â€śWeâ€™ve had a great relationship,â€ť exulted a giddy Donald Trump, following his two-day schmoozefest in Manila with the thuggish Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte, who calls himself a â€śtoughie,â€ť brags that heâ€™s personally killed many people and likes to compare himself to Hitler. Heâ€™s been on a murderous rampage since his election last year.
In the name of eliminating the drug trade, Duterte has unleashed a massive military assault across the country, not merely targeting dealers, but also anyone alleged to even use drugs. His onslaught is a human rights atrocity, with untold thousands being executed in what are antiseptically termed â€śextra judicial killingsâ€ť - that is, murders.
Yet the present president of the United States says Duterte is his new buddy. Trump stressed in their official discussions that the Philippine president can count on him and the U.S. (which includes you and me) to be a friend. And, as a friend, Trump didnâ€™t bother his authoritarian buddy with any unpleasant talk about those rampant human rights abuses.
In fact, Duterte had earlier demonstrated that love when he named Jose Antonio to be his trade representative to our country. Antonio, a Philippine real estate mogul, happens to be a partner with our president in the luxurious new Trump Tower, now under construction in Manila. Cozy, huh?
Hugging up Duterte might be good business for Trump, but itâ€™s a sorry deal for our national interest - and itâ€™s an insult to our peopleâ€™s support of human rights.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker.
Heâ€™s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by OtherWords.org.