Phone calls from Trump, Xi show Duterte is an appreciated leader: Abella

Since taking office almost a year ago, Duterte has overseen a campaign of extrajudicial executions of suspected drug addicts and drug dealers that has claimed more than 7,000 lives.

Duterte said on Monday that his efforts to loosen the alliance were only a response to the drug war criticism. It would be wrong to assume Trump isn't raising human rights "because we don't put out statements chastising leaders at every call", Spicer said. Duterte referred to Obama as a "son of a whore", derailing a planned meeting.

Human Rights Watch also criticized the Prayuth invitation. Instead, President Donald Trump has offered Duterte an unqualified embrace that effectively blesses his murderous campaign.

"Trump has signaled his intent to escalate the drug war at home", said Collins, "but this invitation signals his approval of the bloodiest of tactics at an worldwide level in the name of the war on drugs".

Some U.S. officials believe the White House came up with that explanation after Trump freelanced his invitation to the Philippine leader.

Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month, to congratulate him on a victory that gave the authoritarian leader increased power, and the two are scheduled to meet in person in Washington next month. The cold reality of the modern world and the demands of diplomacy can make it hard to maintain a consistent moral position.


The U.S. has been pressuring China to do more to stop Pyongyang from further missile and nuclear tests. Similar concerns affect the US relationship with Russian Federation. He has already hosted Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, and not long after speaking to Duterte he issued another red-carpet invitation to Thailand's Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led a military coup against an elected government in 2014 and has since overseen a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Isn't there a risk, given Duterte's personality, that we could jeopardize the Philippines as an ally, who are a very crucial ally to us? And we saw this a year ago when President Obama indicated he was going to raise human rights issues if he had met with Duterte, and Duterte responded with an epithet toward the president, and basically said he was going to turn to China and Russian Federation. Last December, Duterte again figured in "A Closer Look" because of Trump's admiration of the Filipino's leader in handling the country's drug war.

"Trump has signaled his intent to escalate the drug war at home", said Collins, "but this invitation signals his approval of the bloodiest of tactics at an global level in the name of the war on drugs".

Jonah Blank, Asia analyst at the Rand Corporation, noted that even some White House and State Department staff were caught off guard at news of the Duterte invitation.

In his phone conversation with Trump, Duterte said he relayed the region's alarm over the North Korean standoff. Whether that ever happened is unknown, but it certainly should have. In his call for the murder of people who use or sell drugs, he promised medals for citizens who comply, and pardons for police if they are charged with human rights violations while carrying out the executions. Granting an audience to the worst abuser of human rights, the North Korean leader, President Kim, is something I would hope we don't see any time soon. Inviting the likes of Duterte over for a schmooze does not reflect well on the White House, or the nation.

  • Gwendolyn Kim