Lighthizer Lights Up Senator Schatz Over China Trade War: ‘Does That Mean Democracies Always Lose’ to Dictatorships?

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The testimony of a top U.S. trade official before a Senate panel turned heated Thursday when Hawaii’s Senator Brian Schatz described the confrontation with China as “stupid.”

As U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday testified at a Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Schatz claimed that the U.S. was disadvantaged in its fight with China by the restraints of democratic government and market economy. It’s a view often heard from critics of the Trump administration that runs contrary to the historical evidence, which includes the U.S. vanquishing Nazi and Soviet dictatorships.

“I’m saying we have to take a short-term view because we are responsible to our voters periodically,” Schatz said.

“So does that mean that democracies always lose to authoritarian governments?” Lighthizer shot back.

“Sir, it just means that you do not pick stupid fights,” Senator Brian Schatz said.

“If your conclusion is that China taking over all of our technology and the future of our children is a stupid fight, then you are right. We should capitulate. My view is that’s how we got to where we are. I don’t think it’s a stupid fight,” Lighthizer responded.  “I don’t think it is a stupid fight to say China should not be able to come in an steal the future of American industry.”

You can watch video of the confrontation here.

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