Washington: Donald Trump is committed to maintaining America’s core strategic relationships, including NATO, outgoing President Barack Obama said today as he embarked on his last foreign trip while in office to reassure concerned allies after his successor’s election.
“In my conversation with the President-elect, he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships.And so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance,” Obama told White House reporters here before leaving on a week-long three-nation trip.
“I think that’s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage, during this trip, is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship, and a recognition that those alliances aren’t just good for Europe, they’re good for the United States, and they’re vital for the world,” he said.
Obama would be travelling to Greece, Germany and Peru.
“I look forward to my first visit in Greece. And then, in Germany, I’ll visit with Chancellor Merkel, who’s probably been my closest international partner these past eight years. I’ll also signal our solidarity with our closest allies, and express our support for a strong, integrated, and united Europe,” Obama said.
“It’s essential to our national security and it’s essential to global stability. And that’s why the Transatlantic Alliance and the NATO Alliance have endured for decades under Democratic and Republican administrations,” he said.
In Peru, he will meet with the leaders of countries that have been the focus of foreign policy through the re-balance in the Asia Pacific.
“This is a time of great change in the world. But America has always been a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope to people around the globe. And that’s what it must continue to be,” he said.
Obama said American people recognise that the world has shrunk, that it’s interconnected, and that they are not going to put that genie back in the bottle.
“The American people recognise that their careers, or their kids’ careers are going to have to be more dynamic — that they might not be working at a single plant for 30 years, but they might have to change careers. They might have to get more education. They might have to retool or retrain,” Obama said.
“I think the American people are game for that. They want to make sure that the rules of the game are fair. What that means is that if you look at surveys around Americans’ attitudes on trade, the majority of the American people still support trade.”
“But they’re concerned about whether or not trade is fair, and whether we’ve got the same access to other countries’ markets as they have with us; is there just a race to the bottom when it comes to wages, and so forth,” he added.
Earlier, Obama told Democratic National Committee stakeholders during a conference call that Democrats have better ideas but it needs to be heard and a big chunk is not listening to them.
“We have better ideas. But they have to be heard for us to actually translate those ideas into votes and ultimately into action,” Obama told Democratic National Committee stakeholders during a conference call.
“The challenge we have is that partly because of geographic distribution, there are big chunks of the country that just aren’t hearing us. They won’t hear us if we’re not showing up and if we’re not there fighting day in, day out for those ideas,” he said.
Obama said that is not something that one can just do every four years.
“It’s something that you got to do over a lengthy period of time — building trust, building relationships, making sure that people understand what we’re about, focusing on down ballot, recruiting, training candidates, reaching out to every community — whether they agree or disagree,” he asserted.
“I want to publicly say how proud I am of Hillary Clinton on a history-making race. We did not get the results we wanted, but we took a step in shattering a barrier that’s still there.
“And little girls and little boys are going to have a different sense of the possible thanks to her nomination and her candidacy,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t hurt for what was an unexpected loss. And expected losses are hard enough, unexpected ones are just worse. And that’s okay. I was telling my team you’re allowed to mope for a week and a half, maybe two if you really need it.
“But after that, we got to brush ourselves off and get back to work. We got to come together and focus on a way ahead,” he said during the call.
“It is important that we do that in a way that’s consistent with who we are as Democrats. It means that we’re listening to each other. We’re reflecting. We’re asking tough questions. We’re respectful of different points of view.”
“We’re basing our decisions on facts and careful analysis, and we’re taking the long view. We are strategising,” he said.
In another conference call with Obama for America volunteers, the US President said defeat in the election is disappointing “I think it’s fair to say that your President feels your pain on this one. It doesn’t feel good. And in some ways it feels worse because, for a lot of us, I think we didn’t see it coming,” he said.