The simple and disturbing reason Trump befriends authoritarians: op-ed
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Korean Central News Agency

Writing in The Atlantic this Monday, Yasmeen Serhan says that President Trump's penchant for personality politics has caused him to find common cause with leaders in whom he shares similarities: "populists and nationalists who share a disregard for norms, a disdain for dissent, and a dedication to strengthening their own power."


While some leaders Trump has cozied up to don't have an extreme history of being adversarial to the U.S., others have. Nevertheless, all have benefited from the friendliness of Trump -- someone who has proved willing to not only turn a blind eye to their abuses but to even applaud them.

Serhan rattles off a list of world leaders with less-than-favorable records that Trump has befriended, one of them being Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. "Like Trump, he has made crude statements about women and minorities, lashed out against experts and 'fake news,' and peddled conspiracy theories," Serhan writes. "He welcomed his association with the American president as the 'Trump of the Tropics' and even adopted his own version of Trump’s 'America First' slogan: 'Brazil above all.'"

Among the most disturbing of Trump's friendships is Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who enabled thousands of extrajudicial killings as part of his own 'war' on drugs. “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte in a 2017 phone call, according to a transcript. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Read the full article over at The Atlantic.