When it comes to diplomacy, the Trump administration has a far more cordial relationship with some of the world's most notorious autocrats than it does with traditional American allies in Western democracies. That's a surreal state of affairs befitting of the surreal times in which we live.
The President's almost childlike affinity for strongmen is disconcerting for all manner of reasons, not to least of which is that implicitly slapping the White House stamp of approval on autocratic regimes undermines democracy as a political ideology on a global scale.
The problem for Trump, though, is that people like Xi Jinping see the U.S. President for what he is: an empty suit and a hapless demagogue masquerading as an authoritarian. "His remarks remind me [he's] a political layman", Kim Jong-Un said last September, adding that Trump "is unfit to command a country, and he is surely a rogue, rather than a politician." Obviously, that's the pot calling the kettle black, but it speaks to the fact that the authoritarians of the world only take Donald Trump seriously to the extent they believe he might accidentally stumble the U.S. into a war. The presence of John Bolton in the President's in
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