Why do people sometimes call Obama POTUS
(The foreign language part was recorded using the simultaneous translation)
BK’in Merkel: Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be able to welcome the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, as President of Germany for the sixth time today. If we remember again, after his visit as a candidate for the presidency here in Berlin, at the NATO summit in Baden-Baden, at the visit to Dresden and Buchenwald, at the speech at the Brandenburg Gate, at the G7 summit in Elmau, this spring at the Hanover Fair and met here today at the Chancellery.
At the beginning I want to say: Eight years are drawing to a close. It is Barack Obama's last visit here in Germany. I am pleased that he has chosen Germany as a station and I would like to thank you for the close, trusting and friendly cooperation. It was also a very reliable cooperation in hours when we had to master difficult situations. That is why today I want to pay tribute once again to what we were able to discuss, decide and advance together.
The difficult hours were also connected with the questions of cooperation between our intelligence services. I am very grateful that Barack Obama, as President, has put privacy on the agenda. Today, in view of the global threat posed by Islamist terror and IS, we see how important international cooperation between the services and especially those of the United States of America is. We need this cooperation - I want to make that very clear from a German perspective.
Overall, our bilateral relations are very, very good and very close, also in the economic field. The United States of America was the most important trading partner for the Federal Republic of Germany last year. The European Union and the United States of America are the two great trading areas. In this respect, I have always been very committed to the conclusion of a trade agreement with the United States of America. We have made good progress in the negotiations. They cannot be terminated now. In any case, we will hold on to what we have achieved now. I am quite sure: we will come back to this one day.
I think I can say that: what unites us is the common conviction that globalization must be shaped humanely, that it must be shaped politically, but that there is no going back to the times before globalization. That is why these efforts are of paramount importance when it comes to trade agreements that go beyond mere customs agreements. I am delighted that the EU was able to bring the agreement with Canada to an end.
We have made great strides, for example, on one of the very big global issues. That is climate protection. Without the commitment of the current administration under the leadership of Barack Obama, such a Paris Agreement would not have come about - both in terms of changing attitudes in the United States of America and in terms of cooperation with the USA / China. Last year we were able to conclude a Paris climate agreement that will be groundbreaking for the whole world. Together with the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda for the whole world, change will take place step by step.
A second point that I would like to emphasize is the commitment to Africa. For us Europeans in particular, Africa is of the utmost importance as a neighboring continent. The development of African countries is in the interests of all of us and will keep us very busy in the next few years, especially as Germany, but also as the European Union.
We have a variety of joint activities. Here I want to mention the fight against IS. In this regard, Germany has worked on parts of it or is working on it when it comes to supporting the Peshmerga, when it comes to monitoring the airspace. Here we just have to see that the United States of America bears the brunt of the burden. That is why I take the President’s point very seriously that Germany in particular, but also the European countries as a whole in the NATO alliance, which is our joint transatlantic alliance, will have to gradually become more involved in the future. In the long run, the imbalance of what is spent on defense will not last. Germany fully understood this message and has started to respond.
We worked very closely together in Afghanistan and are still doing so now. I am very happy that we were able to continue the military engagement together with the political efforts to find a political solution in Afghanistan.
We worked very closely together in connection with the annexation of Crimea, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the attempt to find a diplomatic solution here. Both the Normandy format and the cooperation with the United States of America are very closely coordinated and intertwined. We will continue this intensively until the end of the current administration and then hopefully be able to continue.
This is not quite today, but it is almost the end of eight years of intensive cooperation, which was characterized by the fact that, from the German point of view, German-American and European-American relations are a cornerstone of our foreign policy, which is on the one hand interest-based, but on the other hand bound by values . Here we have a common platform for democracy, freedom, advocating human rights worldwide and working for an open and liberal world order. Of course, I will do everything I can to work well with the newly elected President. But today I want to say thank you. Thank you for a good, friendly and intensive cooperation.
P Obama: Thank you very much! It's wonderful to be back in Berlin. This is my sixth visit to Germany and it will not be my last visit. I have still not participated in the Oktoberfest - I think I should do that as a former president and not as the incumbent president, because then I can have more fun.
It is wonderful to be here again with my wonderful friend and ally, Chancellor Merkel. When I look back on the last eight years, I can say: I couldn't have imagined a more steadfast, more reliable partner on the world stage. Thank you for your friendship, leadership, and alliance!
I would also like to thank the German people, the citizens, for the incredibly good cooperation in recent years. Last week we celebrated the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and America proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with Germany as it rebuilt itself and created a new future.
It reminds us that America's commitment is ongoing and that we share common values. With a view to our commitment to democracy and human rights to the peoples of the world, our alliance with NATO allies has been an important pillar for seven decades, in good times and in bad; for America has a fundamental interest in the stability of Europe and the security of Europe. It is a commitment, a commitment that Angela and I share, and we continued that in our discussions this afternoon.
We will continue to try to keep our countries competitive and to create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Agreements like TTIP have been a challenge, and there is a time right now that one wonders whether globalization really makes that sense. It is important, however, at this point in time that we recognize that these negotiations and communication channels are ongoing; because ultimately we have shown over the last few decades that markets, trade and the economy can create prosperity in all of our countries. This is not a new situation; it is a win-win situation. At a time when the House of Europe is challenging, it is particularly important that economic integration be strengthened and that our peoples work closely together. I would hope that the negotiations on Britain's exit can be continued in a transparent manner and that there can continue to be as good economic and security agreements as possible with the EU.
I have already said that the EU is one of the most important political achievements. You can't just take this success for granted, you have to continue working on it and also secure it. Because the achievements, the successes that we have seen on this continent - in contrast to the divided Europe in the previous century - remind us of how important cooperation is for all of us and that we must be ready to uphold the principles that we must have led to unprecedented prosperity and progress around the world.
The threat posed by climate change has become even more topical, and I would like to thank the Chancellor for the cooperation on a global level. Our countries were happy to take part in the Paris Agreement. In addition to this, we will also have major investments in air conditioning. We continue to have major economic and political challenges, for example with regard to cyber security and also the nuclear agreement with Iran - I thank Angela for working together to achieve this agreement. Great progress has also been made with President Hollande through the Minsk agreements and it is important that we continue to apply the sanctions until these agreements can actually be implemented.
On the subject of IS, there is tremendous pressure on this terror network and we have to make sure that we can take action against IS together. We are very grateful for the efforts that Germany has made in this regard, for example through training the armed forces in Iraq and recently the continued use of AWACS aircraft. While the Iraqi forces try to liberate Mosul, we will continue to train forces in Iraq, and we will continue to try, together with Germany and with our NATO allies, to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Regarding Syria: It is clear that the attacks on the civilian population by the Assad regime and Russia have led to a major catastrophe and that a lasting peace in Syria is not yet in sight. Thank you for Germany's support to remedy this humanitarian catastrophe that we have identified here. We must build on the progress made at the United Nations Refugee Summit; over 50 nations tried to remedy this disaster in view of this. We in America have agreed to accept more refugees. We would like to thank Angela and the German people especially for the leadership skills that you have shown and for how you have responded to this challenge. You are not alone in the way you deal with this great challenge. It is not a task that a single country can undertake; rather, we need an international response to it. I intend that we should provide more robust support measures on the part of the United States in this regard. I hope this will continue after my administration.
Now I remember visiting here eight years ago when I was not yet President. I didn't have gray hair back then, but I think I still believe the same today as I did then. If you want a model to see what is possible if you want to create a peaceful, dynamic society, look at Berlin, look at Germany, look at Chancellor Merkel. Your life story shows what tremendous success Germany has experienced in these years. Something like that is not something that can be taken for granted; Sometimes you get the impression that progress is stalling, but the history of Germany in the post-war period has shown that strength, determination and focus on the important points and on the values that are important to us lead to a better future for ours Lead children and grandchildren.
On behalf of the American people, I would now like to thank the German people. I would like to thank Chancellor Merkel for her deep friendship and for her steadfast partnership.
Question: Mr President, you and the newly elected President have very different opinions about Russia. After meeting him last week, can you assure Ms. Merkel that a Trump administration will also support strong sanctions against Moscow?
What did you say to President Putin about Russia's influence on the election, and how do you plan to react to this threat?
Would you like your friend, Chancellor Merkel, to run again next year?
Chancellor, has the US President reassured you about his successor's policy on issues such as Russia, Iran and climate change? Are you worried that the common US-European position against Russia will collapse?
After Trump's election, there are voices that would see it as a sign of stability and would support it if you ran again. What do you think?
P Obama: My rule is that I don't interfere in other people's politics. The only thing I can say is that Chancellor Merkel is an excellent partner, an excellent partner. Chancellor Merkel is probably the only leader among our closest allies who was already in office when I came into office; So in a sense, after the many challenges over the past eight years, we are now the veterans. Although we did not always have the same opinion on all topics, we have always represented the interests of our own country with regard to our core values of integrity, truthfulness, the intensive preparation of our work and the recognition of all facts, but we also represented ourselves in the Names of one's own country in the world engaged and effectively involved in multilateral institutions. I think the Chancellor was outstanding in her activities. It is up to her whether she wants to run again herself, and I leave it to the German people to decide what they mean. But I have to say: if I were here and German, then I would vote for you; I would support them. But I don't know if that will help or not.
With regard to Russia, my basic approach from the start, since the beginning of my term in office, has been this: Russia is an important country; militarily, it is also a superpower. Russia has influence in the region and also has influence around the world. So that many big problems in the world can be solved, it is in our interest to work with Russia and achieve cooperation. We should all hope that Russia is a successful country, where people have jobs and economic growth is achieved, that there is good relations with neighboring countries and that it is constructively involved in areas such as climate change.
I tried to forge a constructive relationship with Russia, but I was also a realist; I realized that there are significant differences in the way Russia sees the world. The values we have spoken of - democracy, free speech, international norms, the rule of law, respect for other countries that can decide for themselves about their future and whose territorial integrity is guaranteed - are, however, values that cannot be ignored or disregarded can leave. So there are significant differences of opinion between Russia and us on issues like Ukraine or Syria.
I would hope that in a similar way the newly elected president will find a constructive approach, find a way of working with Russia in which interests are the same, but that this new president is also ready to stand up to Russia if different interests exist. I wouldn't expect the newly elected president to continue to pursue exactly the policies we have planned, but I would hope that he doesn't just take a realpolitical position and say, “We'll just make deals with Russia, even if that can harm someone , violates international norms, harms smaller countries or creates long-term problems in areas like Syria, just because it seems appropriate. ”But of course that is an issue that we will know more about when the president is in office. I am encouraged that he said that the commitment to NATO will not change and that he also understands NATO as the basis of international security. This is very important.
Regarding my conversation with President Putin, I can say: These are conversations that took place before the elections. I said at the time that there was clear evidence that cyberattacks were being made. This is nothing new, and it is not limited to Russia either. There are a number of states that we have found have committed minor cyber attacks, engaged in industrial espionage, and engaged in other behaviors that are unacceptable and actually not allowed. I put it very clearly: we know that the Russian services are very active, even if we don't like it. But there is a difference between the normal operation of such services and interference in elections and attacks on private organizations or business enterprises. We are watching this very closely and will react accordingly when we discover such things.
However, I think that this entire cyber area is an area in which we have to develop framework conditions and international standards at the international level so that we do not see an arms race in the cyber area. Many countries have complex capacities here, and given the structures and the fact that our economic systems rely very heavily on digital platforms, we have to be very careful and ensure that this does not become a legal vacuum, in which a low-level war then becomes takes place. We have started to develop certain principles in the G20 that have already been adopted by the G7 and the United Nations. But there is still a lot of work to be done here.
BK'in Merkel: First of all, I would like to emphasize that I am already very impressed with how the transition phase in the United States of America, precisely because it is democratic principles, is going despite a very tough election campaign. It's about the American people, it's about their fate. The outgoing administration passes what it has of knowledge on to the next administration, and that is of course an encouragement for us too, the good cooperation between the United States of America and Germany, which is in mutual interest is to continue. Therefore, from my side, I will do this with President-elect Donald Trump with great openness and great conviction.
Secondly. As for Russia, I can only repeat what the President said. It is about adherence to principles, and I will say again from a European perspective, from a German perspective: The fact that we have now been living in peace for over 70 years is essentially based on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of every European country is respected and protected. Given European history, a situation in which we did not would be the beginning of a bitter path that we would then go again. We must oppose these beginnings.
In resolving such conflicts, however, we rely on political efforts; that is why the Normandy Process is taking place, in close coordination with the United States of America. Especially from a German and a European perspective - when you think of Poland, when you look from the perspective of the European Union - I can only say: Russia is our neighbor, and of course we have an interest in ensuring that relations are good. Of course, we also have many historical connections. However, that cannot prevent us from bringing them up where there are profoundly different evaluations - but, as I said, with the means of a political solution, and I will continue to use my strength to achieve this.
The question of whether I will run again in the next general election will be answered at the appropriate time, and that is not the case today.
Question: Mr President, your country is divided. As the first black president to do so many things so differently and have such high hopes in the world, were you overwhelmed for many Americans? How do you fear that your successor may now pose a military threat to the world? Because he also has access to nuclear weapons that are stored in Germany, among other places.
Chancellor, will you want to make Germany more independent after the election of Donald Trump and detach it more from America? How do you intend to prevent this wave of populism from Europe and America from striking Germany with full force?
A personal question for you, for your feelings: President Obama has portrayed you as an outstanding politician, and you are always somewhat sober in describing your partner. How difficult is it for you to say goodbye today?
P Obama: My guiding principle as President was and is that I try to do the right thing, even when it is not politically convenient or pleasant. That means that I look at what the long-term trends are in our economy, in our society, in the international arena, and that I use my best judgment to formulate policies to keep the American people safe and move the economy forward. Create security and ensure that peace, cooperation and stability in the world are created and maintained.
From recent polls in the United States, we found that most Americans think I did a good job. Perhaps, as you said, we went too fast; But it is safe to say that the American people - just like the German people, just like the British and people around the world - are faced with extremely rapid change. The world is getting smaller and smaller, economic systems are becoming more and more integrated, population development and demography are changing. Because of the internet and the possibilities of communication, the clash of cultures has become much more direct.
You feel less secure about your own identity, about economic security. You try to get control over your own life. So this means that politics in all our countries will require that we get a better grip on technology, global integration and also the changes in the population structure, so that people feel that they have more control over life and be more confident about your own future, but not focus on simplistic answers, or talk about races or tribes, or rely on some very crude nationalism that we have seen in part in our countries.
I think politics is in a difficult phase everywhere. But as long as we continue to uphold our democratic principles, as long as the elections are held with integrity, as long as we respect freedom of religion, as long as we have “checks and balances” in our system, as long as people have the opportunity not just to decide how well they are Government works, but also to change the government through elections, one can say with confidence in the long run that progress will continue.
I think this is especially important for those of us who believe in a world that is interdependent, interdependent. It is particularly important that we respect one another. It is therefore important that we reach out to everyone in our countries - including those who feel excluded, who are afraid of globalization - and that we respond to these concerns in a constructive, not destructive way. I think that is possible. It's tough. You have to be creative; you need effective communication. What has changed in politics is social media and the way people get information. It is much easier to launch negative attacks and use simplistic slogans than to enforce complex politics. But we will find a solution.
Ultimately, I am an optimist. I am optimistic not only about the future of the United States of America, but also about the development of the world. What makes me particularly optimistic is the attitude of the young people, the youth. Everywhere you can say that young people feel much more comfortable with the differences in societies. They feel more comfortable with the complexity and diversity in societies. They are more likely to accept behaviors that might otherwise keep us apart. They see themselves as part of a global economy that they can successfully navigate through, where they can find their way, show a lot of creativity and entrepreneurship and work together across borders. So this is what the future looks like. But we have to build a bridge to the future. That means we have to be careful about the wages paid to workers in the countries. We need to make sure that we are smartly investing in education, skills and economic growth, investing in science, so that we uphold the values that have helped us in the past. If we do that, everything will turn out fine.
BK'in Merkel: Regarding the question of independence: After the era of nationalism, Germany received an incredible amount of help from the United States of America. The fact that German unification was able to take place is due, among other things, and especially to the United States of America. Now that this unity has existed, Germany is in an even better position to make its contribution to maintaining the order that we love, for which the people of the GDR in particular stood up, worldwide, or at least to maintain it in our countries .
We are already making a greater contribution to this than we were 27 years ago. We will have to continue to make a strong contribution in some areas. We will all have to worry more about development aid. It's not just about military engagement, it's about the fact that the differences in quality of life in times of digitization cannot be arbitrarily large around the world. Everyone must have the chance to develop. That is why Germany's fate is tied to being part of alliances - the European Union, NATO. It's not about independence. With 80 million people, you will not achieve much in the world alone - even if you are economically strong, which is what we want to continue to be. So that means that covenants are part of our destiny, our future. That is also what guides me in my politics and also guides the entire federal government.
Second, on the question of the wave of populism in America. A look at the European Parliament shows you that we in the European Union are not free from people who seek simple or negative answers. These tendencies also exist in Germany. I deeply believe - this ties in with what the President just said - that digitization is, as they say nowadays, a disruptive technical development with profound changes in our society. If you take a look at the consequences of the invention of the art of printing, what consequences industrialization has had, then it has always had a significant impact on society. It has always taken a certain amount of time before societies learned how to put the right guard rails back in place. We are currently living in a process of at least as profound change as was the case during the transition from agriculture to industrial economy.
When leaving entire branches of production, for example, from certain regions, there are people who ask themselves: Where is my role in this world? We have to find all the answers to that, of course. That is the case here in Germany, it is the case elsewhere. Keeping societies together - older and younger, those who live in rural areas, those who live in cities - is one of the most noble and important duties of politics today and also to involve everyone.
But what cannot be is that those who are assigned to certain groups say: we are now the people and the rest are not the people. In addition, at the time in the GDR I was not happy that the people then had something to say after they hadn't had that for many decades. That is why I believe that we naturally always need new answers to new circumstances. But the principles endure. We will need patience; we will need new forms of address. But I'm also optimistic that we can solve that.
Now it's hard for me to say goodbye. Sure, when you've worked well with someone, saying goodbye is also difficult. But we are all politicians and democracy lives from change. In this respect, the constitution in the United States is very strict: eight years, and then comes a new president. In this respect, if it is in the German interest to have good transatlantic relations, the task is simply to look ahead. If we want to meet personally, the free travel, which thank God we have in all parts of Germany, does not rule out that. In this respect, we are not out of the world, as we would say.
Question: Thank you very much, Mr President. - You have talked a lot about a crude form of nationalism and that it is now increasing. I wonder if you are telling the protesters in America to stop demonstrating against this very crude language used by Donald Trump. Aren't you seeing worrying trends in the way he selects certain employees?
Do you think that in the last few weeks of your presidency you have been influencing Bashar al-Assad and Putin to prevent further bombing?
Chancellor, Bashar al-Assad has called Donald Trump a natural ally. Your own foreign secretary has said that Donald Trump is a hate preacher. Do you now have a problem with perception, with the way Donald Trump is seen?
P Obama: In our democracy, it's great that you have so many different expressions for this democracy. It is part of the process that people protest. I've been the cause of protest movements for the past eight years. I am sure there is no president in our history who did not protest at some point during his term in office. So I wouldn't advise anyone who has strong opinions or who is very concerned about some of the issues raised during the campaign to fall silent.
But what I would advise, what I have advised before the election and what I continue to advise after the election, is that elections are important. Participation in the election is important; it is important to be aware of the facts. I always tell young people in America, but also in Europe: Don't take it for granted that our systems of government and our way of life will absolutely continue to exist. I think there is a tendency, because we have lived in an era that has been largely stable and peaceful - at least in developed countries where living standards have generally risen - that there is a tendency to assume that it will always be that way becomes. But it's not. Democracy means hard work.
If 43 percent of the electorate in America don't vote, then democracy will be weakened. If we don't seriously consider the facts, what is true and what is not, and if we cannot distinguish between serious arguments and propaganda, especially on social media, where information is only available in brief slogans, then we have problems. If people, whether they are politically conservative, liberal, left or right, are not ready to become politically active and compromise, have absolutist opinions and demonize people with different opinions, then we have problems in democracy. My most important advice is therefore to understand what the fundamentals of a healthy democracy are and how we as citizens have to get involved again and again - not just when something annoys us, when we are concerned about something, when there is an election or when a topic suddenly comes up for a couple of weeks. It's hard work. The good news is that many young people, especially those who were active in my campaign and continue to work in politics, but also in charitable and non-profit organizations, will advance that in the interest of society.
I think sometimes you're just complacent. I think there are a lot of young people here in Europe who have forgotten what the Cold War was about, who have forgotten what it means that there was a wall here.I have to be honest: when I sometimes listen to people and what you hear from Europe and you say, "If you compare America to Russia, our government works in a similar way to other governments," if you don't make that distinction, if you do not differentiated, then I have often said all over the world that every government, every country, every person, every institution has mistakes, makes mistakes. I made mistakes; my country made mistakes; my administration, my government has not always exactly corresponded to the values that we have as foundations.
I would tell the German population that America has been good so far and has actually pursued Germany's interests. America helped Germany rebuild. America helped reunite Germany. There are many principles across Europe, such as freedom of speech, civil rights, independent justice and the fight against corruption. Many things that have simply been taken for granted are in general the principles that we have not only applied in our own country, but have also tried to implement in our foreign policy. This is something to remember because we have now come to a point where a lot of incorrect information is presented in well-packaged form. It looks good when you see it on Facebook or when you turn on the television, where the enthusiasm of an American official is compared to the permanent suppression of contradiction in other countries. If you don't make a difference, you no longer know what to protect, what to fight for. Then you can lose a lot of what you value - a lot of the democratic freedoms, the market economy and the prosperity that we have.
That was a long answer. I think there was a second part of your question? I've got a little too far in the first part.
Additional question: (without microphone, acoustically incomprehensible)
P Obama: Yes, he ran an extraordinarily unconventional election campaign, and that led to what is perhaps the greatest political upheaval in modern American political history. This means that he now has to move on to government, and what I have said is: what may have worked to generate enthusiasm or passionate feelings during an election campaign is probably different from what is suitable unifying a country and receiving the support and trust of others. He testified to me that he understood that very well. But you are absolutely right: that must be reflected not only in his words, but also in the way in which he staffs his administration with people. I would hope that is something he is also carefully considering; for the President of the United States is not only someone the whole country looks at, who the whole country expects to take over, but he is also a very important person in the international arena.
Now to Syria: we will continue our work there - in the way that we have done in the last five or six years - in order to strive for a political solution here. In view of the fact that Russia is militarily engaged here and supports the Assad government, which is trying to destroy its opponents with sometimes barbaric methods - for example through the indiscriminate bombing that we have in recent years not only in Aleppo, but in many Having seen parts of the country - it would be naive for me to suggest that we could suddenly expect a 180-degree turnaround in the politics of Assad, or even those of Russia or Iran. But we will continue to argue, we will continue to try to find humanitarian steps to help the people there. We will try to stop the violence there and reach a ceasefire.
Ultimately, however, this can only be solved if Russia recognizes - and in this sense exerts pressure on Assad - that lasting peace in a functioning country is only possible if you also have the approval of the population - you can get approval not buy the population by killing them. We have not yet achieved this change, but we will keep trying.
BK'in Merkel: I think I can say on behalf of the entire federal government that we are no longer in the phase of the election campaign in the United States of America, but in the phase after the election campaign. There is an interest in the Federal Republic of Germany in working well with the United States of America - that goes for every President - on the basis of our values, which I believe should be common values.
As for Assad, I can only say: As President, Assad actively bombed his own people with barrel bombs in the most terrible way. He has - let's look at Aleppo - to answer for infinite human suffering. If you speak to the many Syrian refugees who are also here in Germany, then they will be able to tell you about it. Most of them fled Assad, not IS. Therefore, from my point of view, Assad is not an ally.
Question: Mr President, you used the broad historical lines to describe your hope. Allow me to try to break this down into the next few months and years. The appointment of Steve Bannon as chief adviser, the meeting with Farage, the withdrawal of prominent Republicans from the transition team - what exactly gives you hope that the President-elect will after all become a predictable and reliable President and partner of Europe and the world?
To the Chancellor: When you read that you are being described as the last leader of the free world, and when you hear the President's laudation here, that is not associated with expectations that can ultimately only lead to excessive demands and disappointments, because neither You can still redeem in Germany what is obviously projected in terms of expectations?
P Obama: I am always optimistic. There were times when I sat in my office, in the Oval Office, and people came to me with all kinds of political problems, including international ones. My team was discouraged and depressed. Then I kept telling them: I have to be optimistic. Because the likelihood of someone named Barack Obama becoming president was very slim.
From the fact that I have seen such tremendously positive change in my life in the United States and in the world, I have learned that while history does not advance in a straight line, it does so in positive ways for a better future of man runs. But we have to work on it. We have to fight for it.
The reason I am cautiously optimistic about my successor and the transition from campaign mode to governance mode is because there is something that is a very fundamental obligation: the tremendous responsibilities that the United States has, not just on the part of its people, but the expectations that the whole world has of America. This forces you to focus. It demands that you tackle these issues seriously and that you take action seriously. Those who do not take on this task seriously will probably not stay in this office very long. Because there will be problems. Even if you do a good job and pay close attention to everything, there is always so much loaded onto your desk, you become a critic and you will have opponents. You can see that relatively quickly when you sit at this point.
I think that the newly elected president will very quickly realize the challenges and responsibilities the President of the United States has that cannot be dealt with so casually. We are a very large and complex country. The only way you can be successful is by actually working with a multitude of people everywhere. So I would hope that it will actually be the case. I'll do all I can over the next two months to make sure it does.
It is of course true that Chancellor Merkel has had significant responsibilities and has already had and still has to bear enormous burdens. If she does choose to run again, she will actually have great responsibility. I wish I could help her and ease her burden. But she's a tough woman. She is tough. I know what it means to do this. She is tough.
When there are problems anywhere in the world, the first question that is always asked is why is Washington doing nothing? - That is why it is so important not to simply take for granted how our transatlantic alliance has proven itself. In international forums - in the G20, the G7 or the United Nations - the United States and Germany are not always perfectly on the same line. Europe and America do not always have the same positions. But the voice that speaks on behalf of a dissident who has been jailed somewhere in the world, the voice that speaks about a child in an African village who has no clean water to drink or who has a terrible disease, the voice who insists that rules and norms be observed in international politics, the voice that moves the world away from wars wherever possible - that is our voice.
We are not always successful. But when these voices are no longer there, when they are missing or when different voices are heard, the world will become harder and more difficult. We have to remember that whoever is the American President, whoever is the German Chancellor and whoever is a leading politician in any of the other European countries must recognize the responsibility he or she has.
There are forces who view this problem with cynicism, who look the other way and who do not want to recognize the problems of others, who do not represent the interests of others as champions because it is politically more pleasant and easier for them. If we don't have a strong transatlantic alliance that stands up for these interests, then we are not giving our children such a positive future. Our citizens, who decide who is President and who is not, or who is Chancellor and who is not, must remember this.
BK'in Merkel: Regarding the first question: It's really nice when the President of the United States of America says, after eight years of working together, that we worked together well and on friendly terms. I see this as good news and more as encouragement.
Regarding the second question: Fortunately, I know many people, including many politicians, who advocate the same values of democracy, liberal society, open society, respect for human dignity - and there are more than those who I am know. I therefore think that this is a very common struggle to ensure that we preserve these values where we have them and that we work where they do not yet exist to ensure that people live better through these values and with these values can. Well worth the effort. Fortunately, there are still very many who are committed to the same goal.
Thank you very much!
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