Inevitable: if we say we’re going to torture, then other bad guys will torture too.
But the moves toward examining past abuses are so far limited to relatively small nations or countries where the focus is on historical events rather than the current use of torture. The inquiries are also often being conducted in the face of strong resistance from top government officials, who oppose aggressive investigations even of past crimes. Those modest efforts could face sharp setbacks if Mr. Trump brings back banned practices.
“I am afraid that Trump’s government will question the basic values of the international order, and torturing people will be justified,” said Carlos Jibaja, a psychologist with CAPS, a group in Lima, Peru, that helps victims of torture.
At the same time, Mr. Trump’s advocacy of torture may encourage some major countries, like Russia and the Philippines, to be even more open and aggressive in their use of torture.
Olga Sadovskaya, the vice chairwoman of the Committee Against Torture, a human rights group in Russia, said that torture was already common in the country. She noted that Russian prison and police officials routinely used torture tactics with cruel nicknames, such as the “President Putin,” which involves attaching wires from an office telephone to a victim’s body and then running electric current through it. The police like that tactic, she said, because it does not leave marks.
The world will little note that I haven’t written much about the purported Putin-Trump love-in; I don’t want to trust unnamed intelligence services or, for that matter, James Clapper. But please note the cute name of the Russian torture tactic.