On President Donald Trump’s marathon Asia trip, set to begin on Friday, he will meet with a diverse slate of leaders, many of whom are overseeing the degradation of political freedom in their countries and others massive human rights abuses. While democracy has been receding in Southeast Asia for several years, this has largely been a quiet, incremental story. However, with the alleged ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in the Philippines, this dynamic is now hitting the headlines. As Trump prepares to meet with these countries’ leaders, he should recognize that the societies these leaders represent, whose views on the United States will be important for U.S. interests over the long-term, will be watching his actions and words closely.
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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