President Donald Trump congratulated Turkey's president for sweeping up more power. He hailed Egypt's strongman leader as a "fantastic guy." When China's president visited, Trump touted a burgeoning friendship and made no public mention of Beijing's dismal human rights record.
Since taking office, Trump has displayed a striking willingness to embrace autocrats as potential partners in his "America First" agenda, even if it means ignoring their heavy-handed tactics and repression at home. It's a posture he also took toward Russian President Vladimir Putin until a dispute over Syria led him last week to declare U.S.-Russian ties at an "all-time low."
Trump is hardly the first U.S. president willing to look the other way in dealings with governments that flout democratic values. For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have cooperated closely with Saudi Arabia and China. President Barack Obama opened new diplomatic channels with Iran and Cuba, despite concerns about their repressive rulers.
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