Democratic institutions in the United States and throughout the world have become “creaky,” former President Barack Obama said in an exclusive CNN interview Thursday, and it is on to American leaders to find methods to preserve them in the future.
Furthermore, he stated that the Western commitment to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty is critical to the long-term safeguarding of democracy.
However, Obama stated that there are still indicators that democratic standards are being undermined. And he cautioned that economic and social inequalities will only make it more difficult to preserve strong democracies in the future.
“I do believe that democracy will win if we fight for it,” Obama said to Amanpour in Athens, where he is debating democratic challenges. “Our existing democratic institutions are creaky, and we’re going to have to reform them.”
In it, the former president discussed a wide range of global democratic and political concerns, including Trump’s indictment earlier this month, which he said sends a mixed message to the rest of the globe.
“It’s a little less than ideal,” he said. “However, the fact that a former president is facing charges brought by prosecutors reinforces the fundamental notion that no one is above the law, and the allegations will now be resolved through a court process.”
More troubling than Trump’s actions, he claims, is a larger campaign to “silence critics through changes in the legislative process” or “intimidate the press.” Those attempts, he says, are “right now most prominent in the Republican Party, but I don’t think it’s something that is unique to one party.”
“Having been president of the United States, you need a president who takes the oath of office seriously,” he explained. “You need a president who believes not just in the letter of the law, but also in the spirit of democracy.”
Obama’s visit to Greece this week represented a return to the location of one of his final international trips as president. Obama praised the lasting vitality of American democracy from the system’s historic roots in 2016, just after Trump was elected his successor.
Back then, while his domestic supporters and international counterparts equally fretted about Trump’s prospects, Obama declared that American democracy was “bigger than any one person.”
He hiked the Acropolis in downtown Athens and toured the Parthenon, a 2,500-year-old temple dedicated to the goddess Athena erected by ancient Greeks. He also visited the nearby museum, which displays relics from the time period.
Concerns about American and global democracy have only grown since then. Trump’s bogus promises about the 2020 election and the subsequent insurgency attempt at the US Capitol demonstrated how vulnerable the American system remains. And autocrats all around the world have solidified control.
Meeting with tyrants or other anti-democratic leaders is only one of the complexities of the American president, according to Obama, who recalls dealing with numerous personalities with whom he disagreed during his presidency.
“Look, it’s complicated,” Obama pointed out. “The president of the United States owns a large number of stocks.” And while I was president, I dealt with persons who were friends, who, if you pressed me privately, do they run their governments and political parties in ways that I would describe as ideally democratic? I’d have to decline.”
“Look, it’s complicated,” Obama replied. “The president of the United States has a lot of equities.” And while I was president, I dealt with persons who were friends, who, if you pressed me in private, do they run their governments and political parties in ways that I would describe as ideally democratic? I’d have to answer no.”
Obama referenced his cooperation on climate change with Chinese President Xi Jinping as an example of finding shared interests with governments that have bad human rights records. In remarks to California fundraisers last week, Biden likened Xi to a tyrant.
“You had to do business with them because they are vital to national security.” “There are a variety of economic interests,” Obama explained.
“I believe it is appropriate for the president of the United States to uphold those principles and to challenge troubling trends, whether behind closed doors or in public.” “As a result, I’m less concerned with labels and more concerned with specific practices,” he continued.
Modi, who will be feted by Biden on Thursday, has shown a tendency toward authoritarianism that has alarmed the West. He has suppressed opposition, attacked journalists, and implemented regulations that human rights organisations claim discriminate against Muslims.
Obama said that he collaborated with Modi on climate warming and other issues. However, he stated that addressing concerns about Indian democracy must be included in diplomatic discussions.
“Part of my argument is that if ethnic minorities’ rights are not protected in India, there is a strong possibility that India will eventually fall apart.” And we’ve seen what happens when those types of major internal tensions emerge,” he continued.
While in Greece, Obama met with participants in the Obama Foundation Leaders program. Leaders from Africa, Asia, and Europe met with the former president in small groups and presented their efforts to advance democracy and find answers to social problems.
In the interview, Obama stated that no democracy can endure with significant levels of social or economic inequality. He offered the example of an overloaded migrant boat that drowned in the Mediterranean last month, killing hundreds, and attracted as little attention as the Titanic’s lost submarine.
“In some ways, it’s indicative of the degree to which people’s life chances have grown so disparate,” he says.