Donald Trump has a plan to solve America’s drug crisis: Kill the drug dealers.
“We have pushers and drugs dealers, they are killing hundreds and hundreds of people,” Trump said at a recent White House summit on opioid abuse. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty—the ultimate penalty—and by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”
Trump claims he got the idea for killing drug dealers from his pal, Chinese president for life, Xi Jinping. That’s a first: an American president openly borrowing a criminal-justice program from an autocrat (and a Communist one, to boot). To be fair, Trump clearly also had in mind the experience of a democratic country. In the last two years, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has encouraged a spree of extrajudicial police executions aimed at the drug trade that, according to Human Rights Watch, has left more than 12,000 Filipinos dead. Although the International Criminal Court has launched an inquiry into Duterte’s “crimes against humanity,” Trump has praised him for doing an “incredible job” with his anti-drug program.
The president’s embrace of the death penalty for drug dealers is but one example of his across-the-board scorn for human rights as he buddies up with the world’s most notorious autocrats and directs the Pentagon to ensure that ongoing human rights catastrophes around the world grow even worse. Meanwhile, he’s proposed slashing State Department programs promoting democracy and human rights, while trying to roll back movements for rights and freedoms in the United States.
Think of him as a driver who’s been licensed to operate the world’s largest vehicle despite his utter contempt for the rules of the road. Not surprisingly, the traffic forecast is bleak: With hard-liner Mike Pompeo about to take over as secretary of state, his department will prove even less of a speed bump in the president’s dangerous game of chicken with the global community.