President Trump has been coming under increasing flack for his diplomatic overtures, and in addition to facing criticism for the suggestion that he’d be willing to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, he seems to be facing almost as much criticism for his willingness to meet the president of a long-standing US ally.
President Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House during a Saturday phone call, and that’s led to a flurry of condemnations, with top Democrats in Congress demanding that he immediately rescind the invitation as contrary to US interests.
Duterte has been controversial in the US, both for publicly criticizing President Obama and for his use of summary executions in the nation’s war on drugs. Critics insist that even meeting with him would be damaging to the US human rights record.
President Trump defended the invitation, saying the Philippines is very important “strategically and militarily,” and cited the Duterte’s strong approval rating in the country. The US has been interested in trying to restore the Philippines’ military dependence on them, amid Duterte’s talk of having deals with Russia and China too.
The suggestion that the president can’t even meet with the president of the Philippines is just another example of a growing anti-diplomacy bias, in which US presidents are not only not to meet with the head of enemy nations, or even rival nations, but even allied nations with which there are some existing disputes.
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