Obama Warns That Isolationism Will Only Make The World ‘Meaner’

AP

President Barack Obama seemed to caution Donald Trump against disengaging from the world at a press conference Wednesday in an implied rebuke of the President-elect’s “America First” foreign policy.

America, Obama asserted, was “the voice that speaks out on behalf of some dissident who is jailed halfway around the world, the voice who is expressing concern about some child in an African village who doesn’t have clean drinking water or is subject to some terrible disease, the voice that insist on rules and norms governing international affairs, the voice that helps to steer the world away from war.”

“If that voice is absent or if that voice is divided, we will be living in a meaner, harsher, more troubled world,” he warned.

Obama was responding to a member of the German press who asked if, in light of Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon to the West Wing and his frequent meetings with Nigel Farage, a British nationalist who championed the “Brexit” campaign, America could still be a partner to Germany and Europe.

The President seemed to avoid answering the question directly, saying that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would face “extraordinary burdens” if she chose to run for re-election to her current office in 2017. He then warned that forces of “cynicism” would harm the world.

“There are going to be forces that argue for cynicism, for looking the other way with somebody else’s problems, that are not going to champion people who are vulnerable because sometimes that’s politically convenient,” Obama said. “And if we don’t have a strong trans-Atlantic alliance that’s standing up for those things, we will be giving to our children a worse world. We will go backwards instead of forwards. So, whoever the U.S. president is, whoever the chancellor of Germany is, we need to remember that.”

“And our citizenry need to remember that,” he added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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