President Barack Obama gave his farewell address to the United Nations this Tuesday. Speaking to the General Assembly he touched on a range of topics, but of particular note was his comments on what can be assumed to be Trump. Although he did not mention him by name, the statements he made seemed to be aimed squarely at Trump and his politics.
Global engagement, not isolationism
His speech reinforced the need to embrace globalism, and he criticized the ideologies of populism and authoritarianism taking root. These ideas could be taken in the context of the U.S. presidential race, or even with Brexit and the E.U.
Donald Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for what he perceives as strong leadership qualities. Obama did not condone this praise for authoritarianism and power in his speech, and made the case against these attributes, instead championing democracy and openness. He spoke on the need to work together, and that the countries of the world should foster engagement between each other.
Today a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.
- Barack Obama
This statement could be taken generally, or quite literally in reference to Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border. Given the surprising rise of Donald Trump and his policies, there is cause for concern among people who believe withdrawing from co-operating with other nations will hurt America.
The President did acknowledge that there were difficulties given the changing nature of the world economy and the pressures of globalization, but he made it clear the wrong response was to revert too far the other way. Addressing this belief he said we should not be moving in the direction of an:
Aggressive nationalism. A crude populism, sometimes from the far left, but often from the far right, which seeks to restore what they believe was a better, simpler age free of outside contamination.
- Barack Obama
Obama utilizing remaining opportunities as president
It is clear that President Obama is doing what he can to discredit Trump, and give fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton the support she needs for the election. Barack Obama has been using the remaining opportunities that he has to reach out to large audiences while he is still in office.