"Our foreign policy is now being held hostage" by foreign countries who influence our energy supplies. Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine) told a group of 30 students in a speech at Mather House yesterday.
Cohen, who was named Republican of the year by the Harvard Republican Club tonight, stressed the importance of geo-politics and said, "Our economy is only as important as our supply of energy."
Government support for funding of alternative energy projects such as solar energy is increasing, but nuclear power does not have a bright future, Cohen said. He added that nuclear power must still play a role in the economy, and that shutting down many existing plants would have severe economic repercussions.
There will probably not be a rapid expansion of nuclear plant construction not only because of the Harrisburg incident, but also because of the expense and regulatory time lags involved in the plant construction, Cohen said.
Cohen, who visited China in January, said he is unhappy over the "terms and timing" of the United States' recognition of the Chinese government Cohen said that foreign countries' faith in the United States' loyalty and reliability is more important than China's claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. He cautioned China not to expect too much from its new trade relationship with the U.S.
Cohen said he is often faced with "the classic dilemma for any representative" over his feelings about the drain of economic resources from the frost-belt to the sun-belt, and his national versus his regional interests.
A member of the non-partisan North-Eastern caucus which is designed to offset the Congressional voting power of such sun-belt states as California, Cohen said he has had to vote against his caucus and "go with my conscious" in some matters where he felt that the overall Federal benefits would outweigh his regional interests.
"My principle responsibility is to speak on behalf of the people of Maine," Cohen said.