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.
1. I study authoritarianism—and also how it functions in places that aren’t always in headlines. What many don’t re… https://t.co/CRK3A1bRIe— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980907.0
2. Most dictators and despots are driven by a desire to retain power. What can topple them? Well, opposition leader… https://t.co/hFobqaSRnJ— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980907.0
3. In other words, the rational behavior for a dictator or despot is often to silence critics, rule by fear, and ge… https://t.co/4znGHcbvLj— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980908.0
4. When Trump acts like Putin and Kim and MBS are his best friends, it doesn’t just legitimize those regimes. It al… https://t.co/p2IzbqolfI— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980908.0
5. Yes, previous presidents have had relationships with awful regimes in the past. But they didn’t simply uncritica… https://t.co/ENZ32nush6— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980908.0
6. The Trump effect will take time. It won’t happen overnight. But Trump’s foreign policy will make the world worse… https://t.co/ZvsKBwa1TM— Brian Klaas (@Brian Klaas)1561980909.0