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Iowa Press #2804 - Dr. Kenneth Quinn
September 24, 2000

Borg: CONSUMER GROUPS, THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, AND FARMERS ALL WRESTLING WITH THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE LATEST INNOVATION ON THE BREAKFAST TABLE... GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS. WE FOCUS ON ISSUES IN THE GMO DEBATE WITH DR. KENNETH QUINN, PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION, ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY: FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IT'S ONE OF THOSE COMPLICATED ISSUES THAT VERY FEW KNOW VERY MUCH ABOUT. YET, AT THE SAME TIME, IT'S AN ISSUE ON WHICH ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. THE ISSUE IS GMOs... GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS IN THE WORLD'S FOOD SUPPLY. THE APPLICATION OF HIGH-TECH GENE SCIENCES HAS GREATLY AFFECTED THE SCIENTIFIC AND AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES AND HAS ENERGIZED CONSUMER GROUPS. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: GMOs HAVE REVOLUTIONIZED AND PERMANENTLY ALTERED THE PRODUCTION OF FOOD AND, FOR THAT REASON, IT'S A POLITICAL ISSUE TOO. AND TODAY THE DISCUSSION FOCUSES NOT SO MUCH ON IF THE WORLD CAN FEED ITS BOOMING POPULATION... BUT HOW. A BLUE-RIBBON CONTINGENT OF INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED FOOD EXPERTS COMES TO IOWA NEXT MONTH TO DELIBERATE THE SCIENTIFIC, PRACTICAL, AND MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF GMOs. THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM IS SPONSORED BY THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION. AND JOINING US TODAY, THE FOUNDATION'S PRESIDENT, DR. KENNETH QUINN. AMBASSADOR QUINN, WELCOME TO IOWA PRESS.

Quinn: WELL, IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE. THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE FROM YOU, I THINK PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW VERY WELL: DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA.

Henderson: WHAT IS THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION'S POSITION ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS?

Quinn: WORLD PRIZE FOUNDATION DOESN'T TAKE A POSITION ON GMOs, GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS. OUR ROLE, AS I SEE IT, IS TO BE THAT KIND OF IMPARTIAL FORUM WHERE WE CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. WE HAVE A GREAT INTEREST -- WE DO HAVE A POSITION ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD IN THE 21ST CENTURY, BEING ABLE TO FEED PEOPLE AND COUNTER MALNUTRITION AND PREVENT FAMINE AND STARVATION. HOW THAT GETS DONE IS A MATTER FOR SCIENTISTS AND FOR THOSE EXPERTS IN THE FOOD AREA TO DETERMINE. WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS BE ABLE TO BRING THEM TOGETHER. I'D LIKE TO HAVE -- WE'RE AIMING TO HAVE ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS AND HIGH-LEVEL FORUMS ANYPLACE IN THE WORLD ON THIS SUBJECT. SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO. I THINK IF WE DON'T TAKE A POSITION, IF WE DON'T MAKE A JUDGMENT ON THAT, THAT WE'RE BETTER ABLE TO BE A FORUM FROM WHICH PEOPLE CAN TAKE AWAY A JUDGMENT AND HOPEFULLY GET TO A CONSENSUS.

Henderson: WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS A NEED FOR SUCH A FORUM?

Quinn: WELL, I JUST CAME BACK TO IOWA IN JANUARY AFTER SERVING ABROAD. IT DIDN'T TAKE ME LONG TO FIND OUT THAT ONE OF THE ISSUES AT THE TOP, NOT ONLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL AGENDA, BUT THE INTERNATIONAL FOREIGN POLICY AGENDA, IS ABOUT GMOs AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE NEXT GREEN REVOLUTION. AND THINGS THAT ARE BEING DONE IN BIOTECHNOLOGY ARE IMPORTANT, THEY'RE INNOVATIVE, BUT THEY ALSO RAISE SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED ABOUT ETHICS, ABOUT SAFETY, ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. AND IN SPEAKING WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK, WE'RE LOOKING AT WHAT TOPIC WE HAVE, AND I SAID, "GOVERNOR, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT HAVING A CONFERENCE ON GMOs WOULD BE SOMETHING PROBABLY AT THE VERY TOP OF INTEREST FOR PEOPLE NOT ONLY IN OUR STATE BUT OUR COUNTRY AND WORLDWIDE." AND THE GOVERNOR SAID, "I THINK IT WOULD BE A GREAT SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY IF WE DID THAT," SO THAT'S WHY WE'VE GONE DOWN THIS ROAD.

Yepsen: MR. AMBASSADOR, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IS THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH THIS SYMPOSIUM.

Quinn: WELL, THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE -- THIS IS OLYMPICS WEEK AND A LOT OF US HAVE BEEN SPENDING TIME -- I CERTAINLY HAVE -- WATCHING THE OLYMPICS. I LIKE TO THINK OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE AS THE OLYMPICS OF FOOD IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE. WE LOOK TO SEE WHO DESERVES THE GOLD MEDAL THIS YEAR FOR MAKING THAT MOST SIGNIFICANT, EXCEPTIONAL BREAKTHROUGH IN TERMS OF ANYTHING IN THE FOOD PRODUCTION OR DISTRIBUTION CHAIN THAT CAN HELP ASSURE GREATER QUANTITY, QUALITY, OR AVAILABILITY OF FOOD AROUND THE WORLD. AND WE HAVE GIVEN THAT GOLD MEDAL IN THE PAST TO CHINA, TO BANGLADESH, TO SWITZERLAND, TO THE UNITED KINGDOM, TO INDIA, TO THE UNITED STATES. AND THIS YEAR WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TWO WINNERS UP THERE ON THAT MEDAL STAND TOGETHER: A WOMAN -- FIRST TIME EVER, WE'LL HAVE A WOMAN LAUREATE -- AND A MAN. SHE'S FROM MEXICO; HE'S FROM INDIA. AND THEY HAVE DONE SOMETHING VERY EXCEPTIONAL IN DEVELOPING SOMETHING CALLED QUALITY PROTEIN MAIZE, HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS CORN. AND THEY'RE GOING TO GET A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS, NOT A GOLD MEDAL BUT A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE PRIZE ENDOWED BY JOHN RUAN. THE PRIZE, OF COURSE, WAS STARTED AND INSPIRED BY NORMAN BORLAUG.

Borg: FROM CRESCO, IOWA, WHO LED THE GREEN REVOLUTION BY DEVELOPING A NEW KIND OF WHEAT, I BELIEVE IT WAS.

Quinn: EXACTLY. AND HE RECEIVED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR HIS WORK IN 1970. BUT THEY SAID, "WELL, WHY DID HE GET THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE?" IT'S BECAUSE THERE IS NO NOBEL PRIZE FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE. HE SAID, YOU KNOW -- OBVIOUSLY, HE'S A VERY HUMBLE MAN, A WONDERFUL PERSON. HE SAID, "YOU KNOW, SO MANY OTHERS DESERVE RECOGNITION; WE SHOULD HAVE A PRIZE LIKE THE NOBEL."

Borg: I'M GOING TO GO BACK TO YOUR ORGANIZATION AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS. YOU'VE CALLED THIS AN IMPORTANT INNOVATIVE REVOLUTION, BUT YOU ALSO RAISE THE POINT THAT IT HAS ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS. IS IT YOUR POSITION, THOUGH, AS NOT SO MUCH AN EXPERT ON GMOs AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED THINGS, BUT THE WORLD'S FOOD SUPPLY -- IS IT YOUR POSITION THAT CONSUMERS MUST EVENTUALLY ACCEPT GMOs IN ORDER TO FEED THE WORLD?

Quinn: I WOULD NOT SAY THAT IS MY POSITION. I WANT TO BE CLEAR THAT MY DEGREE IS NOT IN AGRONOMICS OR AGRICULTURE. IT'S IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. WHAT I BRING TO THIS PROCESS IS BEING ABLE TO TRY TO LINK IT TO THE WORLD OF GOVERNMENT POLICY AND FOREIGN POLICY AND TO DEVELOP THE MECHANISM BY WHICH WE CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. BUT THE QUESTION IS: CAN YOU FEED THE TWO BILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO COME ONTO THE FACE OF THE EARTH IN THE NEXT THREE DECADES OR SO WITHOUT GMOs? DO WE NEED THOSE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WHERE PEOPLE ARE FACING FAMINE? THEY'RE FACING CHRONIC MALNUTRITION. A BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET GO HUNGRY EVERY DAY OR ARE MALNOURISHED.

Borg: AMBASSADOR QUINN, THEN HOW DO YOU AS PRESIDENT OF THAT ORGANIZATION ANSWER THAT QUESTION?

Quinn: WELL, I ANSWER THE QUESTION BY SAYING WE NEED -- WE AS A WORLD, AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY, AND WE AS A COUNTRY NEED TO ANSWER THE QUESTION ABOUT HOW FAST CAN YOU GO WITH GMOs, BECAUSE THERE'S A GREAT NEED BUT THERE ALSO ARE SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. AND THOSE WHO SAY WE NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL, WE SHOULDN'T DO ANYTHING WITH GMOs UNTIL WE'RE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THEY'RE SAFE. AND OTHERS SAY WE CAN'T WAIT, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE STARVING. PEOPLE ARE DYING. 160 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE DIED OF FAMINE AND STARVATION IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS PLUS. WE HAVE PROBABLY EIGHT TO SIXTEEN MILLION PEOPLE IN THE HORN OF AFRICA THIS YEAR FACING FAMINE AND STARVATION. WE CAN'T ALLOW -- WE CAN'T TAKE THAT TIME. SO THE QUESTION IS HOW FAST CAN WE GO; HOW CAN WE BRING THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY TOGETHER WITH THE POLICY COMMUNITY AND THOSE WHO ARE ADVOCATES AND BRIDGE THAT GAP AND GET TO THAT CONSENSUS POINT WITH WHERE THE LINES CROSS.

Henderson: BECAUSE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE IN FOREIGN SERVICE, HOW DO YOU JUDGE EUROPEAN RESISTANCE TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS? IS IT A LITTLE BIT OF PROTECTIONISM OR A LOT A BIT OF PROTECTIONISM?

Quinn: I THINK YOU HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THE EUROPEANS ARE GOING THROUGH SEVERAL DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES WHICH ARE QUITE DIFFERENT FROM US. NUMBER ONE, THEY'VE HAD SOME SCARES WITH THINGS LIKE MAD COW DISEASE. NUMBER TWO, THEY ARE LOWERING THEIR BORDERS NOW AS PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR REALLY THE FIRST TIME. THIS IS A NEW EXPERIENCE. IN THE PAST, IF YOU LIVED IN AUSTRIA, WHERE I LIVED FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, THERE WEREN'T MANY PRODUCTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES THAT WERE GOING TO GET ACROSS THE BORDER WITHOUT BEING VERY CAREFULLY LOOKED AT. NOW A LOT OF THOSE BARRIERS ARE COMING DOWN, PRODUCTS ARE BEING SHIPPED BACK AND FORTH MORE EASILY, AND I THINK THAT BRINGS UP NORMAL CONCERNS. SO THE EUROPEANS ARE MORE NERVOUS. THEY'VE HAD SOME MORE TUMULTUOUS EXPERIENCES. AND I THINK, AS A RESULT OF THAT, THERE IS SOME CONSIDERABLE MORE FEAR AND CONCERN THERE THAN THERE IS IN THE UNITED STATES. WE, AFTER ALL, HAVE GOT AN FDA. WE ADDRESS THESE KIND OF ISSUES BEFORE WE HAVE MECHANISMS THAT PEOPLE TRUST. I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE THOSE SAME MECHANISMS OR THAT SAME LEVEL OF TRUST YET IN EUROPE.

Yepsen: AMBASSADOR QUINN, I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS ON YOU AND TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION FOR A MINUTE. YOU'VE HAD AN INTERESTING CAREER IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT. YOU COME OUT OF DUBUQUE, IOWA. YOU SPENT 32 YEARS IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE, LINED UP AS OUR AMBASSADOR TO CAMBODIA. DURING THAT TIME YOU DID A STINT WITH GOVERNOR BOB RAY WHERE YOU WORKED ON BRINGING REFUGEES TO IOWA FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA. TODAY GROUPS OF IOWANS ARE SUGGESTING WE NEED TO HAVE MORE IMMIGRATION, THAT WE NEED TO DO THAT AGAIN, THAT WE NEED TO REINVIGORATE THIS STATE, BRING MORE PEOPLE IN THROUGH IMMIGRATION. YET WE KNOW FROM POLLS THERE'S A LOT OF HOSTILITY AMONG IOWANS TO THAT IDEA. CAN IOWA BECOME AN IMMIGRATION DESTINATION AGAIN?

Quinn: WELL, I GUESS IOWA HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN IMMIGRATION DESTINATION. I KNOW WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IN DUBUQUE, THERE WAS A LOT OF POLARITY BETWEEN IRISH AND GERMANS, BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS. SO I THINK IN A WAY WE'RE SEEING SOME OF THE SAME KIND OF CONCERNS THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE. WHEN GOVERNOR RAY DID THE REFUGEE PROGRAM, WE GOT MORE MAIL ON THAT ISSUE IN OUR OFFICE THAN ON ANY OTHER SUBJECT. I USED TO HAVE TO ANSWER THEM ALL. THE OTHER AIDS, THEY HAD A LITTLE PILE OF PAPER LIKE THIS, AND MINE WAS UP TO ABOUT HERE. BUT THE INTERESTING THING WAS THAT WE GOT ABOUT AS MANY LETTERS THAT WERE POSITIVE AS WE DID THAT WERE OF CONCERN. MOST OF THE LETTERS OF CONCERN SAID, "YOU KNOW, FOREIGNERS ARE GOING TO COME HERE, THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE OUR JOBS, AND THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE WORK FOR US." SO THAT'S ONE ISSUE NOW THAT'S NOT REALLY AROUND. WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE JOBS. IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF TAKING JOBS AWAY FROM IOWANS. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE DID THE REFUGEE ISSUE, THERE WAS A GREAT COMPELLING MORAL INTEREST. AFTER ALL, WE HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN VIETNAM AND FELT, AS A COUNTRY, SOME RESPONSIBILITY IF IT TURNED OUT BAD. THESE ARE PEOPLE TO WHOM WE OWED SOMETHING, AND IT WAS SEEN AS FINITE. SO THAT ELEMENT IS NOT THERE. SO I THINK IT'S A LITTLE DIFFERENT EQUATION, BUT IT'S ONE THAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT SERIOUSLY. I COMMEND THE PANEL, THE 2010 PANEL AND VISION FOR IOWA, FOR BRINGING UP THE ISSUE AND CONFRONTING IT. OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE PUSHED IT ASIDE AS BEING TOO SENSITIVE. I THINK IT'S AN ISSUE THE STATE SHOULD HAVE A DEBATE ABOUT. AND I LOOK AROUND AND I TALK TO BUSINESSPEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD EXPERIENCE WITH THE SOUTHEAST ASIA REFUGEES WHO CAME, AND I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYBODY SAY A BAD WORD ABOUT THAT. THEY'RE TERRIFIC WORKERS. I THINK THEY'RE LIKE -- IT'S SOMETHING LIKE GMOs: SENSITIVE SUBJECT; THE WAY TO DEAL WITH IT... HAVE FORUM, HAVE DISCUSSION. WE HAD A PANEL EARLIER THIS YEAR, WE HAD ABOUT 150 PEOPLE THERE TO TALK JUST ABOUT THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE AND IMMIGRATION TO BRING THE ISSUES OUT. LET'S GET EVERYTHING OUT ON THE TABLE. LET'S DISCUSS IT AS A STATE.

Henderson: AS DAVID MENTIONED, THE DES MOINES REGISTER POLL INDICATED THE MAJORITY OF IOWANS DON'T WANT THEIR STATE GOVERNMENT ACTIVELY RECRUITING IMMIGRANTS TO LIVE HERE. AS AN ADVISER TO GOVERNOR RAY, HOW DID HE GALVANIZE PUBLIC OPINION? AND THROUGH THE EYES OF HISTORY, WE LOOK BACK AND THAT WAS A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE. HOW DOES A GOVERNOR AND STATE LEADERS IN THIS DAY AND AGE DO THE SAME THING WITH A DIFFERENT SET OF IMMIGRANTS?

Quinn: I HAD SUCH ENORMOUS RESPECT AND REGARD FOR GOVERNOR RAY BACK THEN, AS I STILL DO NOW, FOR WHAT HE DID, BECAUSE HE STOOD UP AND SAID "WE NEED TO DO THIS BECAUSE THIS IS RIGHT AND THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE." AND HE WOULD -- AT NIGHT WE'D BE THERE AT 10:00, 11:00 AT NIGHT LOOKING AT THE MAIL FROM PEOPLE WHO WERE OPPOSED, AND HE'D PHONE THEM HIMSELF AND TALK TO THEM. SO LIKE ANY ISSUE, TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO WILL STAND UP AND TAKE A LEADERSHIP POSITION IS VERY IMPORTANT IN BRINGING DEBATE ABOUT.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE IN THE NATIONAL DEBATE RIGHT NOW, AMBASSADOR, IS PERMANENT AND NORMAL TRADE RELATIONS WITH CHINA. THE U.S. SENATE, AS YOU KNOW, LAST WEEK APPROVED THAT DEAL. IS IT A GOOD DEAL? WHAT'S IT GOING TO MEAN FOR IOWA?

Quinn: I THINK IT'S A GOOD DEAL. I THINK IT'S GOING TO MEAN THAT IOWA IS ABLE TO DO MORE IN TERMS OF SELLING IN CHINA, THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO FACE THE KIND OF TARIFFS AND PROTECTION THAT WE HAVE THERE FROM CHINESE INDUSTRIES THAT ARE LOOKING TO KEEP A LOT OF THEIR MARKET FOR THEMSELVES. THAT'S THE NITTY-GRITTY THAT AMBASSADOR CHARLENE BARSHEFSKY HAS NEGOTIATED INTO THIS AGREEMENT.

Yepsen: HOW MUCH, THOUGH? OUR TWO SENATORS SEEM TO BE OF DIFFERENT MINDS ON THIS. SENATOR GRASSLEY SEEMS TO THINK IT'S GOING TO BE HUGE ECONOMIC BOON TO THE STATE. SENATOR HARKIN IS SAYING, "WELL, YOU BETTER GO SLOW. THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE THE NIRVANA." HOW DO YOU SEE THIS TRADE IS GOING TO OPEN UP?

Quinn: I THINK IF YOU GO TO CHINA, YOU CAN'T HELP BUT COME AWAY WITH FEELING THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC SOCIETIES. IT IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE TWO OR THREE PLACES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY WHERE ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF BUSINESS ARE BEING DONE. I WAS IN SHANGHAI IN 1979 RIGHT AT THE END OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION. THERE WERE NO NEW BUILDINGS. THERE WAS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF PEOPLE COMING OUT AND HAVING A LITTLE POLITICAL DEMONSTRATION. I WENT BACK ABOUT NINE YEARS LATER WITH GEORGE SCHULTZ WHEN HE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE. I DIDN'T THINK I WAS IN THE SAME PLACE. THERE WERE THESE HUGE OFFICE BUILDINGS THAT HAD SPRUNG UP. THERE WAS BUSINESS GOING. THEIR TRAFFIC WAS SNARLED, THE SURE SIGN OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. AND YOU GET THIS SENSE THAT CHINA IS REALLY COMING ON. SO THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY.

Borg: LET'S EXPAND THAT PERSPECTIVE INTO WHAT, A FEW YEARS AGO, WE WERE HEARING SO MUCH PACIFIC RIM, PACIFIC RIM, THE POTENTIAL OF THE PACIFIC RIM. THEN JAPAN'S ECONOMY HIT THE DOLDRUMS, AND WE DON'T HEAR PACIFIC RIM POTENTIAL VERY MUCH ANYMORE. DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN THE POTENTIAL OF THE PACIFIC RIM?

Quinn: I BELIEVE THE FUNDAMENTALS IN ASIA ARE VERY, VERY STRONG, BECAUSE YOU BASICALLY HAVE, IN ALMOST EVERY COUNTRY, AN INTEREST IN HAVING AN OPEN-MARKET TRADING SYSTEM. AND IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, THE PART THAT I'M MOST FAMILIAR WITH, 1975, WE BARELY HAD ANY TWO-WAY TRADE WITH THAILAND, WITH INDONESIA, WITH MALAYSIA. AND 20 YEARS LATER WE WERE DOING TEN TIMES AS MUCH BUSINESS. WE'RE DOING MORE TRADE WITH MALAYSIA THAN WE WERE DOING WITH THE ENTIRE SOVIET UNION, ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT MADE UP THE SOVIET UNION. MORE WITH KOREA THAN WITH FRANCE.

Borg: SOME MIGHT SAY, TOO, EXPORTING U.S. JOBS TO THE PACIFIC RIM COUNTRIES.

Quinn: THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT AS PART OF THIS GLOBALIZATION PROCESS THAT IT'S HAD THAT KIND OF IMPACT ON CERTAIN MANUFACTURING JOBS.

Yepsen: SOME AMERICANS FEEL THAT CHINA REALLY AT SOME TIME MAY POSE A THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. DO YOU THINK THAT'S TRUE? DO WE HAVE ANYTHING TO FEAR FROM THE CHINESE?

Quinn: I THINK ANY LARGE COUNTRY THAT HAS THE STRONG NATIONALIST SPIRIT AS CHINA DOES, THERE CAN ALWAYS BE PROBLEMS, SO WE HAVE TO BE -- ALWAYS HAVE ONE EYE OPEN NO MATTER WHERE WE'RE LOOKING. WAR HAS BEEN WITH THE INTERNATIONAL WORLD. SO I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE THAT IN MIND. WE SHOULD BE MINDFUL OF WHAT THE CHINESE DO. WE SHOULDN'T IGNORE THAT. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE SHOULDN'T BE OBSESSED WITH IT.

Henderson: THE U.S. IS IN THE PROCESS OF OPENING TRADE TIES WITH VIETNAM. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE POTENTIAL THERE?

Quinn: WELL, OBVIOUSLY IT'S A MUCH SMALLER COUNTRY, BUT VIETNAM IS A VERY INDUSTRIOUS COUNTRY. THEY'VE GOT 80 OR 90 MILLION PEOPLE. THEY HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR BEING A SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS COUNTRY. IT'S GOING TO TAKE LONGER. THEY'RE STILL WORKING THROUGH THEIR OWN POLITICS IN THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR COUNTRY, AND I THINK THEY ARE WARY ABOUT TOO MUCH OPENNESS MEANS A THREAT TO THEIR FORM OF STATE SOCIALIST CONTROL. BUT THEY HAVE TURNED TOWARD MARKET MECHANISMS IN VIETNAM. SO THERE'S OPPORTUNITY THERE, BUT WE SHOULDN'T GET CARRIED AWAY WITH HOW MUCH THERE IS. IF I COULD JUST MAKE ONE OTHER POINT IN TERMS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE. AMERICA HAS INVESTED ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF OUR TREASURE, THE LIVES OF OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS, IN MAKING THE WORLD REALLY OPEN FOR RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS. AND I WORRY THAT WE'RE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THAT. I'M OUT IN ASIA AND I DON'T SEE AS MANY AMERICAN BUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES COMING. I DON'T SEE AS MANY COMING AS THERE ARE CHINESE OR JAPANESE. AND OUR AID PROGRAMS HAVE CUT BACK, SOMEHOW IN THE SENSE THAT AID IS ABOUT GIVING THINGS AWAY. AID DEVELOPS COUNTRIES TO WHERE THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY PRODUCTS FROM US. THAT'S OUR AID PROGRAM IN THAILAND, IN INDONESIA. IT MEANT THAT THOSE COUNTRIES DEVELOPED TO THE POINT WHERE THEY COULD START BUYING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, AGRICULTURAL MANUFACTURING PRODUCTS FROM THE UNITED STATES. AND WE ARE, I THINK, IN DANGER OF HAVING INVESTED ALL THIS AND MAKING THE WORLD OPEN TO THE UNITED STATES TURNING AWAY FROM IT.

Borg: ARE YOU SAYING THAT'S A GOVERNMENT ROLE TO FOSTER BUSINESS AND TO ENCOURAGE U.S. BUSINESS TO INVEST THERE?

Quinn: ABSOLUTELY. I USED TO GET A REPORT CARD AS AMBASSADOR FROM THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ABOUT WHAT I WAS DOING IN FOSTERING AND ASSISTING AMERICAN BUSINESS.

Yepsen: KAY'S QUESTION ABOUT VIETNAM PROMPTS ME TO ASK THIS. SOME AMERICANS STILL THINK THERE'S A P.O.W./M.I.A. PROBLEM. DO YOU THINK SO? HAVE WE PUT THAT BEHIND US?

Quinn: WE HAVE MADE GREAT STRIDES IN GETTING INFORMATION AND GETTING ACCOUNTING FOR OUR P.O.W.s. I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T WANT TO SAY THAT IT'S OVER OR TOTALLY BEHIND US, BECAUSE THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE. WHEN I CAME TO THE JOB AS CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. P.O.W./M.I.A. COMMITTEE IN 1990, WE COULDN'T GET INTO THOSE COUNTRIES, WE COULDN'T GET INTO PRISONS, WE COULDN'T GO OUT AND LOOK FOR OUR STILL-MISSING MEN. AND NOW THANKS TO WORK WITH AMBASSADOR PETE PETERSON, ANOTHER GOOD IOWAN WHO IS OUR AMBASSADOR AT HANOI AND A FORMER P.O.W. HIMSELF, SENATOR KERRY, SENATOR MCCAIN, AND OTHERS, AND TWO ADMINISTRATIONS -- THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION -- WE HAVE GOTTEN INFORMATION ABOUT THE FATE OF HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF AMERICAN SERVICEMEN. SO WE'VE MADE LARGE STRIDES AND WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT, SERVE OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS BY OPENING UP THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH VIETNAM.

Henderson: WHILE THE U.S. IS OPENING TRADE RELATIONS WITH CHINA THROUGH MFN, WE STILL HAVE THIS INTRANSIGENCE TOWARDS CUBA. DO YOU SEE THAT EVER SORT OF WANING AT ANY POINT UNTIL FIDEL CASTRO IS GONE?

Quinn: I'VE NEVER WORKED ON CUBA, SO THIS WILL STRICTLY BE A PERSONAL VIEW. CUBA SEEMS TO BE A BURR IN THE SADDLE OF OUR COUNTRY THAT'S MUCH DIFFERENT FROM CHINA, OR EVEN VIETNAM. IT'S SO CLOSE. WHAT THE CUBANS DID IN BRINGING THE MISSILES THERE IN 1960, I MEAN -- I STILL REMEMBER LISTENING TO THE RADIO AT NIGHT AND HEARING PEOPLE TALK ABOUT: "HAVE THE MISSILES BEEN LAUNCHED; ARE THEY GOING TO HIT?" I WAS SCARED. I WAS AS SCARED AS I'VE EVER BEEN IN IOWA THAT SOMEHOW WE WERE ABOUT TO HAVE THE NUCLEAR WAR. AND I THINK THAT LASTS A LONG TIME.

Borg: BEFORE WE LEAVE OUR FOOD DISCUSSION HERE, WE HEAR MUCH NOW ABOUT THE STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE. SHOULD WE HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT FOR FOOD? SHOULD WE HAVE A PANTRY?

Quinn: I GUESS THE SHORT ANSWER WOULD BE THAT YOU ALWAYS LIKE TO HAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING. IT SEEMS LIKE IT'S PRUDENT TO HAVE FOOD IN RESERVE. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE QUESTIONS OF STORAGE AND THAT KIND OF CAPABILITY, BUT I THINK -- I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HAVING A RESERVE OR NOT. I WOULD TURN TO EXPERTS. BUT HAVING THE CAPABILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE ALWAYS ABLE TO PRODUCE ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED OUR COUNTRY IS AN ESSENTIAL ITEM OF NATIONAL SECURITY.

Yepsen: TALKING ABOUT FOOD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DEBATE IN THIS COUNTRY NEXT YEAR OVER A NEW FARM BILL. HAVE YOU GIVEN ANY THOUGHT, IN YOUR POSITION AS HEAD OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE, AS TO WHAT OUGHT TO BE IN THE NEXT U.S. FARM BILL?

Quinn: THAT IS NOT AN ISSUE THAT'S COME UP. WE'VE BEEN FOCUSED ON HOW CAN WE MAKE THE PRIZE IN OUR SYMPOSIUM THIS YEAR. AND OUR YOUTH INSTITUTE -- I HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE TO MENTION THAT -- BUT TO MAKE THAT AS EFFECTIVE AS IT CAN BE. I HAVEN'T TURNED TO THE ISSUES IN THE FARM BILL.

Yepsen: I WANT TO GO BACK TO SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO WHERE YOU SAID TO DEAN THAT YOU WEREN'T SURE WE WERE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE TRADE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE HAVE IN THE WORLD. WRITE ME A PRESCRIPTION. WHAT SHOULD THE UNITED STATES DO? WHAT SHOULD IOWA DO TO CORRECT IT? YOU MENTIONED MORE FOREIGN AID. BUT WHAT OTHER THINGS DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD BE DOING TO FOSTER MORE TRADE AND TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM THAT YOU MENTIONED?

Quinn: OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE USING THE INTERNET, AND I'M SO OLD THAT I'M NEVER GOING TO BE THE PERSON WHO COMES UP WITH THOSE. BUT I THINK HAVING THE WHEREWITHAL FOR BUSINESSPEOPLE TO EASILY GO TO THESE COUNTRIES AND EASILY BE CONNECTED IS CRUCIAL. WHAT WE'D SEE TIME AFTER TIME WOULD BE LARGE BUSINESS DELEGATIONS COMING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AND NOT SO MANY COMING FROM THE UNITED STATES. I ALSO HAVE TO SAY THAT I DON'T FIND THE INTEREST HERE. AND WE MAYBE AREN'T LOOKING -- AS EXPANSIVE IN OUR LOOKING. SO I THINK BETWEEN OUR COMMERCE DEPARTMENT AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT, WE NEED TO BE REACHING OUT IN OUR OWN COUNTRY TO OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND SAYING, "HEY, WE'LL MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU." I WAS PART OF A TEAM THAT SAID COME UP WITH SOME INNOVATIVE IDEAS. AND I SAID WE OUGHT TO HAVE A PLACE WHERE IT'S SORT OF ONE-STOP SHOPPING, WHERE ANY BUSINESSPERSON IN THE UNITED STATES CAN CALL UP 24 HOURS A DAY AND THERE'S SOMEBODY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYING, "I'LL HELP YOU, I'VE GOT THE NAMES, HERE'S THE COUNTRY, I'LL PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH OUR EMBASSY."

Yepsen: DOES IOWA NEED TO DO -- HAVE MORE TRADE MISSIONS?

Quinn: I THINK YOU CAN'T HAVE TOO MANY OF THOSE.

Yepsen: WHERE WOULD YOU SEND THEM?

Quinn: WELL, I'M FAMILIAR WITH ASIA, SO I'M ALWAYS INCLINED TO LOOK THERE. EUROPE HAS A TENDENCY TO TAKE CARE OF ITSELF, BUT I THINK SOUTH AMERICA. AND I THINK LOOKING AROUND IN AFRICA. AND I THINK PARTICULARLY THE EMERGING, DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, THOSE WHO ARE JUST STARTING TO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. EASTERN EUROPE IS, OF COURSE, ANOTHER PLACE, BUT I WOULD BE LOOKING FOR WHERE ARE THE MARKET’S NOT FULLY DEVELOPED. WHERE'S THE CHANCE TO GET IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR TO MAKE THAT SALE, TO MAKE THAT CONNECTION THAT'S GOING TO LAST FOR 20 YEARS. THE OTHER THING I WOULD DO WHERE I THINK OUR COUNTRY IS IN GREAT DANGER OF NOT TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE POSSIBILITY IS WE NEED TO BRING PEOPLE HERE. WE NEED TO SPEND THE MONEY TO BRING BUSINESSPEOPLE, EDUCATORS, THE GOVERNMENTAL LEADERS OF THE FUTURE TO THE UNITED STATES. HAVE THEM SPEND TIME HERE. HAVE THESE KIND OF INTERNSHIPS WHERE WE BRING PEOPLE TO SPEND TIME WITH IOWA BUSINESSPEOPLE. CAN'T BUY THAT -- THE IMPACT OF THAT. IT PAYS OFF ENORMOUSLY AND IT PAYS OFF FOR 20 YEARS, AND IT DOESN'T COST VERY MUCH TO DO. AGAIN, AT A TIME THAT WE NEED THAT, PEOPLE THINK, "OH, WE'VE WON THE COLD WAR, WE DON'T NEED TO DO THAT ANYMORE." THE FUNDS ARE BEING CUT. THE FUTURE IS ALWAYS NOT GOING TO BE LIKE THIS. THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT MORE COMPETITION. THERE'S BIG COUNTRIES. RUSSIA IS GOING TO BE STRONGER. THERE'S CHINA. THE EUROPEAN UNION. IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD AND WE CAN'T SIT ON OUR HAUNCHES AND ON OUR LAURELS HERE AND THINK, OH, IT'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE OURS.

Henderson: GIVEN YOUR 32 YEARS OF FOREIGN SERVICE EXPERIENCE, TELL US WHAT THE WORLD VIEW IS OF THE UNITED STATES. YOU'VE COME FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT NOT VERY MANY IOWANS GET TO SEE.

Quinn: THE UNITED STATES ISN'T VIEWED ANYMORE AS THE WINNER OF WORLD WAR II AND A GREAT BENEVOLENT, FRIENDLY COUNTRY. I FEAR THE UNITED STATES IS INCREASINGLY BEING SEEN IN MANY PLACES AS ARROGANT; AS BEING A BULLY; AS PUSHING SMALLER COUNTRIES AROUND; OF BEING INTERESTED IN ITS OWN INTERESTS FOR ITS OWN POLITICAL REASONS AND ITS OWN DOMESTIC POLITICAL NEEDS AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE VIEWED AS THE RICHEST, MOST POWERFUL, AND ONLY SUPERPOWER. AND THAT IS A DANGEROUS PERCEPTION. IF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ALL FEEL "I DON'T LIKE THAT RICH BULLY OVER THERE," THEY ARE GOING TO -- OVER TIME THIS IS GOING TO TAKE ITS TOLL. AND WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AROUND ONE DAY AND SAY, "WHO'S REALLY A FRIEND OF AMERICA? WHO CAN WE LOOK TO?" AND SAY, "OH, THESE GUYS WILL REMEMBER WE BAILED THEM OUT, WE RESCUED THEM." THEY'RE NOT GOING TO. WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO REMEMBER IS THAT WHEN THERE WAS A TIME WHEN WE COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT MAGNIFICENT OR MUNIFICENT IN HELPING THEM THAT WE DIDN'T, AND WE PUSHED THEM AROUND.

Henderson: SO HOW DO WE TURN THAT AROUND?

Quinn: I THINK WE TURN IT AROUND BY ENSURING THAT OUR POLITICAL LEADERS, BOTH NATIONAL AND IN THE STATES, ARE GOING OUT, THEY'RE OVERSEAS, THEY'RE TRAVELING, THEY'RE UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD, THEY'RE HEARING VIEWS LIKE THAT, AND BY HEARING FROM DIPLOMATS AND AMBASSADORS. MY VIEW, THE ONE I JUST MENTIONED, IS ONE THAT'S SHARED, IN PRIVATE ANYWAY, BY MANY AMBASSADORS WHO SERVE OUR COUNTRY, BUT NOT NECESSARILY ONE THAT THOSE WHO ARE STILL IN THE SERVICE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SAY LIKE THIS: "I'M NOT THERE ANYMORE SO I CAN SAY IT,’ BUT IT'S A WORRY.

Borg: AMBASSADOR QUINN, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS. THANK YOU FOR BEING OUR GUEST TODAY.

Quinn: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. IT'S BEEN FUN.

Borg: THAT INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM SPONSORED BY THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION IS SCHEDULED NEXT MONTH. THAT WILL BE AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL IN DES MOINES, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 AND 13. NOW, ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, THE ATTENTION RETURNS TO THE POLITICAL ARENA. JOINING US, REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT REPRESENTATIVE TOM LATHAM AND DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER MIKE PALECEK, BOTH SEEKING TO REPRESENT NORTHWEST IOWA'S FIFTH U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. THAT'S NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. AND REMEMBER, TOO, THAT IOWA PRESS IS NOW ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB, AND YOU CAN CLICK IN THERE, FINDING TRANSCRIPTS OF PAST EDITIONS OF IOWA PRESS AND MORE. THE ADDRESS, ON YOUR SCREEN NOW, IS WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

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