Editorial, Featured

Trump Seems to Love Dictators, Tyrants, and Autocrats

June 14, 2018

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

The United States has now abandoned its place as the world leader advocating for democracy, economic freedom, and human rights.

In just 18 months in office, President Donald Trump has flipped the script, and has insulted, dismissed, and antagonized our traditionally close allies like Germany, France, and Canada, while at the same time has praised and coddled old adversaries like Russia, China, and now North Korea.

At a recent meeting of the G7, made up of the leading economic powers of the world, including England, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy, and the US, Trump spurned the leaders by unilaterally deciding not to sign on to the summit’s final declaration, the group’s statement of agreements reached during their annual gathering.

Instead, Trump suggested at the G7 meeting that Russia should be included in the summits, after having been kicked out of the group in 2014 for invading Crimea in defiance of UN resolutions.

It didn’t go over well.

The current G7 states are also all members of NATO, the alliance set up after World War II for the specific goal of protecting themselves from who? Russia.

Before last week’s summit, Trump clashed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when Trump announced trade tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, citing national security. Trudeau said Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs and objected to Trump’s claim that Canadian imports pose a threat to the US, but Trump responded by calling Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest”, and one of Trump’s economic advisers, San Diego’s own Peter Navarro, said “there’s a special place in Hell” for Trudeau for opposing Trump.

Trump’s past comments about Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, as well as England’s Prime Minister Theresa May, always carry a negative slant and aggressive tone, probably because they’re both powerful women that tell Trump what they really think, something he doesn’t seem to like.

And these are our friends.

But, Trump always seems to strike a more favorable tone when dealing with international leaders that have a less friendly past with the US, with some having been out-right enemies not too long ago.

Last year, Trump said that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was doing a great job fighting drugs in his country, when Duterte has been accused of ruthlessly killing more than 7,000 drug users through non-judicial actions. When Trump finally met with Duterte at an Asian summit in Manila, Trump bragged about his great relationship with Duterte and barely even raised the issue of human rights in their face-to-face meeting.

Since Trump’s election, he has also gone out of his way to praise and promote Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the US’s most staunch rivals.

Trump has argued publicly against our intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia meddled in our presidential elections. Trump refuses to acknowledge that our adversary worked to skew the election because he believes it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of his own victory, but his denial may allow Russia or other foreign actors to disrupt our elections again in the future.

Putin is known to be a professional spy, a former KGB officer, and a fierce opponent of the US’ standing as the world super power. For years, Putin has worked to gain political and military strength around the world to counter our influence, and Trump seems eager to help him, even if its inadvertent.

And this week, Trump finally committed what may be his biggest diplomatic fail.

After months of alternating between flirting and threats, Trump finally pulled off his much-hyped summit with North Korea’s dangerous and unpredictable leader, Kim Jong-un.

Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, has ruled the secretive Asian country with an iron fist, killing many that posed a real or perceived threat to his rule.

He had his uncle eaten by dogs. He had foes blasted to pieces by anti-aircraft cannons. He is accused of having his half-brother killed with poison VX gas in a Malaysian airport.

Even worse, Kim has been pursuing a nuclear weapons program for years in order to forcibly join the exclusive club of the world’s seven counties with the power to incinerate millions of people with the push of a button.

In recent years, Kim has tested nuclear bombs and intercontinental missiles that could deliver those warheads to neighboring countries, US allies, Hawaii, and even the US mainland.

Earlier this year, Kim was threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against the US and our allies in the region, triggering a bombastic back and forth with Trump about whose nuclear button was bigger like teenaged bullies on the playground.

This week’s summit was the culmination of recent overtures by Kim to seemingly normalize relations with South Korea and the US, after first having visited China.

Kim and his family have long sought to be taken seriously on the world stage. They have carried out a military-first agenda that diverted money to their military at the cost of feeding his citizens and growing their economy.

What for years seemed like a failed plan has now been rewarded by Trump. No US President had met with the Kims before because none of the North Korean leaders were willing to agree, as a pre-condition to the meeting, to end their development of weapons of mass destruction that have been pursued against UN resolutions and international non-proliferation agreements.

This week, Trump granted Kim the legitimacy he’s always wanted without any guarantees the young ruler will give up anything for it. Kim got a photo opportunity with the most powerful man in the world, a peek into the presidential limo, and even an invitation to the White House.

The Philadelphia Eagles football team was disinvited over the national anthem, but Kim was invited even though he’s killed people and threatened to bomb us.

Kim did agreed to repatriate the remains of soldiers from the 1950s Korean conflict and to destroy a missile engine testing site that already accomplished its goal of delivering functional ballistic missiles. No skin
off his nose.

At the end of the summit, both Trump and Kim signed a toothless statement to continue talking about denuclearization, but with no guarantees such a long-sought goal to make the world a safer place will happen, and with no concrete next steps.

Kim’s pledge to talk about denuclearization is similar to other promises made for decades by his family, but not once have they lived up to the deals. The nukes are the only protection Kim has to stay in power.

Kim Jong-un was treated like royalty at the summit, with Trump saying he was “honored” to meet the maniacal thug that has threatened, killed, and abused his own population.

Trump said Kim is loved by his own people, a statement that sounded more like it came from North Korea’s state-run media than from the leader of the free world, and ignored the starvation, rapes, murders, and imprisonment that Kim sanctions.

This week, the world was witness to nothing more than another episode of a reality show where strangely opposite characters are thrown together in front of live cameras to see what kind of mischief will come of it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

There’s a reason Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama didn’t grant a meeting with any of the North Korean leaders, and it wasn’t because they weren’t smart enough to negotiate or committed enough to peace.

US leverage over North Korea was squandered because diplomacy lost out to publicity. It will be a lot more difficult, if not impossible, to find a real solution to the nukes hidden somewhere in the hills of North Korea now that Kim is viewed as a legitimate leader on par with the President of the United States, and he didn’t have to give anything up to get it.

Now, that makes two Kims that got what they wanted from Trump in just one week; Jong-un and Kardashian.

What a world we live in.

PUBLISHED JUNE 14 AT 8:15 P.M.

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