Why is Obama lecturing Trump on foreign policy?

Thursday, while visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, lame-duck President Barack Obama issued a warning to his successor, President-elect Donald Trump over America’s policy toward Russia:


Politico has the details:

“I’ve sought a constructive relationship with Russia but what I have also been is realistic in recognizing there is some significant differences in how Russia views the world and how we view the world,” Obama said at a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He added: “And my hope is the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach: Finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia, where our values and interests align” but be “willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.”


The language was mildly tempered and framed within the “My hope is…” preface, but Obama knows how the international media interprets such a remark.

Obama warns Donald Trump on Russia, maintaining international commitments, CBS News

Barack Obama tells Donald Trump to ‘stand up to Russia’ in stark warning to next US President, UK Mirror

Obama, With Merkel in Berlin, Warns Trump Against Cutting Harmful Deals With Putin, WSJ

The spectacle of a sitting president traveling overseas and issuing a “warning” over foreign policy to the man just elected to replace him is a troubling and disturbing one.


We are constantly told by this White House that President Obama’s agenda and actions are “unprecedented” in one way or the other, but in this case, it really is without precedent, and this new standard is a disturbing one.

When the election season for the 2008 presidential race was underway, President George W. Bush warned against a premature pull-out of Iraq. At the time, no one had secured a nomination, let alone won the presidency, but he knew that his successor could (and eventually did) win the White House on an irresponsible promise to leave Iraq before the nation had been secured and a legitimate government was in place to combat ongoing terrorist threats.

I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”


Once Obama had won the election partly do the false promise that America (and Iraq) would be more secure if we pulled our troops out prematurely, Bush stayed mum. His ideas had lost and his role at that point was to defer to the next president, and the will of the American people.

But Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama can’t help himself. He has to take the world stage and lecture Trump and the Americans who voted for him about what they should and shouldn’t do.  If this is what he’s like just 9 days after the election, imagine how he’s going to be in his farewell address.  Or, one week after the inauguration.


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