Obama Politicizes Submarine Disaster, Discusses ‘Obscene Inequality’ with CNN

Former President Obama spoke to CNN as part of a “defense of democracy” hour-long special on the network, eventually sidetracking to discuss the recent OceanGate submarine disaster, which saw five wealthy patrons go missing and, after a nearly week-long search effort, presumed dead.

Obama implied that the extensive media coverage of the high-profile disappearance resulted from “inequality” and suggested illegal immigrant crises should receive similar coverage.

“Right now, we have 24-hour coverage. And I understand it, of this submarine, the submersible that tragically is right now lost at the bottom of the sea,” the former president said. “At the same time, right here, just off the coast of Greece, we had 700 people dead – 700 migrants who were being smuggled into here.”

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Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the 44th president spoke about the virtues of his administration and how President Biden could follow suit in foreign policy decisions. Specifically discussed was whether the US should conduct foreign policy with “illiberal” countries like India or authoritarian countries like China. Obama indicated in the affirmative but implied that diplomacy would have to see the US become involved in other countries’ domestic political situations.

Discussing how he would conduct diplomacy, he remarked:

I’m less concerned about labels than I’m concerned about specific practices. I think it is important for the president of the United States to say that if you have Uyghurs in China who are being placed in mass camps and “reeducated,” that’s a problem. That’s a challenge to all of us, and we have to pay attention to it. I think it is true that if the president meets with Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a majority Hindu India, that’s something worth mentioning. And, by the way, if I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility India at some point starts pulling apart.”

Obama also took the opportunity to take jabs at the Republican Party and Trump in particular. At one point, Amanpour asked what would happen to “institutional democracy” if Trump wins again in 2024. Perhaps hoping to maintain a semblance of neutrality, he responded,

“The American people are going to have the opportunity to reaffirm their belief in American democracy… when it looks like America’s democracy is teetering or breaking down, then I think it emboldens those who do not believe in democracy around the world, and it worries and weakens democratic forces in other places.”

He would accuse Republicans of “undemocratic” behavior, including gerrymandering and voter intimidation – something Democrats have more or less openly embraced since the end of the Obama presidency.

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Onlookers scoffed at Obama’s hypocritical remarks and politicization of the submarine tragedy. Many pointed out that the illegal immigration crisis in the Mediterranean, which Obama referenced in the interview, was primarily started by the former president following his destabilization of the African country of Libya.

Libya acted as a “wall” preventing many illegal immigrants from entering Europe. The country became a failed state rife with illegal immigrants following the Obama-supported overthrow of its dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

Others pointed to Obama’s constant drone strikes in the Middle East. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that drone strikes killed more than 300 random civilians during his presidency.


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