Winning hearts and minds

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Some critics of United States global policy say that the US not only supports the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); it also created it (see, for example, www.global research.ca). Although that claim was hooted down as part of his disinformation campaign, Donald Trump said the same thing during the US presidential elections last year, when he said that ISIS is a creation of the Barack Obama administration.

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The past in the present

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IF those who fear martial law are “living in the past,” it is because much of that past, with or without martial law, is still very much in the present. Human rights defenders are still under threat, and farmer leaders, indigenous people, protesters and political activists harassed and even killed, even as a brutal “war on drugs” that presumes guilt rather than innocence continues to claim dozens of lives every week at the hands of a police force emboldened by President Rodrigo Duterte’s frequent assurances of impunity, or exemption from punishment.

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Trump’s Duterte card

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The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the United States. The invitation has provoked criticism from human rights groups, among them Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has been unrelenting in its condemnation of the toll in lives of Mr. Duterte’s “war” on drugs. It is widely presumed that Mr. Trump supports the Duterte approach, which could be the basis for a meeting of the minds of the two unconventional heads of state.

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