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Trump’s double standard

Before people get carried away with admiration for Donald Trump’s blunt statement on Fidel Castro’s death, let’s review his record when it comes to other authoritarian/dictatorial foreign leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin: Watch this from last September:

Trump can’t seem to stop raving about Putin’s supposedly strong leadership– which is easy enough to exercise when you have virtual dictatorial control. I have yet to find even one unkind word from Trump about the repressive, murderous, imperialist Putin.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Trump gushed with admiration for Erdogan after the failed coup of last summer. While Erdogan had a right to act against the coup plotters, his repressive response has gone far beyond that— extending to virtually every element of the Turkish opposition, real and imagined.

When asked about the implications of [Erdogan’s] ongoing purge, [Trump] echoed the arguments of those from a very different side of the political spectrum than that of Trump’s conservative base: What right do we in the United States have to criticize the condition of human rights elsewhere? Here’s Trump:

I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.

Syrian President Bashar Assad: At least Trump went so far as to call Assad a “bad guy.” But he praised the Syrian dictator for being “much tougher and much smarter” than President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And Trump seems willing to cut Assad endless slack for “killing ISIS.”

There is much to criticize in Obama’s response to the Syrian catastrophe. And Clinton has been among the critics. But Trump appears to believe the Putin-Assad line that everyone fighting against the Syrian regime is by definition affiliated with the Islamic State.

[I]n an interview with The [Wall Street] Journal earlier this month, he indicated that he could pull back U.S. support to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime, saying “we have no idea” who the rebels really are.

Assad, for his part, said in an interview last week that he considers Trump to be “a natural ally” in the fight against terrorism.

And perhaps some of that almost makes sense until you see things like this:

Trump is no better than the one-eyed leftists who not-so-bravely denounced the repressive and murderous regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile while praising (or making endless excuses for) the repressive and murderous regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Those who pointed out their hypocrisy should hold Trump to precisely the same standard.