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President Trump’s Affection For Despots

With guest host Jane Clayson.

President Trump continues to praise strongmen and dictators across the globe, and his embrace of these despots sets off alarm bells at home and abroad.

President Trump calls North Korea’s Kim Jong-un a “smart cookie.” And is rolling out the White House welcome mat to the Philippines’ firebrand leader Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Trump says Vladimir Putin is a strong leader. Heaping praise on strongmen is not what we’ve come to expect to hear from the leader of the free world. But this is a different kind of president with his own way of doing business. This hour On Point, Mr. Trump and the despots.


Susan Glasser, chief international affairs columnist for POLITICO and host of the Global Politico podcast. Former editor in chief of Foreign Policy Magazine and former Moscow bureau co-chief for the Washington Post. (@sbg1)

Ilan Goldenberg, senior fellow and director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for A New America Security. Former member of the U.S. State Department’s Israeli-Palestinian negotiation team under former Secretary of State John Kerry. (@ilangoldenberg)

Amb. James Jeffrey, distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor.

One CNN Screengrab To Sum Up This Conversation

From The Reading List

POLITICO: ‘They Thought the Man Had Gone Bananas’ — “Trump is hardly the only threat Europe faces these days; from rising populism at home to Russian meddling in its politics, its bigger problems are right here at home and in case after case, Trump seems to have come out publicly on the other side from those who run the continent.”

Washington Post: The five ways President Trump has already damaged democracy at home and abroad — “Trump is not a dictator or a fascist, as some wrongly claimed. But he certainly has authoritarian tendencies and a baffling admiration for despots. He has a penchant for attacking democratic institutions and appears willing to sacrifice them in a heartbeat on the altar of his ego. And he has spouted several dangerous lies that a sizable portion of his political base unfortunately believes to be true. As a result, he has already managed to do major damage to democracy at home and abroad in five important ways.”

The Intercept: Trump’s Support and Praise of Despots is Central to the U.S. Tradition, Not a Deviation From it— “Imposing or propping up dictators subservient to the U.S. has long been, and continues to be, the preferred means for U.S. policy makers to ensure that those inconvenient popular beliefs are suppressed. None of this is remotely controversial or even debatable. U.S. support for tyrants has largely been conducted out in the open, and has been expressly defended and affirmed for decades by the most mainstream and influential U.S. policy experts and media outlets.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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