Obama trailed by questions about Trump and his policies in his final foreign trip

LIMA, Peru - With less than 60 days left in his presidency, United States’ sitting President Barack Obama concluded his final foreign trip at Lima, Peru.  Attending the ...


• Putin confirms Trump’s willingness to mend ties with Russia

• Obama addressed concerns raised by world leaders about Trump’s likely policies

• Obama to hold talks with Australia and Canada over Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

LIMA, Peru - With less than 60 days left in his presidency, United States’ sitting President Barack Obama concluded his final foreign trip at Lima, Peru. 

Attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, he asked the world to take a ‘wait and see approach’ for his successor Donald Trump.

Trump, in his pre-election speeches slammed almost all the foreign policies set and implemented by the Obama administration and had asked for a complete change in the policies to make them viable for Americans. 

His speeches had called the existing international policies into question - putting the world and its leaders on edge after his election and a week after he won, leaders are waiting to see how Trump’s presidency shapes up and the reforms in strategies that he brings about.   

Obama said he would want to give Trump a chance, but added that he wouldn’t hesitate to question him if necessary. 

Speaking at a press conference at the summit, Obama said, “I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance.”

This way, Obama has played a different role than his predecessor George Bush, who, since leaving his presidency has refrained from making any comments on Obama. 

In 2013, Bush said, “I don't think it does any good. It's a hard job. He's got plenty on his agenda. It's difficult. A former president doesn't need to make it any harder. Other presidents have taken different decisions; that's mine.”

As per tradition, former presidents never criticise the sitting presidents nor do they pass comments on the incoming ones. Obama is also expected to stick to the same. He said he wouldn’t pass any comments while at the Oval Office, but he might when he becomes a private citizen.  

He asserted, “As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it's necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I'll examine it when it comes.”

He also shared his views on Trump’s likely stance on new foreign policies but mentioned that he couldn’t guarantee that Trump wouldn’t take some of the positions he took in the campaign. However, he said U.S. as a world leader should set an example to the world.

“We're not going to be able to solve every problem but if we're not on the side of what's right, if we're not making the argument and fighting for it even if sometimes we're not able to deliver it 100 percent everywhere, then it collapses. There's nobody to fill the void. There really isn't,” he said.

Trump-Putin alliance confirmed

Obama, during his visit to APEC also confirmed that he spoke to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for four minutes over Syria and Ukraine issues. During the meeting, Putin confirmed that Trump was willing to patch up with Russia. Trump also welcomed Obama to Russia.

“The President-elect confirmed he is willing to normalise Russian-American relations. I told him the same. We did not discuss where and when we would meet. I told him that we would be happy to see Obama in Russia anytime if he wants, can and has desire,” Putin said.

Obama also urged Putin to help execute the Minsk peace agreement by working with France, Germany, Ukraine and the United States to halt the conflict in Donbass region of Ukraine. 

He also said that Putin was informed that U.S. was deeply concerned about the bombings in Syria and added that a ceasefire and political transition were needed to normalise the situation.

The future of TPP?

However, Lima might not be his last stop on foreign soil as President as Obama plans to hold talks with Australian and Canadian leaders. 

Both countries have previously helped U.S. in negotiating multinational trade deal with nine Pacific Rim countries but the deal is likely to fail as Congress is unlikely to approve the agreement. 

Trump, during his campaign had said that the deal would hurt U.S. workers and had strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Immigration

Trump has also come down hard on the immigration crisis and has proposed policies that are in stark contrast with that of America’s European allies. 

Obama believes that once Trump heads the office, he will eventually fall in line and soften his stance on the issue. 

However, Trump’s appointments in the key national security postion speaks otherwise. 

Fears amongst allies is that he is likely to continue his tough stance against immigration.

Leaders around the world have raised concerns about Trump’s ideas to deport immigrants, his opinion of NATO and other foreign alliances.

Obama, during his visit to Europe, tried to convince leaders to wait and watch how things unfold. He also met the leaders of Britain, Spain, France and Italy in order to salvage last minute coordination between the countries that he had collaborated closely with.

 

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