President Donald Trump’s invitation for President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to visit the United States further reveals the tendency of the US president to embrace authoritarian strongmen abroad. The main question, though, is not whether Duterte should be invited (he should not). Rather, the real question is how should the United States under President Trump—who himself holds traits of the strongman—deal with an allied country that has democratically elected an autocrat like Duterte?
Since taking office, Duterte has embarked on a widespread anti-drug campaign in the Philippines that has resulted in the killing of thousands of Filipinos, often carried out by the police or groups affiliated with the authorities. Human Rights Watch claims that at least 7,000 people have died as a result. A lawyer in the Philippines has accused Duterte of crimes against humanity. Duterte has bragged about personally gunning down people when he was a mayor.This article was originally published in The Guardian.