Obama warns against ‘aggressive’ nationalism, leaving Paris climate agreement

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Former President Obama on Saturday issued a strong warning against the new trend toward “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and emphasized the importance of the Paris climate agreement, which the U.S. plans to break.

Obama called out at least one of his successor’s policy changes without mentioning President Trump by name.


“The world is at a crossroads,” Obama said, speaking to the Fourth Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta while on a holiday with his family. He spoke against pursuing national interests at the peril of the rest of the world.

He said not only Indonesia and the U.S. but the world needs to confront threats such as “discrimination against people based on race or ethnicity or religion.”

Otherwise, he warned, “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 went on to note “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 said. Even though Trump announced the U.S. will withdraw from the accord, Obama said the agreement “will still give our children a fighting chance.”

Speaking in a country that was once his childhood home, Obama spoke of his own family, including his stepfather who “was raised a Muslim,” when he addressed religious freedom.

“If you are strong in your own faith then you should not be worried about someone else’s faith,” Obama said, to applause. 

Obama also warned that restricting freedom of the press is a symptom of intolerance toward differences.

“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,” he continued.

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration Obama
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