‘When politicians today are caught in a lie they just double down and lie some more’ – Obama


Barack Obama implicitly but repeatedly rebuked Donald Trump yesterday as he warned the “politics of fear” was threatening to destroy liberal values that underpinned the global order. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko
Barack Obama implicitly but repeatedly rebuked Donald Trump yesterday as he warned the “politics of fear” was threatening to destroy liberal values that underpinned the global order. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Barack Obama implicitly but repeatedly rebuked Donald Trump yesterday as he warned the “politics of fear” was threatening to destroy liberal values that underpinned the global order.

Making arguably his most important intervention since stepping down as US president, Mr Obama painted a bleak vision of a world turning its back on progressive tolerance to again embrace a narrative of racial nativism and protectionism.

“The politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment… is on the move,” he told 15,000 people in Johannesburg. “It’s on the move at a pace that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.”

By convention, American presidents do not comment on the policies of their successors and Mr Obama was careful not to mention Mr Trump by name. But having accepted an invitation to speak at commemorations marking the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, Mr Obama made it clear he felt duty-bound to espouse the late South African leader’s values.

One day after Mr Trump stood at Vladimir Putin’s side and suggested that previous administrations were responsible for the deterioration in US-Russian relations, Mr Obama accused Russia of retreating into authoritarianism and “meddling with its neighbours”.

He said he found it hard to believe he was having to explain why equality, freedom and human rights were more desirable than “strongman” rule. It was all a far cry, he said, from the hope and optimism that governed world policy after decolonisation and the end of the Cold War. “We now see much of the world threatening to return to an older, more brutal, more dangerous way of doing business,” he said.

“Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of basic truth,” he added. “They just make stuff up. When they’re caught in a lie, they just double down and lie some more.”

But he did move from Mr Trump to criticise Western immigration policies that failed to respect humanity and suggested there were ominous parallels with mankind’s gloomiest periods. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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