Chicago: The global order based on rule of law, human rights, freedoms of speech, assembly and religion along with an independent press is now being challenged by violent fanatics and autocrats in foreign capitals, outgoing US President Barack Obama said today.
The US, because of its democratic values, “resisted the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles, the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly and an independent press,” Obama said in his farewell address to the nation from his hometown.
“That order is now being challenged, first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies and civil society itself as a threat to their power,” said Obama, whose two-term presidency comes to an end on January 20 when he would be succeeded by President-elect Donald Trump of the Republican party.
“The peril each poses to our democracy is more far reaching than a car bomb or missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what is true and what is right.
“Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organisation has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalisation can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever,” Obama said.
ISIS will be destroyed and no one who threatens America will ever be safe, he said. “We have taken out tens of thousands of terrorists including Osama bin Laden. The global coalition we are leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. To all who serve, it has been the honour of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief,” Obama said.
Referring to how he successfully tackled the problem of climate change, Obama said, “In just eight years, we have halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet”.
He warned that to deny the reality of global warming amounted to a betrayal of generations to come. “But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they will be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.
“Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem but to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders,” the outgoing US President added.