President Obama’s last joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News November 17, 2016 Updated: 5:31 PM
President Obama said he is "cautiously optimistic" of the president-elect because the demands of the job of president of the United States "force you to focus.” This during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday.
"My hope is that the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect is also willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms," he said.
"He’s indicated his willingness, his understanding of that, but you’re absolutely right that that has to reflect itself not only in the things he says, but also in how he fills out his administration, and my hope is that that’s something that he’s thinking about," Obama said of Trump.
"Because not only is the president of the United States somebody that the entire country looks to for direction, but sets the agenda internationally in a lot of ways," he added.
President Obama also suggested it would be harmful if Trump takes a “realpolitik approach” where the U.S. cuts deals with Russia “even if it hurts people, or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves countries vulnerable.”
President Obama added that he is encouraged that Trump told him "NATO is a commitment that does not change."
The President also warned against taking for granted the democratic process and form of government.
"We have lived in an era that has been largely stable and peaceful ... where living standards have generally gone up. There's a tendency to assume that’s always the case. And it's not. Democracy is hard work," he said. "In the United States if 43 percent of eligible voters do not vote, then democracy is weakened."
He added: "If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not and particularly in the age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. If we are unable to compromise and engage in the democratic process and taking absolutism views ... then democracy will break down."
This will mark president Obama’s last trip to Germany. While speaking privately with chancellor Merkel, the President discussed efforts to keep the U.S. and Germany, economically competitive in negotiations, resulting from Brexit.
Along with the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the threat of climate change, countering cyber threats, implementing the Paris agreement to ensure Iran continues to abide by its nuclear deal, and the importance of maintaining sanctions against Russia, as the President reiterated their common Interests.