The Trump Mysteries - Are Dictators Fantastic?

Originally published at:

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH Inspector Donald Trump investigates whether the presidents of Turkey and the Philippines are Fantastic or Bad.


I really don’t know why Trump is singled out for this since just about every US President and British Prime Minister since WW2 has snuggled up to dictators so long as they keep buying the arms and allowing the bases and, preferably, have oil. It’s just business as usual. Chile, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan for starters. Chile escaped. Argentina and Iraq forgot briefly whose side they were on. If Erdogan and Duterte make the same mistake, Trump will soon be going on about freedom, though at least he won’t pronounce it “freem”.

Edit - not Carter, of course.


This cartoon is totally unrealistic. There’s no way Trump could learn, remember, or pronounce Erdogan’s first name (or his surname, most likely).

[quote=“Enkita, post:2, topic:100331”]
I really don’t know why Trump is singled out for this
[/quote]Every other President has maintained relations with useful monsters, but most have had a sense of shame about it, or have lied to avoid having to feel shame. Trump is fairly unusual in admiring dictators, as he has done for decades, specifically because they’re monsters. And then there’s the conflicts of interest …


I mean, pretty much. There’s a lot of hyperbole in the way this has been presented by who I’ve seen presenting it, and in this post, but Trump is not much different than others in this particular issue.

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Well, what’s a little different is that previous presidents generally justified their support of dictators by claiming that the leaders were working towards a freer society but that their countries just weren’t “ready” for democracy. They didn’t revel in the brutality itself, they just didn’t do much about it so long as American business interests were respected.


Is it just me or is the drawing of Duterte more like Al Sisi of Egypt (yet another dictator)?

I think I’ll start a new religion (tax exempt natch!) based on H L Menkin’s pithy predictions

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” — H. L. Mencken


I’m so glad you made that “just about”.

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Chiropractors will be exempt, am I correct, given Mr. Mencken’s feelings towards them?

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Obama, Clinton, and the Bush’s, etc. had hotel properties whose profitability depended on a dictator’s good will?


Of course they did. And Hillary! And Chelsea!


I have just heard his quotes and thought that one exceptionally perceptive. I hit the wiki for Mr M and sounds like he had more than a few foibles (ahem). Was he pro or anti chiropractors? I thought anti, but my knowledge of HLM is cursory at best (1 minute skim of wiki article)

I myself am neutral on chiropracty, sounds like deep tissue and joint massage, so seems not actively harmful if done right? My wife went a few times and said it was helpful but not miraculous. I am much more skeptical about acupuncture.

Then again I had some really strong placebo in college and I have never been the same since.

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I’m not going to defend the US presidency since I think generally US foreign policy is horrible. I still think there is a reason to be concerned about what Trump’s love of dictators says about him.

This comic is about Erdoğan and Duterte, but I think people are more concerned about his recent praise for Kim Jong-un. And it goes back to saying Putin was a strong leader in the election as well. It’s all a backdrop for his comment that he would have accomplished more if it weren’t for the “archaic” rules of congress.

Basically, Trump thinks dictatorship is the best way to run things, and he apparently doesn’t mind us knowing this.

I’m sure there have been previous presidents who would have eager seized complete power if they thought they could get away with it (I’d best most of them). Pretending to respect the institutions of state in public is a sign that you don’t think you could get away with it.


Spoiler: He’s anti.

And yeah, he was racist. But I try very hard myself to not judge the foibles of the past by the standards of the present.

Please pardon my presumption that if you quoted him, you must’ve read him. I tend to do that, presume, I mean. I hope you enjoy the essay!


I think it has to do with calling them great leaders and expressing admiration for leaders who kill their own people. I’m not positive, but I can’t seem to remember that happening before Trump.


It’s like a documentary from the future…


Well, Carter of course wasn’t. And I take the point people are making about previous presidents feeling ashamed of what they were doing rather than seeming to rejoice in it. But what people really think has tended to be quite unknowable until recently, when social media has given them the opportunity to come out with their unguarded thoughts.

I do tend to agree with the people who think 45 is going to be a nadir to surprise people who thought that 43 was as low as you could get without hitting magma. But I think he is possible only because the bar for unacceptable dictator support has been set higher and higher since it went through a very low period in the years immediately after 1945.


I think there is a good chance that at the end of the Trump presidency people will remember it as a remarkable dark spot and the worst presidency ever despite it being not-that-bad by objective standards. Unless Trump starts a foreign war or concentration camps I don’t think he’ll have much chance of being the worst president ever. He just has a good shot at being the least “presidential” president ever.

Of course, there are a number of things that could happen that would rocket him to worst president ever.


The difference is that previous presidents at least did their snuggling up under the pretense of “good for America” (oil, arms sales, realpolitik, etc.) This delightful cartoon shows Trump doing it all for his own personal gain. How much does he have to gain really? We’ll never know, without his tax returns. That’s the point, and the joke. Ha ha. :expressionless:


Is it that past Presidents have snuggled up…really? While I am not naive, there have been Presidents who called for sanctions against other sovereign nations who’s actions are reprehensible and have condemned many a dictator. As a nation, we have allied ourselves with less than desirable world leaders, but the same can be said for our own nation…we are far from perfect and our leadership has certainly been involved with or even sanctioned questionable behavior and policies.

I agree with @jeirvine that the point here is more around 45 championing these autocrats out of his personal gain; whether that gain be economical, political, or (truth be told what I think it really is) psychological.