Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Now that they have one of their own in the White House


The several autocrats around the world are breathing easier knowing that no one will stop them from being assholes whenever they choose.
Kim Jong-un might seem an unlikely player in the global jockeying to get on the new American president’s good side, given the North Korean leader’s implied threats as recently as New Year’s Day to launch nuclear missiles at the United States.

But Mr. Kim apparently sees in President Trump “a good opportunity for him to open a kind of compromise with the new American administration,” North Korea’s highest-ranking defector, Thae Yong-ho, said in an interview with CNN last week.

The bromance between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mr. Trump is the most prominent example of a trend that has swept the world, instilling new hope for a strongman-friendly America in countries like the Philippines, Turkey or Egypt, and among nationalists in many other places who hope to follow in Mr. Trump’s footsteps and gain political power.

Many appear to see a Trump presidency as an opportunity to engage with a like-minded leader who has stated nationalist aims. Others may hope for respite from criticism over their human rights records or authoritarian tendencies. Some, like Mr. Kim and Mr. Putin, might see an opportunity to further their national aims in a new geopolitical order.

The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who called former President Barack Obama a “son of a whore” for the Obama administration’s criticism of an officially sanctioned assassination campaign against drug dealers in the Philippines, was quick to congratulate Mr. Trump on his election victory. The Philippine president said last week that Mr. Trump had sent him a message of support.

Mr. Duterte, who has threatened to break off relations with the United States, a longtime ally, and turn to China instead, made the announcement during an appearance at the Miss Universe pageant in Manila. (Like Mr. Trump, who owned Miss Universe until 2015, Mr. Duterte has long reveled in appearing in public with beauty queens.)

In June, after Mr. Trump said he would bar Muslims from entering the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey demanded that Mr. Trump’s name be removed from Trump Towers Istanbul. Mr. Erdogan, an Islamist, has arrested or fired 100,000 opponents and jailed 40,000 more after an unsuccessful military coup last summer.

After Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Erdogan shifted his stance. “I believe we will reach a consensus with Mr. Trump, particularly on regional issues,” Mr. Erdogan said this month during a meeting with Turkish diplomats. Some cracks appeared to show after Mr. Trump’s immigration order Friday: Mr. Erdogan called the move “frankly disturbing.” But he said he would still meet with Mr. Trump at an unspecified date and raise the issue then.

And the name of Trump Towers remains unchanged.
Putin is the one to keep an eye onas he maintains a significant ownership position in Donald Trump. Erdogan is the oddball in the bunch, not only for being a Muslim, he is actively pushing to re-establish the Caliphate in Turkey. And all can make merry now that a kindred soul is in the White House.


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