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Former US President Barack Obama warns of ‘strongman politics’

Johannesburg (South Africa), July 18: Barack Obama has used his first high-profile speech since stepping down as US president to take swipes at “strongman politics” and politicians’ disregard for facts. Obama on Tuesday here mounted a passionate defence of democracy and warned against the politics of the day as his successor, Donald Trump, was heavily criticised for a humiliating news conference on Monday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the BBC reported.

In his address in honour of the late Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Obama slammed populist movements toward authoritarianism around the world and ridiculed the “utter loss of shame among political leaders” who lie.

Obama, who has made an art of criticising Trump’s values without explicitly naming him, peppered his speech on Tuesday with warnings against some of his successor’s key policies, including protectionism, climate change denial and closed borders. “I am not being alarmist, I’m simply stating the facts. Strongman politics are ascendant, suddenly, whereby elections and some pretence of democracy are maintained,… those in powers seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

His remarks followed Trump’s news conference in Helsinki, Finland, in which the US leader sided with Putin over his own country’s intelligence agencies on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 US election, the CNN reported. (IANS)

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