Over the weekend, former President Obama took a break from sampling Indonesian cuisine on his luxury vacation to throw thinly veiled pot-shots at President Trump and his supporters, apologizing for America’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords.
Ostensibly, Obama was to give a speech in Jakarta about religious tolerance and international cooperation, calling on Indonesia and the rest of the world to confront “discrimination against people based on race or ethnicity or religion.”
“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,” Obama 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.”
That’s all very well in good, but Obama was not content to extol the virtues of religious tolerance and liberty without apologizing for America.
“The world is at a crossroads,” Obama said. According to the Hill, the former president spoke against pursuing national interests to the detriment of the international community. The implication that President Trump was doing exactly such a thing was made explicit when Obama criticized “the temporary absence of American leadership” on climate change while riffing on nationalism.
“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," Obama said.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” Obama said. Lamenting the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, Obama reassured his audience that it was “an agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership will still give our children a fighting chance.”
Obama’s remarks are stinging. Not simply because he is apologizing for the will of American voters, but because he neglected to mention the egregious injustice inflicted upon Jakarta’s Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – who was imprisoned for trumped-up charges of blasphemy by Islamist forces – while speaking in Jakarta.
That a former American president would specifically criticize the United States while refusing to mention a clear example of real injustice nearby is stunning. Stunning, but typical, for Obama.
Every single moment Obama opens his mouth is another reminder of how fortunate Americans are that he is no longer in office.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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