What do all of the men in the above picture have in common? They are or were brutal dictators that would do anything to stay in power. Why should anyone reading this really care about this fact? Well the terrifying answer to that question is because our current President has a tendency to admire such men!
Throughout his campaign Donald Trump has carried out a love fest with Vladimir Putin, the brutal authoritarian leader of Russia, who thinks nothing of murdering his political opponents or anyone who disagrees with him. Trump has continued to lavish praise on Putin while attacking our democratically elected allies and members of our own government. The Obama administration insisted that the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, must go if there is to be any peace agreement in the years old Syrian civil war. Assad routinely kills his own people in order to remain in power. Only a couple of months in power, Trump has changed all of that and is willing to accept Assad’s brutal regime.
Trump has also said that China showed “strength” in putting down the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests where approximately 300 people, mainly students, were killed by the Chinese government. He even admired Saddam Hussein, for killing terrorists, without having to deal with the justice system. He also admired the way former Libyan dictator, Qaddafi, used his strength do eliminate his opposition and terrorist elements in his country. Just recently Trump welcomed the leader of Egypt, el Sisi, who took power in a coup and has established himself as an authoritarian leader obliterating any opposition. While Trump may call these dictators “bad guys” or “evil” he obviously admires their mechanisms of holding on to power, while denigrating the democratic processes of our own country.
In the very short period of time since Trump has been in office he has attacked the press as “the enemy”, a common practice of all dictators. Throughout his campaign he brutally attacked anyone and everyone who opposed him or said anything negative about him. Since being President he has attempted to control the news cycles to his advantage, while condemning all factual news as “fake news”. He has put members of his family into staff positions in his administration so as to have more control over his agenda. Meeting with foreign heads of state and setting foreign policy, traditionally the responsibility of the Secretary of State, are now allocated to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has absolutely no foreign policy experience! The Secretary of State is now just a figurehead, who doesn’t event talk with those in his department! Trump trusts no one, unless that person is a member of his own family, another trait of authoritarian leadership.
In the first few weeks of Trump’s administration he signed a flurry of executive orders, mistakenly thinking that if he said they were law, they were law. His attempt at governing by decree! He is now in the process of destroying everything that Obama had done during his eight years in office, obviously in retaliation for Obama making fun of him during a 2012 White House correspondents dinner. The direction that the Trump administration is taking, to me, is quite obvious. He is leading this country in the direction of establishing a strict authoritarian regime, with Trump, his family and a few rich oligarchs at the helm. He is out to destroy our democratic way of life and he could succeed, especially with the help of the spineless Republicans in Congress.
What is the next step? I’m afraid to think! Could it be a war started by Trump to solidify his power and wiping out all opposition to his authority? Could he stage a fake terrorist attack to give a reason to stifle opposition? We really should be afraid!