Now THAT’S foreign policy!
Pete Hoekstra sat down for a radio interview and call-in show with Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta today and one of the things they discussed was government investments in clean energy. Hoekstra made an astonishing statement about the major world powers whose governments are making investments in moving toward more clean energy, calling them “stupid”. You can listen to the whole interview HERE. The relevant bit starts at 6:55:
PLUTA: But when we talk about trade policy and economic policy, one of the complaints is that we have foreign competitors that do subsidize their industries, that government intervenes and lowers their costs. And that’s the argument, that, if we don’t match them, then we’re going to lose to them.
HOEKSTRA: Then what we do is we hold them accountable for trade agreements, for government involvement, government subsidation [sic] through the World Trade Organization. We file the complaints against these companies… excuse me, against these countries for give unfair trade advantages. We then put in the tariffs that recognize these unfair government advantages.
Just because other countries are stupid and think that they can drive the market, we shouldn’t embrace those kinds of policies. That’s not who America is.
Not only does he think these countries are “stupid”, he thinks they should be sued in international court for investing in moving their countries to clean energy and away from health and environmentally harmful fossil fuel sources.
The countries he’s calling “stupid”, by the way, are most of Europe, including Germany and Spain, along with China and Japan. This insult to the major world powers including some of our closest allies reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld calling countries in Europe that didn’t agree to fight his war in Iraq “old Europe”, sparking outrage.
There’s deep irony (and, of course, hypocrisy) in Hoekstra’s comments which had the obligatory mention of Solyndra. When he was in office, then-Congressman Hoekstra joined with the rest of the Michigan delegation in requesting Stimulus funds for A123 and LG Chem-Compact Power, signing a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking for the funding. In fact, between July 2009 and October 2010, Pete Hoekstra signed SIX letters to Secretary Chu requesting stimulus-funded grants or contracts from the Energy Department. A123 and LG are companies where the investment did not pay off and are now being used by Republicans as examples of failed Obama administration policies with regards to renewable energy investments.
This is the sort of flip-floppery we’ve come to expect from Mitt Romney. The fish, as they say, rots from the head down. I’ll leave to the reader to determine what part of the rotting fish Pete Hoeksta is.