2019-05-09 16:06:45 UTC
"It is true that America’s current relationships with authoritarians seems like a Trump innovation, but as Kirkpatrick advocated, and Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama demonstrated, supporting and working with authoritarians is not all that unusual. Before there was Duterte, there was Ferdinand Marcos; before there was Sisi, there was Hosni Mubarak; before Mohammed bin Salman there were his uncles; and before Haftar there was Muammar al-Qaddafi. One can debate whether these relationships were worth it in terms of achieving U.S. interests, but Washington’s ties with authoritarians were and are robust. Trump’s approach to strongmen just seems particularly perverse because this is an era in which democracy is in retreat, and the president of the United States is championing those most responsible for it."