Obama promises smooth transition without mentioning Trump by name
Barack Obama was given a rock star-like welcome at the beginning of his address at a new cultural center in coastal Athens on Wednesday, where he responded with a “Kalispera” (good afternoon in Greek) to a standing ovation and a “hello Greece”.
Obama’s began his address with references to the Greek-American community, referring to his interaction with the ethnic Greeks of Chicago; Greek-Americans’ presence in the US armed forces, the Greek Orthodox Chapel of St. Nicholas, which was reconstructed after its collapse in 9/11 and even to the symbolism of the Acropolis of ancient Athens’ democracy and concept of the “kratos”, the rule of law state.
Obama praises democratic ideals, says his travels as US president for eight years is that people want to control their lives and future.
Obama refers to Orthodox priest’s raising of revolutionary banner, a reference to the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) before citing Ukraine and Tunisia, among others, as peoples striving for democracy, emphasizes that democracies more prosperous.
Obama to youthful audience at Stavros Niarchos Center: Democracy makes us stronger than terrorists, autocrats, we are open, welcome refugees to our countries, Greek people’s “generosity (to refugees) has inspired the world”. With diplomacy we stopped Iran nuclear program, normalized relations with Cuba and signed climate change protocol in Paris.
Obama: Cites famous quotes attributed to Winston Churchill regarding democracy.
Obama: Changes effected through democratic process; emphasized that anyone in US can now marry anyone he/she wants, overcoming prejudices; America welcomes immigrants; we believe in a free press, an independent judiciary, separation of powers, free elections, religious rights; smooth transition of power, especially if we don’t like the result; cites major differences in beliefs with president-election; promises smooth transition, doesn’t mention Trump by name.
Obama refers to paradoxes of globalization; believes most people would choose to live today, a better world than previously, less violent.
Obama: Refers to global elites, corporations appear living by another set of rules, in touching on phenomenon of companies, factories moving to cheaper destinations; poorest child, most remote village in Africa now knows how other parts of the world live.
Obama: Part of the reason for my visit here is to highlight the steps taken by Greece; major sacrifices by Greek people; Greek economy wasn’t sustainable, economy needs to attract investments and create jobs; you should stay here, not emigrate; Greece will see better days; refers to debt relief and cites his administration’s support for the country.
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