First Duterte, Now Jong Un?: Trump Continues Diplomatic Outreach to Despots

Donald Trump has been criticized for a recent announcement that he has invited Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. Duterte is known for a dismal human rights record, essentially legalizing the murder of suspected drug dealers. Trump is apparently not content to stop there, and is even extending an olive branch to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said to Bloomberg News on Monday. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered additional praise for Jong Un, calling him a “smart cookie.” This is a stark departure from the Trump administration’s recent tough talk on North Korea. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has even hinted that war with North Korea may be imminent, but Trump is leaving the door open for diplomatic negotiations. This has left the interventionists, such as Sen. John McCain, very unhappy.

“I don’t understand it, and I don’t think that the president appreciates the fact that when he says things like that, it helps the credibility and prestige of this really outrageous strongman,” Sen. John McCain said about Kim Jong Un. “I wish the president would consider much more carefully his comments.”

McCain has no room to talk after his embarrassing photo-op with radical Islamic terrorists surfaced in 2013. In fact, McCain’s foreign policy recommendations have arguably harmed more people throughout the world than Jong Un, who generally keeps his tyranny confined to his fiefdom. Additionally, Trump is not behaving in an unprecedented manner as President by reaching out to “bad hombres” across the world.

President Richard Nixon hatched an alliance with history’s greatest mass murder, Mao Zedong. President Ronald Reagan met with the Mujahideen of Afghanistan, a group that would later evolve into Al Queda. President Bill Clinton allied with the Kosovo Liberation Army, a terrorist group responsible for the brutal murder of ethnic Serbians. President Barack Obama openly aligned with Al Queda in Syria, calling them “moderate rebels.”

Trump’s outreach to authoritarian rulers such as Duterte and Jong Un are apart of a long-standing American tradition of locking arms with the worst the world has to offer. How history will ultimately judge Trump’s diplomatic efforts depends entirely upon the deals that he can make from associating with these reprehensible interests.

1 Comment

  1. An interesting take. I was expecting to be able to add a “I disagree with X.” at least once but I can’t find an instance I can disagree with. I will agree with the conclusion that much rests on whether Donald Trump can make a good deal. It will be quite interesting to check back in two months and see what you write about what has happened, what Scott Adams writes about what has happened and what Donald Trump has done.

    For me the last six months has been a continuous blur of “I can’t really tell where Trump is going. I’ll check back later.” mixed with equal portions of “This can’t be good.” and “That sounds pretty good.”. Scott Adams writes that Donald Trump is a con man, but perhaps a good con man.

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