Monday, 16 January 2017

Michael Bach Atlanta | Obama talks about Israel, Syria and Trump in his final interview as president

In his final interview as U.S. president, Barack Obama touched on his sometimes controversial approaches to foreign policy in Israel, Russia and Syria, and the "unusual" transition between his administration and that of president-elect Donald Trump.

Speaking to CBS' 60 Minutes, the outgoing president reflected on his legacy and his biggest challenges during his eight years in office during the hour-long interview.
A number of Obama's policies — from health care to his contentious relationship with Israel — could be short-lived as president-elect Donald Trump becomes the 45th president later this week and vows to reverse some of those policies.

The increase of Israeli settlements has "gotten so substantial" that it is inhibiting the possibility of an "effective, contiguous Palestinian state," Obama said.
He dismissed the idea that there is a "major rupture" in the relationship between the United States and Israel after last month's decision by the U.S. to abstain from a United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements.

"Because of our investment in the region, and because we care so deeply about Israel, I think [the U.S.] has a legitimate interest in saying to a friend, 'This is a problem,"' Obama said. "It would have long-term consequences for peace and security in the region, and the United States."
Don't 'underestimate' Trump

Trump has been vocal about his disapproval of many of Obama's policies, often voicing his disagreement on Twitter. Most recently, Trump lashed out over hypothetical comments Obama made that he would beat Trump if they ran against each other in a general election.

Over the holidays, Trump accused Obama of throwing up "inflammatory" roadblocks during the transition of power and his administration of treating Israel with "total disdain."

Russia and the Syrian civil war

With that, he said he's been "disturbed" by intelligence reports about Russia hacking the U.S. election.

"I have been concerned about the degree to which, in some circles, you've seen people suggest that Vladimir Putin has more credibility than the U.S. government," he said. "You're not going to be able to make good decisions without building some relationship of trust between yourself and that community."

Obama also reflected on his approach to the civil war in Syria, as it approaches its sixth year with hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced around the world. Read More...

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