Opinion: Is it good strategy for Trump to meet with amoral dictators?

President Trump meets with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt at the White House on April 3.
(Olivier Douliery / TNS)

To the editor: President Trump himself and his forays into “deal making” with vicious, autocratic country leaders are somehow absurdly reminiscent of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem: (“Why Trump is reaching out and even praising dictators: It’s strategy,” May 2)

“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends — It gives a lovely light!”

We have to be concerned that Trump’s wild, changing, wide-open public talk and foreign leaders’ possible responses could backfire or, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even blow up. These despots give every indication of being intrinsically amoral, not valuing human life and accepting whole-country sacrifice in favor of their own power.

Is abandoning careful, measured, timely negotiation with foreign countries in favor of free-for-all deal-making an acceptable, realistic U.S. policy?


Jim Gould, Burbank


To the editor: Every day Trump does something that makes me question his fitness for office. Trump’s congratulatory call to Turkey’s strongman after a national referendum there greatly increased his power is now topped by the president’s invitation of the homicidal Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House.

Our foreign policy is in complete disarray. I have no problem with keeping people guessing, but only if there is reason to believe that our leaders in Washington are making their decisions based on solid facts and sound strategy.

In our current situation, not only is there no strategy, but the president has demonstrated his utter disregard for facts. This has to stop.

Douglas Levy, Corte Madera, Calif.


To the editor: You lump in Duterte with other “dictators” and “despots.” This is unfair.


Currently he is doing his best to protect his citizens from drug violence. Earlier, as mayor of Davao City, he kept the cost of food very low so his residents had enough to eat. As the elected president, his performance has the Philippine people both at home and abroad very pleased.

Gene Kinaman, Palos Verdes Estates

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