Speaking in Berlin on Thursday, Barack Obama pushed for continued globalism and heaped praise on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“There’s a competing narrative of fear and xenophobia and nationalism and intolerance and anti-democratic trends,” said Obama, discussing democracy and global responsibility with the chancellor, at the biennial congress of the German Protestant Church.
“We have to push back against those trends that would violate human rights or suppress democracy or that would restrict individual freedoms of conscience and religion.
“In this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves. We can’t hide behind a wall,” Obama declared from the Brandenburg Gate, as police helicopters patrolled the skies and snipers watched the scene from nearby rooftops.
The former U.S. president told Merkel — who is often credited with having caused the migrant crisis, which unleashed a flood of millions of migrants to Europe — that she is “on the right side of history”.
Addressing the question of asylum seekers, Obama said: “In the eyes of God, a child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child.
“You can’t distinguish between them in terms of their worth or inherent dignity.”
Without mentioning Donald Trump by name, the former president took the opportunity to rail against his successor not only with regards to immigration and the ‘liberal international order’ but also healthcare.
“My hope was that I was able to get 100% of people health care while I was president. We didn’t quite achieve that, but we were able to get 20 million people healthcare who didn’t have healthcare,” he said, warning that “progress” towards universal health care in the U.S. is in peril.
Merkel, who the former president told had done “outstanding work”, and who he lauded during his term as “my closest international partner”, is set to fly to Brussels later on Thursday for a meeting with leaders of fellow NATO countries, including President Trump.