Admires Donald Trump dictators

Trump and the Dictators: Lots of great guys

Since the appearance of Bob Woodwards Rageis more or less official, which every kitchen psychologist who observed Donald Trump in his first term of office had to come to terms with: The president of the country, which sees itself - and historically rightly - as a beacon of freedom, does better with dictators than with democratic ones Politicians.

The "meaner and tougher" they are, the better he gets along with them, he confided in Woodward after saying at an election rally that dictators are "smarter" than his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

In his accounting book The Room Where it Happened Trump's former security advisor, John Bolton, said that before three scheduled meetings - one at NATO in Brussels, one with then British Prime Minister Theresa May and one with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a G20 meeting - Trump said: "Frankly, Putin is probably the easiest of them all! "

"I think I like him a lot"

There are whole collections of jubilant quotes from Trump about those politicians who usually send shivers down the spine of every Democrat - not in the US party-political sense. The president's praise boomed for her, especially in the first few years of his term in office.

Some of them are almost absent today, with others or "their" countries the tide has clearly turned. One such case would be Chinese President Xi Jinping, of whom Trump said in 2017, according to Bolton: "He's a great guy" or "I think I like him a lot. I think he likes me a lot".

The latter seems to be typical, because Trump is not only ready to show admiration and affection for the most problematic figures - he also wants them back. The relationship with the North Korean dictator Kim jong-un is exemplary.

Even from the detachment of a non-American perspective, one falls into a mode of alien embarrassment when reading Bolton (who is certainly no longer a Trump friend, but whose exact protocols seem trustworthy). Bolton speaks of a "bromance" between the two leaders. Trump liked to show Kim's "oily" letters around, he was proud of what every US president should be embarrassing, namely that the North Korean praised him.

Childlike trust

The "cunning" of dictators expressed itself in the case of Kim jong-un, for example, when he asked Trump at their first meeting (one of three) in Singapore in June 2018 what he, Trump, thought of him. Trump "loved" this question and started: Kim was "really smart, quite closed, a very good person, completely honest, a great personality".

When asked, Kim had given Trump what he was longing for: attention to what he says and thinks. Bolton says that during the Trump-Kim conversation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also present, handed him a piece of paper that read: "He is so full of shit." He didn't mean his boss, but ...

Trump returned Kim's supposed affection with almost childlike confidence that Kim would actually give up his nuclear weapons program. Holding Trump back, saving him from embarrassment, preventing him from saying something politically impossible was (and arguably is) the main task of his foreign policy advisors.

Easy loot

The fact that Trump finds "Leader to Leader" communication easier is due, on the one hand, to the fact that he does not want to deal with complex political backgrounds; on the other hand, he firmly believes that solutions are not negotiated multilaterally, but are dealt with by leaders.

And those who do not have to deal with annoying opposition and a critical civil society are really strong. About Xi Jinping, for example, Trump impressed when relations were still friendly, especially that he was now "president for life". "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great," he said at a fundraising dinner in Mar-a-Lago - by the way, a property that aesthetically suits his political preferences perfectly.

However, his narcissism makes the US president easy prey for really strong personalities. Putin drove, there is no other way to describe it, at the meeting in Helsinki in July 2018 with Trump Schlitten: A US president then appeared in front of the press who stabbed his secret services full in the back, which their assessment of the Russian attempted meddling with the 2016 elections concerned. He sees no reason that Russia should have been involved when Putin had denied it "extremely strong and powerful".

Camaraderie quickly turns into complicity. No matter how much a US president hates journalists when he is sitting with a politician who is suspected of killing critical journalists, he should not join in his journalist mockery.

Did not apply to Trump, who shared such a cheerful moment with Putin, but also with the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. He congratulated the latter in April 2017 "for his incredible job with the drug problem". "The job" consists of extrajudicial killings.

The "Favorite Dictator"

Trump also gave Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan "very high marks": "I'm a big fan of the president." One of Erdoğan's fiercest opponents in the Middle East, the Egyptian President, who ruled with at least as hard a hand, was once treated with a shout-out that froze those present: "Where is my favorite dictator?" Trump shouted happily across the room when he was waiting for Abdelfattah al-Sisi in Biarritz in September 2019. He also does a "fantastic job".

Of course, this also applies to the Saudi leadership, to whom Trump drew on his first trip abroad as President in 2017: In the Middle East, he gets exactly the pomp that he is denied in the West.

He knows how to reciprocate: Before Woodward, Trump praised himself for "rescuing" Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA blames for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, from the consequences of the US Congress. A small favor from leader to leader. (Gudrun Harrer, October 31, 2020)