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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Trump's 'Weakness For Strongmen' Should Worry Us All

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

National security is the most important responsibility of the president as commander-in-chief. The president’s role is to protect the American people against external threats and to provide for the safety and security of the country. This requires attention to foreign policy and working with allies to keep dangerous foes at bay.

Sadly, President Donald Trump does not appear to see the world this way. According to the anonymous Trump administration official who authored the book A Warning, Trump seems not to see a security threat from such places as Russia or China, which is likely to be a key player in a new Cold War. Trump seems to have abandoned the century-long consensus about America’s role as a leader of the free world, and he pays little attention to advisers.

The president appears to think he can accomplish what he seeks in foreign policy by the sheer force of his personality and the establishment of personal relations with foreign leaders. One chapter in A Warning that should alarm every American is called “A Weakness for Strongmen,” a reference to Russian president Vladimir Putin, whom Trump characterized as a “great guy, terrific person,” and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, whom Trump seemed to admire for how he controlled the North Korean people. We should remember, too, that Trump celebrated Chinese president Xi Jinping’s move to install himself as president-for-life.

President Trump could benefit from a good course on international relations and foreign policy. It takes more than saluting a leader such as Kim Jong Un— which he did — and addressing leaders of countries by their first names — which he does.

One only has to recall a response to the saying, "He is a nice guy," which is: "Nice guys finish last."