Barack Obama has tried his best to largely steer clear of politics and adhere to the convention of giving new President’s some leeway in the early period of the administration but it appears it has now become too much for him.
The former President, who has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the White House in January, has taken a direct swipe at Donald Trump during a trip to Jakarta in Indonesia on Saturday.
Mr Obama, who spent several years in Indonesia as a child, took President Trump to task for pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and suggested America was currently devoid of leadership.
Touting one of his cornerstone achievements while in office, he said: “In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change.”
“An agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership, can still give our children a fighting chance”.
Last month, President Trump shocked the world when he announced he would be withdrawing the US from the landmark Paris climate deal. The decision was instantly condemned by world leaders, US politicians and environmental groups, who labelled it an “international disgrace”.
Mr Obama, whose administration played a key role in negotiating the deal, responded by accusing President Trump of actively rebuffing the future. At the time, he said: “This administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future”.
During his trip to the Indonesian capital Mr Obama was greeted by a crowd of thousands, including leaders, students and businesspeople as he opened the Fourth Congress of Indonesian Diaspora.
On his speech he said that there had been “enormous progress” which occurred “in part because of the stability that the United States helped support here in the Asia Pacific.”
But Obama said there are also challenges, and that globalization and technology had created problems and “shifts in the foundations of societies” and in politics both in developing and developed countries.
“The world is more prosperous than ever before, but this has also brought significant changes that are dangerous.
“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.
“We start seeing discrimination against people based on race or ethnicity or religion.” Those threats must be confronted, Obama said.
Obama, who spent four years in Indonesia as a child, met with Widodo, known as Jokowi, at Bogor on the outskirts of the capital. “I always found Jokowi to be a man of quiet but firm integrity and somebody who sincerely wants what’s right by all Indonesians,” he said.
Sources: Opposing Views