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President Obama has spent 8 long years in the White House (2009-2016). He has the dubious honor of having been the longest wartime US President. When he came into office he promised Americans and the world a ‘stand for change’, unfortunately for Americans tired of Bush’s war engagement policies, the country remained protracted in wars.

What President Obama had to say on some key issues in his final press conference of 2016:

  1. On Russian Interference in US Elections

There was no ambiguity, in his mind, that the Russians were involved in hacking Democratic National Committees emails and that the authority for doing this went straight to Vladimir Putin himself. He encouraged the need for an investigation on the issue, which would review all elements of this cyber-attack, to ensure that there was no foreign influence in future US elections. He urged both parties, in particular, the Republicans, to view this as a bi-partisan issue and to ensure political integrity of the system. He warned that this should not become a political football game.

  1. Obama’s view on Russia

President Obama made the point that US relations with Russia had sadly deteriorated past couple of years. He mentioned Russians were of little significance and Mr Putin could only weaken the US if he caused Americans to abandon their values. He derided them as “they cannot significantly change us, they are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, that doesn’t produce anything that anyone wants except oil, gas and arms. They don’t innovate.” He expressed shock and dismay over the recent poll that showed that 37 percent of Republicans approved of Putin and mentioned “Ronald Reagan would be turning in his grave”

  1. Responsibility of the Presidency

“I ask myself every day is there something I can do that will save lives and make a difference” I feel responsible when kids are being shot by snipers and millions of people are being displaced.

“I ask myself every single day, is there something I can do that will save lives and make a difference?” —@POTUS https://t.co/RjVWXmexGP

  1. On his strategy on Syria

He claimed that the current US strategy evolved over hundreds of meetings with civil, military, diplomatic experts over weeks and months. It was the only course to end the civil war, whilst also taking into account US national security interests.

“short of putting large amounts of uninvited US troops on the ground without any mandate from international law or support from Congress”

He went on to explain that during this period, US had troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country was tired of engaging in further foreign engagements having gone through a decade of war and spent trillions of dollars.

At the same time, the US was working [in Syria], on ground with a disjointed opposition, while, facing a military superpower [Russia], who was prepared to do whatever necessary to keep its client government [Bashar Al Assad] in power. In addition, Iran, another regional military power, saw its strategic interests at stake and was willing to send its proxies to support the Syrian government. He ended by saying it was clear unless we went all-in, there would be problems.

  1. American position on horrors in Aleppo

Obama sympathized with the innocent people suffering in Syria and said the US government had tried for years to alleviate people’s suffering there. He stated that the world was united it its horror, at the savage assault of the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies actions in Aleppo. They had undertaken a deliberate strategy of surrounding, besieging and storming to kill and execute innocent civilians. Bashar al Assad had blood and horrific violations of international law on his hands. US will work in the UN assembly to ensure that he cannot slaughter his way to legitimacy and will continue to press for a transition to a more representative government.

  1. US Progress on domestic front

The president very proudly acclaimed all his domestic achievements during his time in office.

“Economy is undoubtedly more durable than in days when we relied on oil from unstable nations and banks that took risky bets with your money”

He ran through the statistics on unemployment improving from 10% to 4.6%, over 90% Americans now have health coverage, reduced country’s dependence on foreign oil by 50 percent, doubled the production of renewable energy.

However, above everything else what stood out in this last press conference on 2016 and what really is the key to making America a true democracy can be seen in the tweet below, The President of the United States of America thanking the citizens of his country for their hard work and sacrifices all which jointly make the US stronger.

“It’s thanks to the American people – to the hard work you’ve put in; the sacrifices you’ve made for your families and communities” —@POTUS

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