Authoritarian expert explains how Trump's embrace of dictators will make the world more dangerous
President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Vietnam. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

During President Donald Trump's visit to the G20 summit in Osaka, he doubled down on his love for hanging out with brutal authoritarian leaders, joking about election interference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, singing the praises of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and traveling to the Korean Demilitarized Zone for a photo-op with Kim Jong-un.


As political scientist Brian Klaas explained on Twitter, this sort of ingratiating chumminess with dictators is not just embarrassing for the United States — it is potentially dangerous. And that danger goes far beyond the immediate and obvious effect of boosting the clout and legitimacy of these specific autocrats.