Mayors from the US Canada Mexico, France and Tanzania came together to make commitments to fight against climate change.
Mayors from the US Canada Mexico, France and Tanzania came together to make commitments to fight against climate change. EPA - TANNEN MAURY

Obama’s warning in rare speech

FORMER US President Barack Obama said the country's democracy is under threat and is as fragile as Germany's was in the lead-up to the Nazis taking power.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Economic Club of Chicago, Mr Obama warned against voter complacency.

"We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly," he said in the speech, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

"That's what happened in Germany in the 1930s which, despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolf Hitler rose to dominate.

"Sixty million people died," he added. "So, you've got to pay attention. And vote."

Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933 after rising through the democratic ranks of the Reichstag.

Hitler’s rise is seen as a dramatic failing of democracy in the Weimar Republic
Hitler’s rise is seen as a dramatic failing of democracy in the Weimar Republic

Obama did not mention Donald Trump by name in the speech. However, the US President has been widely accused of fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment across the US - particularly after he circulated videos from a British far-right grou p last week.

Politicians from the UK roundly condemned him for the move and Germany's top diplomat announced yesterday that the country no longer sees the United States as the ally is once was.

The former president also spoke of the importance of the US's role in international development.

"Things don't happen internationally if we don't put our shoulder to the wheel," he said.

"No other country has the experience and bandwidth and ideals ... If the US doesn't do it, it's not going to happen."

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Deutsche Welle the West is losing influence in the world because of Mr Trump's leadership.

"The US no longer sees the world as a global community, but as a fighting arena where everyone has to seek their own advantage," Gabriel told the paper.

"Germany can no longer simply react to US policy but must establish its own position … even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the US will never be the same."

The president has also been accused of being "reckless" after he officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared his intention to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Some were quick to point out the irony of the Nazi Germany comparisons so soon after the announcement - which is seen as a sign of Mr Trump's support for Israel.

His fans reacted angrily on Twitter.

Speaking in an panel piece Fox News commentator Jesse Watters said he thought Mr Obama was "better than this".

"To compare his successor to Adolf Hitler is horrible," he said. "It's demeaning and beneath him.

"I thought he was better than this, I guess I was wrong. I'm not often wrong but I guess I am.

"He is as bitter as the bitter clingers he smeared in 2008 and there's a reason he's so bad - it's because his legacy is being dismembered limb from limb. I understand why he's angry but that's a horrific comparison."



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