Wednesday, 24 February 2016

US President Barack Obama on Singapore and international law

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with US President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama on Singapore: “Because it has been able to work within this rule-based system, because it has invested in its people, because of sound management and governance, it has emerged as one of the wealthiest per capita nations - not just in the region, but in the world.” the full exclusive interview here:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Monday, February 22, 2016

Interest in ASEAN will continue with next administration, says Obama
President Barack Obama gives assurance that the bond between the US and Southeast Asia has been institutionalised for future administrations to follow.
By Lin Xueling, Channel NewsAsia, 23 Feb 2016

RANCHO MIRAGE, California: President Barack Obama is confident that the United States will continue to pay close attention to Asia regardless of who succeeds him in office.

“It is important to recognise that Americans, certainly American businesses, and certainly America generally, understand that Asia is going to be increasingly important to the world economy,” said Mr Obama in an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia.

He added: “I am confident that the next administration would continue many of the policies we put forward, partly because we also institutionalised them. We created a series of habits inside of our State Department.”

And with the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands recently concluded, Mr Obama has made it clear that a particular commitment to Southeast Asia will continue with future US Presidents.

“We have passed laws, initiated programs, many of them multi-year. We would feel confident that it would continue after I am gone, and hopefully we would continue to see the bonds between US and ASEAN nations continue to grow.

“The US sees this as an incredibly dynamic growing young population. More and more economic activity is going to be centred on the Asia-Pacific region.”


During the interview, Mr Obama said that America’s growing interest in the region is not an ulterior motive to counter China’s militarisation. Speaking just before China raised tensions with an apparent deployment of missiles on a disputed island in the Paracel Islands chain, he said he hopes that China would step back from taking unilateral action in the region and abide by international rule.

Referring to multi-nation claims in the South China Sea, Mr Obama said: “The US believes that without taking sides on any particular claims (to territories), this has to go through an orderly dispute resolution process.

“The more we can convince China that it’s in their long-term interest to abide by these international rules as well, the more peaceful and secure the whole region would be.”

In doing so, Mr Obama singled out Singapore as an example of how rule-based systems can be utilized.

“Singapore has a set of orderly processes to resolve these disputes. It doesn’t mean that people don’t have tensions and disputes. At any given moment, you may prefer to resolve your own outcome without resorting to the courts or rule of law.

“But over the long term what we learnt is that societies work better when these norms are observed. The same is true of the international level. And China as a large country, should have even more investment in wanting these norms to be observed.”

We want to partner ASEAN countries that represent best of moderate Islam, says Obama
"Their voice, I think, is absolutely critical in us winning the larger ideological battle that ISIS has mounted to try to recruit young people in Muslim countries,” says US President Barack Obama in an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia.
By Lin Xueling, Channel NewsAsia, 21 Feb 2016

RANCHO MIRAGE, California: The United States wants to partner Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that “represent the best of moderate Islam” to combat the rise of extremist groups such as Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), said President Barack Obama.

“Their voice, I think, is absolutely critical in us winning the larger ideological battle that ISIS has mounted to try to recruit young people in Muslim countries,” he told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California on Tuesday (Feb 16).

Mr Obama reiterated that America is not at war with religious faith, but with a “small group that is using a perversion of religion to justify terrible crimes”.

He also addressed concerns that there is growing Islamophobia in America. “There is no doubt that as a consequence of ISIS and their propaganda that they've been able to generate, that that’s evoked fear,” the President said. “And fear is a dangerous thing. When people become afraid, often times they start making generalisations.”

He noted that some politicians have tried to exploit this. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, for instance, has floated a controversial proposal for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

Mr Obama dismissed the rhetoric as a publicity stunt.

“Let’s be clear. I think every country has politicians who say things that are not representative of the country but can get them attention. What matters is what the President of the United States - duly elected by the people - has to say and I’ve been very clear about my positions on these things.”

He added that the overwhelming majority of Americans are “very clear” on the belief that people should be judged on the basis of actions, not faith. ”They understand that Islam is a religion of peace, and that more than a billion Muslims around the world are interested in the same things that we are: Making sure their children can learn, making sure they can build a better life for themselves.”

Obama: We're better off now than when I started as President
In an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia, United States President Barack Obama assesses his time in office and says things are better domestically.
By Lin Xueling, Channel NewsAsia, 22 Feb 2016

RANCHO MIRAGE, California: As he approaches the end of his two terms in office, President Barack Obama has given an upbeat assessment of his performance.

“There is no doubt that we are better off than we were when I came into office,” said the President when asked if his presidency and his administration had made real change in the US.

Speaking on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California last Tuesday (Feb 16), the President recalled the challenges his administration faced at the outset, especially the financial crisis that was having a devastating impact on the world’s biggest economy.

“It is hard to dispute that we are much better off now than we were in 2008-2009 when I came into office. We were about to plunge into a worldwide depression,” said Mr Obama, who spent the start of his presidency fighting to pass a stimulus bill designed to jumpstart the economy and to provide a safety net for the unemployed.

“The truth is that we bounced out of this financial crisis faster more effectively than has happened in previous major financial crisis.”

Domestically, the President also pointed to the provision of healthcare to 18 million Americans with Obamacare.


But on international affairs, the President had a mixed assessment.

He lauded the COP-21 climate talks, and reserved praise for China President Xi Jinping.

“We would not have gotten the Paris climate agreement done unless President Xi and I had agreed to work together, and commit our nations as the two largest carbon emitters to make some real changes in how we produce energy.”

In the Middle East and elsewhere, though, there are still challenges to be resolved.

“Syria is heart-breaking. Fighting that is still taking place there is still causing enormous humanitarian disasters. We still have major problems in terms of human rights around the world. We still have problems with poverty.”

The President also said that finding a lasting relationship with China is still a work in progress.

106-year-old superstar Virginia McLaurin reflects on meeting the Obamas, a life lesson from her mother and her sudden fame.
Posted by NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

As for his own legacy, he said that could only be assessed in the future.

“I think when you are in the midst of all the issues that we deal with, people always are going to be wondering, ‘Why didn’t that get done, what is happening here?’

“Get back to me 10 years later, 20 years later, and I would be able to tell you how things worked out.”

"I, once again, crossed the PC barrier." Dr. Ben Carson defends his comments that Barack Obama was "raised white."
Posted by CNN on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bernie Sanders says a lot of criticism of Obama is based on race
Bernie Sanders is fed up with racism directed towards President Obama
Posted by NowThis Election on Friday, February 19, 2016

“He was, you know, raised white,” Dr. Ben Carson said.
Posted by The New York Times on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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