Trump un­likely to re­buke Duterte for drug war killings

West Hawaii Today - - Nation & World -

MANILA, Philip­pines — Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has sanc­tioned a bloody drug war that fea­tures ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing. He called Barack Obama a “son of a whore.” This week, he boasted that he mur­dered a man with his own hands.

All that may well go un­men­tioned in pub­lic by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump when the lead­ers hold talks Mon­day.

Break­ing with his pres­i­den­tial pre­de­ces­sors, Trump has largely aban­doned pub­licly press­ing for­eign lead­ers on hu­man rights, in­stead show­ing a will­ing­ness to em­brace in­ter­na­tional strong­men for strate­gic gain. He has co­zied up to au­to­crats such as Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man, Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fat­tah el-Sissi and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. And ear­lier in this trip to Asia he made no men­tion of hu­man rights dur­ing mul­ti­ple ap­pear­ances in Bei­jing with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

“Trump seems very com­fort­able with strong­men. It’s not just that he won’t crit­i­cize Duterte. I wouldn’t be sur­prised if he pat­ted him on the back,” said Mike Chi­noy, se­nior fel­low at U.S.- China In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Duterte’s war on drugs has alarmed hu­man rights ad­vo­cates around the world who say it has al­lowed po­lice of­fi­cers and vig­i­lantes to ig­nore due process and to take jus­tice into their own hands. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials es­ti­mate that well over 3,000 peo­ple, mostly drug users and deal­ers, have died in the on­go­ing crack­down. Hu­man rights groups be­lieve the vic­tim to­tal is far higher, per­haps closer to 9,000.

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