Somehow, I missed this yesterday. Would that I had missed it forever.
Maybe you think this is really funny. But that guy Trump is chuckling and joking with, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, is not a funny guy. He has encouraged his citizens to murder the drug addicts in their communities — not just the dealers, but the addicts. In the name of law and order, Duterte has promised that vigilantes won't be prosecuted. And that's only the beginning of what he's done to erode public confidence in the Philippines, where the rule of law was already tenuous to begin with.
We tend to think of Trump as an outrageous politician who is constantly getting everyone's goat by saying crazy things. But Duterte is not really like Trump, because he takes that to another order of magnitude. Unlike Trump, he really and truly has encouraged and incited violence, not with mere "trigger words" but with literal, overt incitements for people to kill their neighbors without consequences, and orders to the police to slaughter anyone involved in the drug trade.
More than 7,000 people have been killed as a result of this policy. When called out on it (by Americans, at least), Duterte responds by dissembling and drawing a moral equivalence between what he is doing now and the U.S. takeover of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War more than a century ago.
The Philippine nation has been, and remains, our friend and ally in a region where the threats are great and the stakes are high. That means we probably have to tolerate more of Duterte than any reasonable person would like. But do we really want our president to be clowning around with this guy, acting like everything is okay? Could he at least not act like he enjoys it so much?