Lever Time with David Sirota

On this week’s episode of Lever Time, David Sirota and Peter Goodman, The New York Times’ global economics correspondent, explore the pivotal role of Indonesia’s vast nickel reserve in the global electric vehicle (EV) revolution and the high-stakes geopolitical chess game the mineral has ignited. 

The strategic tug-of-war between the U.S. and China over nickel — a crucial component for electric vehicle batteries — has implications for global trade dynamics and international alliances. If China dominates the EV supply chain, what does that mean for the U.S.’ electric vehicle ambitions? The conversation serves as a reminder of how formerly mundane resources like nickel will become embroiled in increasingly complicated geopolitical issues as part of a future reliant on clean energy. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

BONUS EPISODE RECOMMENDATION: From July 2023, “LEVER TIME PREMIUM: Norman Solomon On America’s Invisible Wars.

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What is Lever Time with David Sirota?

From LeverNews.com — Lever Time is the flagship podcast from the investigative news outlet The Lever. Hosted by award-winning journalist, Oscar-nominated writer, and Bernie Sanders' 2020 speechwriter David Sirota, Lever Time features exclusive reporting from The Lever’s newsroom, high-profile guest interviews, and expert analysis from the sharpest minds in media and politics.

[Auto-generated transcript]

David Sirota 00:08
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of leverage on me. David Sirota on today's show, we're gonna be talking about a huge escalating conflict between the United States and China over the future of the global economy. It's a huge topic. And it's a conflict over the geopolitics of nickel. And its importance to the future of the planet. Yes, yes, I know. It's a little strange to be doing an entire show about a fairly common mineral. But here's the thing. Nickel, as a key component of batteries, plays a critical role in the global electric vehicle revolution and the looming climate crisis. So my guest today is New York Times global economics correspondent Peter Goodman, who's written about the pivotal role, Indonesia is playing in the geopolitical tug of war over nickel, and the geopolitical tug of war between the United States and China. It is a hugely important and fascinating topic. Now, for our paid subscribers. We're also always dropping bonus episodes into our lever premium podcast feed. Producer Frank is still out of town on vacation this week. So we won't have a new bonus episode in the premium podcast feed this week. But you can go back and listen to one subscriber only episode I did earlier this year with activist and journalist Norman Solomon, we talked about America's invisible wars, and how new technologies have made it easier than ever for our military to conduct warfare that's hidden from public view. We'll include a link to the bonus interview with Norman Solomon in this episode's description. If you want access to our premium content, head over to lever news.com and click the subscribe button in the top right to become a supporting subscriber. That'll give you access to the lever premium podcast feed. It gives you access to exclusive live events, even more in depth reporting, and you'll be directly supporting the investigative journalism that we do here at the lever. Okay, so let's go directly to our interview about the world of nickel. It turns out that nickel is not just another metal. It's the linchpin for the future of electric vehicles. Its significance in the production of Evie batteries makes it a resource that nations are now vying for Indonesia has vast reserves of nickel, but the Biden administration has been cautious in partnering with that country. Why? Well, it has to do with the geopolitics, specifically, the geopolitics of China, and the ongoing, escalating conflict between the United States and China. It's a fascinating and complex web of geopolitical chess that I dive into with guest, Peter Goodman, the global economics correspondent of The New York Times, if you care about the race towards a clean energy future, and if you care about the escalating conflict between the United States and China, it's time to learn a little bit about nickel. Hey, Peter, how you doing? Good, how are you? I'm good. I'm good. Although your story was a little bit troubling. It was troubling in the sense that we all we being the world needs to all work together to deal with the climate crisis that threatens all life on the planet. And your story is an example of how we're not working together for that goal. And we in the in specific being the United States, and China and your story revolves around nickel. So I guess the question, first question here is, why is nickel so important to the climate crisis? And how are we not working together with China to use nickel to address the climate crisis?

Peter S. Goodman 03:59
Sure. Great questions. So nickel is a key element of one of the two main types of electric vehicle batteries. Now, unless we're planning to radically remake society on the fly, at the same time that we're trying to deal with climate change, there are going to be vehicles that are going to be needed to I mean, it's great to have bikes, it's great to have bike lanes, more public transportation, and these things are not mutually exclusive. But let's let's be real cars are not going to disappear anytime soon. And as long as they're going to be cars, we've got to be working very aggressively to get people into electric cars with the electricity powered by renewable sources. So nickel is a vital element in the making of the batteries for electric vehicles, and the largest stocks of nickel on earth or in Indonesia, and especially one of the outlying islands that I visited the island of Sulawesi, and Indonesia would like to qualify for these inflation Reduction Act, tax credits, that's a term that I have a hard time saying out loud, because it has nothing to do with reducing inflation. But it is a very important piece of legislation that has a lot of tax incentives in place, that are designed to make it cheaper for people to buy electric vehicles. And then there are a lot of dimensions that are supposed to encourage companies to start making all parts of the electric vehicle vehicle supply chain in the US. So that as the Biden administration tells us, we're, we're creating jobs, we're building up manufacturing capacity, at the same time, that we're aggressively transitioning to cleaner sources of energy. But the problem is that most of the nickel that now harvested and processed in Indonesia, relies on some forms of Chinese investment, Chinese companies have been very aggressive in identifying first of all, before anybody else, the importance of electric vehicles. And secondly, the importance of figuring out where the critical minerals are. So there's a lot of Chinese initiatives in Indonesia, and especially in Sulawesi, and the US is either going to have to figure out how to get some of that nickel. Or it's going to be moving slower with its plans to build up supply chain for electric vehicles. And the Biden administration has really split over what to do about this tax credit question. Some people say climate change is truly an existential threat. Every other issue takes a backseat. But some powerful people, especially in the National Security Council, think that the most important issue is our animosity with China containing China's technological might. And so for that reason, nickel harvested in Indonesia is not supposed to be encouraged and Indonesia is unlikely to get these tax credits. In 2014,

David Sirota 07:03
Indonesia banned the export of nickel or basically raw nickel. So in a sense that has forced companies and companies from all over the world, China, et cetera, et cetera, to build their their refineries and the like. They're in Indonesia. Where are we the United States, in comparison to China in terms of making those investments? Like how does that compare?

Peter S. Goodman 07:37
I mean, we're basically nowhere. And that's true for a whole bunch of reasons, some of which are legitimate reasons. American companies and Western companies in general, are much more vulnerable to campaigns from environmental organizations, lawsuits, class action lawsuits for people who are affected by bad working conditions and environmental standards. Chinese companies are coming from a country in which they are accustomed to dealing with a state that largely determines who gets access to resources and who doesn't. Environmental and workplace safety rules can often be skirted by cutting in a powerful official. And for decades now, Chinese policy has generally prioritized development, jobs, wealth building over clean air, clean water, and pollution has been accepted. Disruption has been accepted not necessarily by the public, but by the people in control of policy as the cost of advancing technological progress, generating jobs raising living standards. And you know, that's worked really well. But it's created a lot of enormous problems, and some of them are are these sorts of environmental issues. So Chinese companies have been in no way reluctant to just plunge in and do business however, business is done. I spent a lot of time following around a guy known as the Minister for everything. He's technically the Minister for maritime affairs and investment, but he's the ultimate dealmaker. This is a guy named pockley who Pandjaitan who's the right hand man to President Jokowi. And, you know, he's a guy who made He's a former four star general who amassed land holdings on the island of Borneo and the state of Kalimantan developed the largest coal company in Indonesia. Now, his nephew runs it but he's still he tells me owns 8% of it. It's very hard to tell who really owns it. Most of the companies controlled passively through the shell company in Singapore. He's profiting from from development and coal is how Indonesia developed 60% of its energy and everyone in Indonesia takes it as a given that POC loot, the Minister for everything is cutting himself in on a share of the proceeds from the He's Chinese investments. So there's their reasons of corruption, environmental workplace safety standards that would give a lot of Western companies pause in terms of getting involved in Indonesia, and China has been very aggressive in locking up critical.

David Sirota 10:14
Okay, so I want to go back to the to this China question for a second. So the Indonesian official, you mentioned who kind of sounds like the Robert Moses of Indonesia? That's a pretty decent, yeah. Although actually seems more corrupt, in the sense of having a financial stake in everything. But but we'll set that aside for a sec. He wants the United States, as you reported, to have a trade deal a minerals deal with Indonesia, so that the United States will begin investing in Indonesia for this nickel. But I want to go back to the to the to the China complication. I guess, if we start investing in our companies start investing in Indonesia to exploit the nickel that's needed for the electric vehicle revolution. What entanglements does that would that create visa vie China? I mean, why can't we just do that with Indonesia? Like, what? Like, where does China come in? That that that there's some sort of problem there or alleged problem that the Biden national security team is raising? Why can't we just do business with Indonesia and, and China can do business in Indonesia. And, you know, China can do its Evie stuff, and we can do our Evie stuff, and everyone's happy.

Peter S. Goodman 11:36
Look, there are a lot of people in the Biden administration who agree with everything that you just said, think that that ought to be the policy. But this is not exactly breaking news. There are more people in Washington on both sides of the political aisle, who've decided that our ultimate issue, the issue that should take precedence over all others, is what they see, as our cold warfare with China, we are increasingly in what feels like a Cold War, where all policies are about preventing Chinese companies, the Chinese state from amassing continued military progress, technological capabilities, and all other issues are taking a backseat there. So the theory is, and I mean, it's it's not the most coherent policy, when you get into the permutations like, like this one. The theory is, we don't want to be in a position where we're generating increasing business for Chinese companies. We don't want to be building wealth and technological, no half Chinese companies. Now this is quite frankly, a perverse place to be making that argument. Right.

David Sirota 12:45
But But let me just ask a specific question, like, like, I guess the question then is more specific is, isn't there a way for us to do business in Indonesia, our company to do business in Indonesia? Without doing those things for Chinese companies and the Chinese regime? Isn't there? I mean, or is this a question of Indonesia's already in the so called sphere of influence of China's already doing business with China, and therefore, we just nobody can be, you know, which side are you on? You're either with us or against us. And therefore, we can't do business, even with the other countries that are doing business with China like, like, I guess what I'm asking is, is like, is there a way to isolate our companies do business in Indonesia, for this nickel, Chinese companies do business in Indonesia for this nickel, and and there doesn't have to be any kind of like overlap, where we're somehow helping the Chinese.

Peter S. Goodman 13:38
In practical terms, a lot of people argue that there is a way to do just that. But this sphere of influence framing is I think, how a lot of people within the Biden administration see it. And I mean, the irony is, I spoke to a bunch of people both within the Indonesian government and energy experts who say, we would love to do business with the United States, we would love to have access to what is still the world's largest consumer market on Earth. We'd like the technological and marketing know how we're frankly, a lot of government officials told me a little uneasy about the extent to which the Chinese government is gaining influence in the region. We like the idea of having a counterweight. I mean, Indonesia is famously a charter member of the National riding to move, right. I mean, going back to the mid 1950s, I mean, Indonesia has been all about, we don't want to pick a side and the Cold War. We want to pursue policies that are for our own national interest, while ideally getting along with everybody. So so the position that you hear from Indonesian officials again, and again, don't make us pick aside. And defacto the American position seems to be if you don't pick Assad, you've picked China.

David Sirota 14:49
Yeah, and I mean, that seems, I mean, incredibly short sighted in this way. There's the other side of the argument would be a us doing business in Indonesia, keeps them non aligned, right? Like, the more I mean, I am not a free trader in the sense of a traditional free trade. I think that argument had been made about child, if we give China, you know, its Trade Preferences that will keep them more aligned with us, I think in some ways that that argument was was kind of nonsense, but in this case, it seems on top of everything, on top of the climate concerns, like if there's a powerful country, with a very strategically important reserve, that we don't want to be fully under the influence of China, then in theory, we should want to be doing some business with them, especially if it's business that we need to be doing to combat the climate crisis. And correct me if I'm wrong, but is there a way to access these levels of exploitable nickel that are needed for for Okay, so the answer is no,

Peter S. Goodman 16:03
No, that's, that's the most important part of this conversation. So this is literally a zero sum game, there is no substitute. If we're going to realize the aspirations laid out not only in the inflation Reduction Act, but in in other pieces of legislation like the chips Act, and the overall, you know, Biden administration, industrial policy vision for bringing supply chains back to the United States and electric vehicles are going to be at the center of that, then no, we're going to either end up using nickel that comes out of the ground in Indonesia, processed by somebody, or we're not going to do the things that we say, are vitally important to do. So the real question is, I mean, let's assume we are going to go ahead and transition to electric vehicles. Well, who's going to process the nickel in Indonesia? Because to the point you made earlier, David, the Indonesian government decided in 2014. Okay, we're former colonial power, from the beginning of our engagement with the outside world, powerful people have been sailing in here from far away, and they've been taking stuff that's valuable began with the spice trade, you know, we're talking back in the in the 16th century, continues on the present day, you know, lumber, coal, people come and they buy commodities, and then they bring them somewhere else, and they process them and they get the value somewhere else. So the Indonesian government position is, hey, how about we get some of the value here for our own people. So the institute this, this ban on raw nickel, and that forces, the companies that want access to nickel to build all these smelters to process it. And that's what these Chinese companies have done, they produce a range of products, sort of intermediate products, you know, that can be used to then make stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries. And the question is, who's going to be doing that part? Now, it's Chinese companies, there is the assumption that Japanese companies will get involved. But you know, one of the things that's really ironic, to me in this conversation is somebody who spent a lot of time in China, I lived in China for six years where I, you know, you you've heard for decades, Western companies complain that their intellectual property gets ripped off in China, they don't want to invest in China, because they're forced to engage in these technology transfers. It's not just that the Chinese companies want to buy stuff from outside companies, they actually want to know how to make that stuff so they can do it themselves. Will the Indonesian say the great thing about dealing with Chinese companies is they are giving them the technology. And the Chinese companies, by the way, are ahead of all other competitors in terms of figuring out how to take what is relatively low grade nickel, something we haven't talked about the reserves in Indonesia, are something like 2% 4% nickel, where reserves in other parts of the world can be you know, 30 40% nickel, we're talking, you know, imagine like giant excavators just digging into the earth filling up dump trucks full of soil, how much of that soil is got nickel, not that much in Indonesia. So the Chinese companies are very good at figuring out how to turn it into nickel that can then be used to make other stuff. And that's something that's a real benefit to the Indonesian. So we're going to be buying the nickel from somebody who probably bought it from these Chinese companies, right? So that's what's on the menu. We either figure out how to do it ourselves, or we ultimately buy it from these Chinese companies, or we don't do it right. So those are

David Sirota 19:42
So if we if we don't do this, then we're helping China. Right. I mean, I mean, that's the part I can't I don't understand how, how we're, you know, harming China or doing what China doesn't want us to do. By being like Screw you, Indonesia, we're like not going to do business with you. Because you're already doing business with China. I feel like the Chinese government's like sweet will be like sweet. That's great, awesome. Like the United States is conceding one of the world's largest nickel reserves to us. And they're going to be when they do their Evie revolution. They're going to be buying down the supply chain from us. They'll be buying effectively, maybe through an intermediary, but they'll be buying from us. I don't really understand the other side here. Unless and this is, I guess, a good follow on question. Unless the other side is just it's still kind of a form of climate denial, like kind of a form of like, hey, we don't we don't really need to accelerate the Evie revolution at the pace that China, let's say is investing in Indonesia. And so we can we can put this off for a while and like, in other words, maybe it's it's betraying the idea that, that the urgency of the Evie transition isn't being taken as urgently as it needs to be taken. Is that Is that a fair way to look?

Peter S. Goodman 21:12
I think I think that's an interesting frame. Actually, I hadn't thought of it that way. I mean, it's not climate denial in that sense, in which we usually throw that term around, right. But it's true that like, let's say, I mean, you know, your guy famously wrote a movie that has a metaphor for climate change, right? If if, if a giant cruise ship full of hundreds of Americans was floating around somewhere in the Pacific, and in imminent danger of St. Like it's on fire, it's going down, the closest vessel near it is a Chinese fishing vessel. I don't think we'd be having this art. Oh, well, we'll be helping China to let them you know, they would be they would be out there with the lifeboats. And it would it would be there we go. So yes, it's true. We are not treating us as we are not treating this, like a climate change emergency, we're treating this like, they're a bunch of different issues. And we've got to, you know, balance them out. And, you know, let's get real this is, this is about domestic politics. This is about the optics. Because, again, this is a zero sum game, there is no planet we can go find nickel on for the moment, or some other country where, you know, this is basic geology, like we know where the nickel is, it's sitting in Indonesia, and we're either going to go get it and make use of it, or we'll develop some other technology. But that will take longer that is happening. But that will take longer, or we're not going to move fast on electric vehicles. And if we thought that this was truly a climate change emergency, and it's ironic to be discussing, the possibility isn't when you know, we've had this horrible Maui fire, I mean, where do we even begin? And with the discussion of all the obvious manifestations of climate change all around us, I mean, there's all the scientific work that now actually allows us to link directly, the stuff that's happening to climate change, tell us that, that certain events, you know, the heat waves in Europe probably couldn't be happening at all without that climate. So yes, it sure looks like an emergency. And the American policy right now is not treating access to Nicole like an emergency question.

David Sirota 23:14
I think that's, that's really the key here. Now, I also to go to the point that you made about domestic politics. I feel like part of the problem is that American domestic politics really has trouble being nuanced about anything. So I guess, in the sense when it comes to China, I think there are legitimate grievances with a policy that has offshored so much of America's manufacturing capacity to China, and that, that that is legit. But that, at the same time, there's also an argument when we're talking about something like nickel, that becoming just blanket as a one policy, no nuance, anything that may involve working with or even near, like, adjacent to China is bad. It betrays like a lack of a lack of nuance, a lack of maturity, in our in our political arguments. I don't have a problem with with politicians who say we shouldn't offshore writ large, our factory and production capacity manufacturing capacity to China, it's when that gets carried away to we can't even operate, we shouldn't even have any kind of operations in a country that isn't China, but that does business with China. So I if there's a question there, I guess it's just how much of this has to do with the fact that we can't have a nuanced conversation in this country?

Peter S. Goodman 24:42
Oh, no, I think that's right. Your your point is well taken in and I come back to this idea that you put out there that it is a kind of subtle form of climate change denial, because, you know, think back to the first wave of the COVID 19 pandemic where we we discover that 90 plus percent of our PPE, that protective gear that frontline medical workers, and eventually everybody needs to avoid passing on this deadly virus, right. And it comes from China. It's made in China. And not because China, the fake monolith that we'd like to throw around by, you know, using the word China is evil. And this is conspiratorial, I mean, because shareholder interests propelled Western companies, multinational companies, answering to shareholders in London, and New York, and other other capitals around the world Tokyo have moved their productive capacity to a place where they can exploit labor where they can pollute air and water and make stuff really cheap. And then depend upon containerships to bring it all around, that breaks down. Everybody wakes up and says, Oh, whoa, really dependent upon this, you know, faraway place where they're, they do terrible things to ethnic minorities. And you know, it's not a democracy, how the hell did this happen, right. And there's a legitimate conversation to be had about how that happened and what we ought to do about it going forward, but no rational person says, Well, I'm not buying any PPE from China, that would be rewarding China, we we in fact, run around, saying thank you to all the, you know, billionaires who have friends at Alibaba, who can, you know, suddenly get PPE and there are they're leading the news? Oh, thank goodness, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce brings, you know, 50 million pieces of PPE from China. That's not the moment for that conversation. So to your point about the climate change denial, built into this policy, and Nicole, now is not the time to be one can argue I mean, I think there's a legitimate argument to be thinking about remaking the world over the longest term in terms of corporate governance and environmental standards and workplaces. I mean, we can do some of these things at the same time. I mean, to your point, we can incentivize, okay, we want to do business with Japanese companies. Great, you know, we have a trade deal with with Japan, let's talk about the Japanese deal to get access to Indonesian nickel, if that's how we want to do it fine. But let's have a serious conversation about how we're going to get our hands on nickel for the purposes of the American electric vehicle supply chain, instead of congratulating ourselves for not rewarding the evil regime in China. While the status quo is China continues to get all the nickel and process it and make use of it faster than American companies are.

David Sirota 27:36
One last question on all of this. You've got Donald Trump this week running around saying he wants a 10% import tax on everything. By the way. Just as a side note, I think that's a political bait to try to bait the Democrats into defending NAFTA, China PNTR. I mean, he's trying to resurrect that debate, and the Democrats I think are going to, unfortunately, take that bait, which is really stupid. Everyone seems to forget that Donald Trump campaigned against the trip to the Trans Pacific Partnership, while Barack Obama was campaigning for it, and Donald Trump was elected president, if we don't engage in a strategic way where we say, Okay, we're going to try to reassure factories from China in certain ways, and we're also not going to cut off our nose to spite our face to use an old cliche by like not doing business in Indonesia. With regard to nickel, if we don't do that. What is the economic forgetting even about the climate nightmare? What's the economic nightmare? Like I can forecast the climate nightmare is we just don't have the Evie revolution that we need to have. And we make the climate crisis worse in the world. incinerates. Okay, separate from that. What about the economic and even geopolitical nightmare is like forecasted out, you know, 1015 years? Like what could happen? China? dominates EVs. They're totally integrated into this already have. Right. Okay, so, so well,

Peter S. Goodman 29:00
well, first of all, sorry to pick up your premise. I mean, I have a very difficult time separating the economic from the environmental Sure, if we're talking about climate change, I mean, if we can't mobilize, and we have so much productive capacity, right? I mean, all the whole cliche that we're living in the greatest time ever for humanity, it couldn't be truer, right? I mean, we got vaccines, we understand so much about climate change. We have all kinds of technological solutions. If we can't figure out how to make use of the incredible tools that the smartest people on Earth have cooked up to save us from this incredible crisis. Then what good is GDP total? You know, whatever economic measure you like, right? It's none of it's worth a damn thing if we if we can't deal with I mean,

David Sirota 29:46
there's a line. There's a line on our movie about that. Remember, Leonardo DiCaprio says, What good's a trillion dollars if the whole world explodes? I'm butchering the line but right you remember the line? Yeah, I agree. Yeah,

Peter S. Goodman 29:57
but that's that's absolutely right. What happens if we allow the world to divide along the new Cold War lines, what happens is the US has its sphere of influence, but it's limited in terms of its access to the best and the brightest and the consumer market. And things are more expensive and things don't happen as quickly as we'd like. And China continues to develop, and China locks up Southeast Asia and the rest of East Asia as its sphere of influence. And it seems very difficult to imagine that we're truly going to contain China's capacity to amass what what the government decides it wants. That that's not to say it to your point earlier, that we just you know, except whatever Chinese policies are, and don't have a counter strategy. I mean, one can make the argument for industrial policy, and bringing back manufacturing capacity in the US. So we're not dependent upon containerships. And whatever the Chinese Communist Party thinks is in its interest at any moment in time, that is the takeaway from the supply chain disruptions from from the pandemic. But it's very difficult to imagine how we're going to deal with a whole range of of difficult issues and climate change would be top of the list. If there's no cooperation between the world's two largest economies, we end up in a in a scarier place, have fewer possibilities, and less creativity. And that's, that's something that we ought to be resisting.

David Sirota 31:36
Yeah. And I guess one last point on this is, is, this isn't this doesn't even seem like cooperation. This seems kind of like guilt by association. Indonesia is guilty, or considered guilty and not potentially a place to do business, because they're already doing business with my so called our so called competitor, or in some would portray it as our enemy. Right? That seems like completely and totally short sighted, and terrifying. Where do you think this goes? I mean, I mean, your story outline this, but where I don't want to, I guess I'm gonna ask you to speculate a little bit. Where do you think this debate goes?

Peter S. Goodman 32:22
Alright, so in the hopeful scenario, hopeful from the standpoint of are we going to get nickel for the US electric vehicle supply chain, Japanese companies, South Korean companies will get aggressive, they'll start making large investments in the nickel patch in Indonesia. And we American multinationals will increasingly buy from them. So we'll get access to the nickel. In the less hopeful scenario, we may already be in a place where we can't catch up. I mean, Chinese companies are dominant in the electric vehicle supply chain, and they're dominant, because they've developed technologies, because they've built out economies of scale. They're making enormous quantities of electric vehicles of all sorts in China and exporting them around the world. And those vehicles are getting better and better. So we're already playing catch up. And the more that the more time goes by the more China, Chinese companies will develop new technologies, new forms of processing what's in the ground, and they'll build on on their relationships. And here's the real tragedy This to me and I say this as somebody you know, I lived in Indonesia in the early 90s, the first country I ever spent a lot of time and outside of the United States. And it was really interesting to go back to Jakarta, the capital, 30 years later. This is a country I mean, for listeners who aren't aware of this, that is full of smart, ambitious people educated at top American universities, familiar with all of our cultural references, watching all of our shows, want to you know, liking the idea that a South Korea is kind of the taste maker, there's lots of Kpop there's lots of Korean soap operas, there's lots of Korean barbecue restaurants and people love their Samsung Gear. They're very comfortable with having a relationship with China. It's it's much closer than the United States. But there is, you know, fundamentally affinity with the United States. And you know, all the things we like to tout about ourselves our openness and our ingenuity and there's a lot of very successful tech companies now in Indonesia. So we are pushing away people who are very much wanting to be in business with us and in in a cooperative, productive relationship with us by imposing this binary where you're on our side of the fence or on their side of the fence that that To me is heartbreaking

David Sirota 35:01
It is. And I'm hopeful that lots of people read your article and thought about these things we have linked to this article that Peter Goodman of The New York Times wrote about this whole issue. It is it is hugely, hugely important. If you care about climate change, which we obviously do. Peter Goodman is the global economics correspondent for The New York Times. Peter, thank you so much for taking time. Thanks so much, David. That's it for today's show. As a reminder, our paid subscribers who get lever time premium, you get to hear our interview earlier this week with economist Isabella Weber, one of the first economist to raise the alarm about profit driven inflation. So listen to lever time premium, just head over to lever news.com To become a supporting subscriber. When you do you get access to all delivers premium content, including our weekly newsletters and our live events. And that's all for just eight bucks a month, or 70 bucks for the year. One last favor. Please be sure to like subscribe and write a review for lever time on your favorite podcast app, the app you are listening to right now, take 10 seconds and give us a positive review in that app. And make sure to check out all of the incredible reporting our team has been doing over at leper news.com. Until next time, I'm David Sirota rocked the boat while evertime Podcast is a production of the lever and the lever Podcast Network. It's hosted by me David Sirota Our producer is Frank Capello with help from lever producer Jared Jacang Maher.