I realize it’s important to fill up your dance card, but this is looking rather grim. Only yesterday Allahpundit was left scratching his head over the fact that President Trump had extended an invitation to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to come visit the White House. Given that the guy has openly admitted to committing murder and is looking forward to more of the same, it’s cast a bit of a pall over things. But for the record, Duterte hasn’t actually accepted the invite yet, saying he might be busy on those dates with some other international travel.
Perhaps as a distraction from that social interaction, a few outlets this morning are confirming a story which was first floating around a week ago which indicated that Trump would also be hosting the tyrant of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a couple of weeks.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, at the White House in an upcoming visit in mid-May, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday.
The invitation came from Trump, Kalin said, adding the two would discuss Syria, Iraq and the potential extradition of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a failed coup last year.
To call this a questionable gambit is a stretch. Sure, you might think of Duterte as the worse authoritarian of the two, what with all of the Murdery McMurderface activity, but Erdogan’s recent track record is worse in some ways. Keep in mind that it was only a few days ago when he locked up thousands more police officers on top of the tens of thousands of law enforcement officials, journalists and doctors he had already tossed in the dungeons. If you want a long list of our stories about the destruction of democracy in Turkey just browse through the list.
I get the fact that you can’t completely ignore other world leaders, even when their behavior crosses well over the line of being “questionable” in some cases. We have a long relationship with the Philippines and until not all that long ago they were home to one of our biggest naval bases in that part of the world. We still have a significant presence in the region, though the relationship has been evolving for a while now. But there’s a difference between maintaining something which at least resembles stable relations and having their leader over for high tea in the Rose Garden.
Same thing goes for Erdogan. He’s been holding an American pastor captive there for going on half a year and one of his most recent air strikes threatened to take out some American advisors in the area who were working with the Kurds. Add to that the rest of the tyranny activity and it makes for a particularly unsavory visit. I certainly hope that the President knows what he’s doing here. If he’s got some plan to bring Turkey back in line with democratic values and tone down the violence in the Philippines and thinks these meetings are part of that process then I will prepare to be pleasantly surprised. But does anyone else really see that as a likely scenario? I certainly don’t.
Now I’m just waiting to see if the President of Venezuela gets a free night in the Lincoln bedroom. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but some of these meetings just seem over the line.