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Obama's conciliatory trip to reassure nobody

Updated: 11 16 , 2016 14:54
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BEIJING, Nov. 15 -- U.S. President Barack Obama's last overseas visit while in office, which became a last-minute conciliatory trip after Donald Trump's victory in the presidential elections, will in the end reassure nobody.

Obama on Monday started the trip, which will take him to Greece, Germanyand Peru, amid concerns that Trump's election will change U.S. foreign policy and affect U.S. strategic relations with its allies and partners around the world.

The three-nation trip, during which Obama is expected to discuss regional and global issues with European leaders and attend a summit of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), was planned when his Democratic colleague Hillary Clintonseemed to be winning the race to the White House.

Obama, who criticized Trump during the general elections for lacking "basic knowledge" about critical issues in Europe, Asia and the Mideast, now is ironically convincing U.S. allies and partners that his successor will not behave as he predicted and America will maintain its core interests in the globe.

The inconsistency between his words before and after the presidential elections reflects the looming uncertainty of relations between the United Statesand its European allies, making his final trip not so reassuring as expected.

In Europe, U.S. allies were alarmed by Trump's rhetoric during his presidential campaign suggesting the United States might pull out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if other NATO members do not pay more and withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

However, frankly speaking, Obama is not the right choice to disperse the anxieties of U.S. allies over the possible changes, given his role as an outgoing president who has limited influence on the incoming administration.

Meanwhile, the deep strategic concern among those countries also mirrors a growing decay of Washington's leadership in global affairs.

The victory of Trump, who swore to "make America great again" and has been supported by nationalists and skeptics of globalization, reflects an increasing trend of isolation in U.S. society.

The trend had granted Trump firm support in the presidential race against Hillary and now it will greatly influence the foreign policy of his administration, making his allies more insecure and fretful.

Against such a backdrop, Obama's conciliatory overseas trip is doomed to be fruitless, and will only intensify the strategic uncertainty of the U.S. allies, instead of reassuring them.

by Xinhua writer Chen Shilei

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