How the Philippines defends Duterte’s drug war

We speak with the foreign minister for a wide-ranging interview, and discuss whether President Trump is fit for office.

In this week’s UpFront, we speak with Philippine Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano, about President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, and the government’s approach to ISIL and foreign policy challenges.

In the Reality Check, we examine the real legacy of Christopher Columbus, who is still celebrated annually in October by many around the world.

And we speak with two mental health professionals about why they believe Donald Trump is a danger to the public and the international community.

Headliner – Is Duterte’s drug war undermining the rule of law?

Thousands of people have been extrajudicially killed in anti-drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took power and launched a war against drugs.

Polling shows Filipinos are largely supportive of the Duterte government’s efforts, but allied governments, the Catholic Church and local and international human rights groups have all expressed concern about the drug war’s brutality and its operation outside the law.

So, how does the Philippine government justify its drug war?

For this week’s headliner, we speak to Philippine Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano about these drug-related killings as well as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, also known as ISIS) and other foreign policy challenges confronting the Philippines.

Cayetano denied reports that killings in the country’s ongoing drug war are not being investigated, adding that every single killing is being investigated.

On the subject of North Korea, Cayetano discussed the country’s decision to cut trade relations. “I have communicated to our trade minister, so we are actually going to stop,” he said. Explaining the decision further, Cayetano said, “North Korea keeps telling us that they are our friends and they have warm relationships. But, they don’t give an opening to talk of how to stop the nuclear weapon programme there.”

Reality Check – Columbus Day: What are we celebrating?

Millions of children have been taught the legend of Christopher Columbus, the explorer who “discovered” the Americas. Many around the world celebrate him in October and nearly half of US states celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday.

In this week’s Reality Check, we discuss the dark legacy that is frequently glossed over on celebrations that bear Columbus’ name.

Assessing Trump: Is the president fit for office?

From pundits to US Senators and former officials, many have expressed concern that US President Donald Trump is mentally unfit for office. But the profession most capable of making this judgement – psychiatric and mental health experts and practitioners – have remained largely silent.

Mental health professionals usually abide by an ethical norm called the “Goldwater Rule”, which states that “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion [on a public figure] unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorisation for such a statement.”

President Trump, however, is prompting some psychiatrists to speak out, arguing that his mental unfitness for office is apparent and uniquely dangerous.

“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” is a new book that offers a collection of essays from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts, all offering a bleak assessment of the president’s mental state. But is it even possible to diagnose Trump from afar in this way?

Bandy Lee, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and the editor of this new book, and Betty Teng, a trauma therapist and one of the contributors to it, join us to discuss their views and why they believe the US president is a danger to the world.

Editor’s note: Bandy Lee’s assessments are her own views and do not represent those of Yale University. 

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