A look at Obama's final European trip as President and first as Trump spokesman
His trek has taken on the air of a soothsaying mission.
If you think the American people are in shock over the results of our presidential election, imagine how the rest of the world feels. Foreign governments and markets crave stability so, with the exception of maybe Russia, the world has been caught off guard and is seeking some reassurance.
Enter President Obama who, after one year of virtually guaranteeing Trump wouldn’t win, is now functioning as the President-elect’s most important ambassador.
Obama is now in Europe on his final trip there as Commander-In-Chief, a trek that has taken on the air of a sooth-saying mission. It’s poetic that his first stop was in Greece, the birthplace of democracy, a form of government not perfectly practiced here in the United States, but one that, essentially, buckled at his vision for this next four years.
But Obama has waxed poetic in response. “We have very different points of view, but American democracy is bigger than any one person,” the President said the other day, in addition to offering hopeful words about the incoming President’s flexibility.
“I don’t think he’s ideological, I think he is pragmatic,” Obama’s said recently of Trump, going on to suggest that his meeting with Trump left him with the impression that Trump will in fact roll back on some campaign promises by in fact honoring the Paris climate treaty and, of special concern to Greece, America’s commitments to NATO. (NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an agreement via which select countries have pledged cooperation with each other — and to defend each other in case of attack.)
It’s worth noting that Trump hasn’t publicly said anything to this effect.
Obama’s tour continues in a Europe which partially roiled with shock at Trump’s victory, though that surprise was mitigated by the very evident and upending wave of populism on display in the UK’s vote to leave the EU (known as “Brexit”), and the move toward nationalism throughout France and Germany, as the effects of trade agreements, globalization, and influx of refugees have threatened many people’s incomes and identities. Trump predicted the Brexit phenomenon would be mirrored in this election. People laughed. Now we have a President-elect Trump.
“The current path of globalization demands a course correction,” Obama said in Greece of these transatlantic electoral trends. It’s a description of reality, as well as a prescription for the future. Obama was never intended to have the last word on the matter — that’s not how democracy works. But it is clear he doesn’t intend to stop speaking.