Former President Barack Obama took to the stage at the Fourth Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta on Saturday to warn the world about President Trump’s “aggressive kind of nationalism” and share his feelings about the importance of the Paris climate agreement.
He may not have mentioned the President by name, but as he stated, “The world is at a crossroads,” and urged everyone in the world to confront threats which entail “discrimination against people based on race or ethnicity or religion,” it was clear that he was talking about his successor’s policies, of which he obviously disapproves.
Unlike his previous “apology tours,” Obama had changed his deprecating tone to reflect his fears and issued warnings instead of apologies. “We start seeing a rise in sectarian politics, we start seeing a rise in an aggressive kind of nationalism, we start seeing both in developed and developing countries an increased resentment about minority groups and the bad treatment of people who don’t look like us or practice the same faith as us,” he lamented before launching into “the temporary absence of American leadership” on fighting climate change.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” Obama recalled, adding that Trump’s withdrawal from the accord won’t stop it from giving “our children a fighting chance.”
Jakarta is Obama’s childhood home, so he naturally spoke of his own family and recalled that his stepfather “was raised a Muslim.”
The former president issued a strong warning about freedom of the press, saying, “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 added, “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.”
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