Barack Obama visited Indonesia this weekend, and in a series of appearances, attacked love of country and the policies of Donald Trump.
The Guardian reports:
The former US president said some countries had adopted “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and “increased resentment of minority groups”, in a speech in Indonesia on Saturday that could be seen as a commentary on the US as well as Indonesia.
“It’s been clear for a while that the world is at a crossroads. At an inflection point,” Obama said, telling a Jakarta crowd stories of how much the capital had improved since he lived there as a child.
But he said that increased prosperity had been accompanied by new global problems, adding that as the world confronts issues ranging from inequality to terrorism, some countries – both developed and less developed – had adopted a more aggressive and isolationist stance.
“If we don’t stand up for tolerance and moderation and respect for others, if we begin to doubt ourselves and all that we have accomplished, then much of the progress that we have made will not continue,” he said.
“What we will see is more and more people arguing against democracy, we will see more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we’ll see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence,” Obama asserted.
While former presidents rarely criticize their successors at home, Obama took the unusual step of going to a foreign country to do it.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has pointed to the importance of the Paris climate accord while criticizing Donald Trump for pulling the world’s biggest economy out of the pact.
Trump said last month he would withdraw from the pact and seek to negotiate a better deal, in a move that attracted widespread criticism from counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. The decision by Trump to walk away from the 2015 agreement was also criticized by business leaders, with some describing it as a setback for the environment.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” Obama said Saturday in a speech at the opening of the Fourth Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta. He said it was “an agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership will still give our children a fighting chance.”
“The challenges of our times, whether it’s economic inequality, changing climate, terrorism, mass migration; these are really challenges and we’re going to have to confront them together,” he said.
On the very same day and in sharp contrast, President Trump boasted about America and saluted veterans during the “Celebrate Freedom Rally” in Washington, D.C.
Fox News reports:
“America is a land rich with heroes,” said Trump at the event, which included wounded warriors who are patients at the Walter Reed Medical Center.
During his speech, the president personally saluted World War II veteran Harry Miller for his lifelong service and wounded warrior Luis Avila. Miller enlisted in the reserves at 15, even though he was not old enough to serve. He fought in Europe and in The Battle of the Bulge. Avila, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was on a fifth deployment when he was wounded, losing his leg, during an intelligence reconnaissance mission.
“We all bleed the same red blood,” said Trump, promising an adoring crowd that America would “win again.”
“Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, America always affirmed that liberty comes from our Creator. Our rights are given to us by God, and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That is why my administration is transferring power out of Washington and returning that power back where it belongs — to the people,” Trump said.
“Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American founders invoked our creator four times in the Declaration of Independence,” the president said. “Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: ‘In God We Trust.’”