The outgoing President of the US Barack Obama delivered his farewell speech in Chicago, from where he began his political career, reports RBC. The president referred to the achievements, registered during his office, threats that pose to the US, also spoke about Russia and China.
“If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history — if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9-11 — if I had told you that we would win marriage equality and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens — if I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high,” Obama spoke about the achievements of his administration.
After Obama had assumed the Presidency in January 2009, the US unemployment rate was the highest since 1983: 9.9 per cent. However, this figure went down during the years of his presidency and in the end made 4.7. 15.8 million jobs have been created since the beginning of 2010.
Obama introduced no figures in his speech about the economic growth, but it is known, that the US economy began recovering from the economic crisis and registered a growth, after he had taken the office. When in 2008 the GDP growth rate was negative, -0.29 percent, it showed positive trends, and made 2.6 percent from January of 2009 to 2015, according to the World Bank. GDP per capita increased, reaching 57.17 thousand dollars in 2016, in comparison with 48.5 thousand dollars in 2009. The budget deficit fell by almost 1 trillion dollars. At the same time, the disputes about the role of the Obama administration in the US continues, and there is registered an increase in the total debt of the federal government.
Climate, war against terrorism and Russia
Obama, in his farewell speech, tried to defend the UN climate agreement, which was signed in 2015 in Paris. The US President-elect Donald Trump, during his electoral campaign, casted doubts on both climate change and the necessity of the agreement. “But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change. They’ll be busy dealing with its effects,” noted Obama.
Obama also announced, that it was possible to decimate the leader of Al Qaida Osama Ben Laden, and prevent further possible terrorist acts in the US thanks to the policy of his administration. It is important to continue fighting against terrorist, said Obama, calling the IS as the main enemy. “ ISIL will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world — unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors,” he said.
It is also bigots, who are posing a threat to the US, claiming to speak on behalf of Islam, as well as autocrats from foreign capitals, who consider the free market, open democracy, and civil society as a threat. Obama did not mention any specific countries. Under these conditions, the US can not give up the fight for global expansion of democracy, human rights, and LGBT community members.
The US continues to be an exclusive country, since it has shown some capability to change, said the US president. Though, all the Americans should continue fighting to provide their prosperity. Therefore, it is necessary to develop the American democracy, whereas its development is impossible without equal opportunities for all. “Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class, and ladders for folks who want to get into the middle class,” said Obama.
According to Obama, the second threat is Russia’s discrimination. The first black president in the US history, admitted that the situation has improved in recent years, but the work must continue. Obama urged to spare money for the education of children of immigrants, because it will be them to provide the prosperity of US-born children. The outgoing president considers it necessary to uphold a law against discrimination in hiring.
Obama assured, that his administration would provide a mild change of regime, as did President George W. Bush. The world of transferring the power to Trump raised a negative response in the hall. During Obama's speech, the audience was chanting. "Four more tears" "I cannot do that," replied Obama from the stage. The President finished his speech with the words of gratitude to his family and Vice President Joe Biden. He ended his speech with applauses and "Yes, we did. Yes, we can, " phrases, recalling his campaign slogan.