Medical research is critical. We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources. Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. Listen, seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.
On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal -- in jobs that pay better than average. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future -- especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels.
We do them no favor when we don't show them where the trends are going. And that way, we put money back into those communities, and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.
Now, none of this is going to happen overnight. And, yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. And it's within our grasp. Climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. Let me tell you something.
The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. It's not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead -- they call us. Now, as someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time.
The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia. Economic headwinds are blowing in from a Chinese economy that is in significant transition. Even as their economy severely contracts, Russia is pouring resources in to prop up Ukraine and Syria -- client states that they saw slipping away from their orbit.
And the international system we built after World War II is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality. Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks. They use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country.
Their actions undermine and destabilize our allies. We have to take them out. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages -- they pose an enormous danger to civilians; they have to be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence. That is the story ISIL wants to tell.
We just need to call them what they are -- killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed. If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, authorize the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote. But the American people should know that with or without congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them. Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell.
When you come after Americans, we go after you. And it may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limits. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks.
Others will just fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees. The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet-bomb civilians. Fortunately, there is a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies; but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.
And as we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war. Our military, our doctors, our development workers -- they were heroic; they set up the platform that then allowed other countries to join in behind us and stamp out that epidemic.
The following is the text of Barack Obama's keynote address to the On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, Land That we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. parks — they don't expect government to solve all their problems. Throughout his political life, Barack Obama's brilliant oratory has We publish the key speeches in which he sets out his vision for America – and the world . Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic . indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems;.
Hundreds of thousands, maybe a couple million lives were saved. It cuts 18, taxes on products made in America, which will then support more good jobs here in America. With TPP, China does not set the rules in that region; we do.
You want to show our strength in this new century? Approve this agreement. Give us the tools to enforce it. Let me give you another example. Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, and set us back in Latin America. So if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the Cold War is over -- lift the embargo.
The point is American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world -- except when we kill terrorists -- or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right. It means seeing our foreign assistance as a part of our national security, not something separate, not charity. When we lead nearly nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change, yes, that helps vulnerable countries, but it also protects our kids.
When we help Ukraine defend its democracy, or Colombia resolve a decades-long war, that strengthens the international order we depend on. When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick -- applause -- it's the right thing to do, and it prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores.
That's within our grasp. That's American strength. That's American leadership. And that kind of leadership depends on the power of our example. It is expensive, it is unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies. Let me just say this.
This is not a matter of political correctness. This is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity, and our openness, and the way we respect every faith. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals.
It betrays who we are as a country. And that brings me to the fourth, and maybe the most important thing that I want to say tonight.
The future we want -- all of us want -- opportunity and security for our families, a rising standard of living, a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids -- all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics. This is a big country -- different regions, different attitudes, different interests.
Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, fiercely, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security. But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise, or when even basic facts are contested, or when we listen only to those who agree with us. Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention.
Too many Americans feel that way right now. There are a whole lot of folks in this chamber, good people who would like to see more cooperation, would like to see a more elevated debate in Washington, but feel trapped by the imperatives of getting elected, by the noise coming out of your base.
It's the worst-kept secret in Washington. And a lot of you aren't enjoying being trapped in that kind of rancor. We have to change the system to reflect our better selves. I think we've got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.