic than--keep in mind, no one believes that someone's going to come in and kill everybody in America. That's what we worried about during the cold war. And we still have to deal with these traditional threats. That's why India and Pakistan is perhaps--the Kashmiri issue is perhaps the most dangerous one in the world today because you've got two nuclear powers there who are somewhat uncertain about one another and why we have to work hard to avoid that. But yes, there will be problems. Yes, there could be terrible incidences. But I would say to the American people, they should, on balance, be hopeful. But what they should do is to support the leadership of this country in putting maximum resources into research and development so that we're prepared. And I think we will grow increasingly sophisticated in picking these people up, increasingly sophisticated in detecting these weapons, and what we can't afford is to have a long period of time where these offensive capabilities of the new age are better than the defensive capabilities. If we can close the gap between offense and defense, we'll be fine. Mr. Rose. What's interesting about a conversation about the future with you is that because of this office and your curiosity, you see and know more than almost anyone. I mean, you are aware because you talk to the scientists; you talk to people responsible. The President. I think about it a lot. Mr. Rose. You do? The President. Sure. I have to. See, I think one of the jobs of the President, because of the unique opportunity of the office you just described it, is to always be thinking about what will happen 10, 20, 30 years from now, and to allocate some time and effort to make decisions for which there will be almost no notice. You know, right now, I mean, hardly anybody reports on or thinks about the work we're doing in biological warfare or chemical warfare-- the speech I gave at the National Science Foundation--but it's fine. It's what my former national security aide, Tony Lake, used to call ``the dog that doesn't bark.'' And there is a sense in which there's a bunch of dogs in this old world you don't want to bark. Mr. Rose. It's the old notion about if the tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did the tree fall? Can you--are there things that we don't know about that alarm you? This sense of science and where it's at and [[Page 2676]] what's coming down the pike that gives you great pause? The President. Well, there are a lot of things that concern me. You know, we've done a lot of work--the other thing that, besides the chemical and biological weapons, trying to protect computer systems. Year 2000 Problems Mr. Rose. Speak to Y2K. Where are your concerns, and do you think that most of those---- The President. My concerns--well, they're much more traditional in Y2K. I think we've done a good job here. We've spent a lot of money--I say we, the American people, not just the Government, the private sector--we've spent a lot of money, tried to be ready. I feel a high level of confidence. It wouldn't bother me a bit to get on a commercial airline, for example, on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day and fly around. I think our systems are in order here. My concerns really are for some of our friends around the world that have more rudimentary computer networks and capacities and whether they will have a shutdown that they won't be able to immediately fix or get around. Mr. Rose. And make them vulnerable to what? The President. Well, if there were problems in the financial system, what if records disappeared and people lost money? That would be destabilizing in some countries. If power systems---- Mr. Rose. And make them vulnerable to outside forces, to kinds of elements you mentioned earlier? The President. Well, maybe, but I think more internal destabilization. What if a power system shuts down in a big country with a hard winter? How long will it take to get back up before anyone would freeze to death? I mean, these are the kinds of practical problems that I'm concerned about. But I think that--I'm talking about something far more insidious, though. What we have to--this is, again, offense and defense. What we have to do--this technology of computers is changing so fast, and we've got a lot of whizbangs out there, and they can make a ton of money working for bad guys. So what we've got to do is to continuously work on protecting the cyber security, the infrastructure of the information economy, just like we're trying to deal with chemical and biological warfare and the miniaturization of weapons and all this. But most people are good people. We've got plenty of talented people. We just need to be imagining the future, thinking about all the problems as well as all the opportunities, and then prepare. Society always has problems; there are always misfortunes. But basically, I believe the future is quite promising and far more exciting than any period in history. I wish I were going to live to be 150; I'd love to see what happens. Possibilities of the Future Mr. Rose. Would you like to be cloned? The President. No. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. [Laughter] Mr. Rose. There is this thing, too. I mean, think about Chelsea's children, your grandchildren, say the year 2050, whatever the appropriate time might be. What's this world going to look like? Is it going to be more interesting, more challenging? How will we travel; what kind of food will we eat; will we go to other planets? The President. I think we'll be eating food that's like what we eat now. I think it will be safer. I think we'll know a lot more about it, even safer than it is now. I think that in big, urban areas, I think we'll still have our love affairs with cars. I think they will be much more safe. They'll be made of composite materials that are much more resistant to wrecks. And I think where there is a lot of heavy traffic, I think that we'll all travel by a computerized plan. I also think there will be a lot more rapid rail transit. I think it will be safer. It'll be better, and I think we'll be able to do things while we travel and spend more time. I think we will go into outer space, and at sometime in the next century, I think there will be large, permanent platforms sustaining life in outer space that will basically be jumping-off places to distant planets and maybe even beyond. That's what I think will happen. Q. Hold on one second. I know you've got to change tape. Okay. [[Page 2677]] Mr. Rose. You said computerized plan---- The President. No, I meant cars. You want me to say it again? Mr. Rose. How much time do we have? The President. I just misspoke myself. Mr. Rose. How much time do we have here? The President. I don't know, 10 minutes, 5 minutes? You want to do that again? Mr. Rose. The last question? All right. Okay. Think about the future of your grandchildren, Chelsea's children, the year 2050. What will life be like then? What kind of food; what kind of transportation; will we be living on other planets? Will we still be concerned about things that concern us now, like overweight, stuff like that? The President. I don't think all of the problems will go away. I think the food will be pretty much like it is now, but even safer. I think that on Earth, we'll travel in automobiles, still, but in traffic jams, we'll have automated systems. I think there will be a lot more high speed rail. I think we'll travel in ways that give us more free time to do things while we travel. I think that there will be large platforms in outer space that will be jumping-off places to distant planets, and I think that the biomedical advances will be stunning. I think a lot of cancers will be cured. I think there will be a vaccine for AIDS. I think that the research in the human gene and the revolution, the continuing revolution in microchips will enable people to probably cure spinal cord injuries by having a programmed chip that goes into the spine and replicates all the nerves that were damaged. I think that it'll be a fascinating time. And I think there will be lots and lots of continuous daily communication with people across national and cultural lines. Mr. Rose. Would you go to space if you had the opportunity? The President. I might. I'm real interested in it. I like it a lot. I think it's important. Post-Presidential Plans Mr. Rose. What one thing do you most want to accomplish--I've got to go--when you leave this office? What's the single most important thing for you to accomplish when you leave? The President. You mean, after I'm not President anymore? Mr. Rose. After you're not President. The President. I think the most important thing is for me to be a useful citizen of this country and of this world, because I've had opportunities here only my other living predecessors have had. And I think that for me to be able to continue the work I've done in racial and religious and ethnic reconciliation and trying to convince people that we can grow the global economy and still preserve the environment and trying to empower the poor and the dispossessed, in trying to spread the universal impact of education and use technology to benefit ordinary people, these kinds of things--I think I should continue to do this work and trying--I want to get young people into public service. I want them to believe this is noble and important work. So I think, in a word, I have to be a good citizen now. That's the most important thing I can do when I leave office is to use the maximum--to the maximum extent I can, the knowledge that I have, the experience that I've gained to be a really good citizen. Mr. Rose. Thank you, Mr. President. The President. Thank you. Note: The interview was videotaped at 5:10 p.m. on December 22 in the Oval Office for later broadcast, and the transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 28. A portion of this interview could not be verified because the tape was incomplete. The text of this interview follows the transcript as released by the Office of the Press Secretary. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 2677-2678] Monday, January 3, 2000 Volume 35--Number 52 Pages 2669-2680 Week Ending Friday, December 31, 1999 Statement Announcing Zero Tolerance for Prescription Drug Internet Sites Harmful to Patient Safety and Health December 28, 1999 Prescription drug sites on the Internet have given consumers new options to obtain needed medications, sometimes at a more affordable price. This industry is in its infancy, however, and rogue operators pose a threat [[Page 2678]] to the health of Americans. Today we are unveiling a proposal that sends a signal that we have zero tolerance for prescription drug Internet sites that ignore Federal and State laws and harm patient safety and health. Dispensing medications through the Internet without prescriptions or licenses must stop. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 2678] Monday, January 3, 2000 Volume 35--Number 52 Pages 2669-2680 Week Ending Friday, December 31, 1999 Statement on Fiscal Year 2001 Housing Vouchers December 29, 1999 I am pleased to announce that my budget for FY 2001 will include $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to help America's hard- pressed working families. These housing vouchers subsidize the rents of low income Americans, helping them to move closer to job opportunities. Housing vouchers are a critical part of my administration's efforts to reform welfare, reward work, support working families, and provide affordable housing for low income families. In today's booming economy, about two-thirds of new jobs are being created in the suburbs--far from where many low income families live. These new housing vouchers will enable families to move closer to a new job, reduce a long commute, or secure more stable housing that will help them get or keep a job. We should use 32,000 of the 120,000 new housing vouchers to help families moving from welfare to work and to use 18,000 vouchers to help homeless individuals and families secure permanent housing. Last year we worked with Congress to secure 50,000 housing vouchers, the first in 4 years. This November we fought hard to provide 60,000 additional vouchers for hard-pressed working families in the final FY 2000 budget agreement--after having been eliminated by both the House and Senate bills. As we work on the next budget, I urge Congress to join me in a bipartisan effort to fund new housing vouchers that will make
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