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The Trump-Duterte Bromance

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"There is no diplomacy like candor," the British essayist Edward Verrall Lucas once famously said.

Last weekend, US President Donald Trump came under heavy criticism, including from officials within his own administration, for extending a formal invitation to his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte.

According to the White House, the two controversial leaders had a "very friendly conversation". To the chagrin of human rights groups, the American president went so far as to praise the Duterte administration's brutal crackdown on illegal drugs as "[a] very hard [effort] to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries around the world".

In fact, during their first phone conversation in December, Duterte claimed that Trump "was quite sensitive also to our [concerns] about drugs", and "was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem".

According to the media and civil society groups, Duterte's "war on drugs" has reportedly claimed an average of a thousand lives every single month. The anti-crime campaign, however, is popular at home, where the majority of the population has expressed trust and approval for their unorthodox leader.

A human rights lawyer recently sought to initiate a formal complaint against the Filipino president at the International Criminal Court, accusing Duterte of committing crimes against humanity. Amid concerns over the human rights situation in the

© Al Jazeera