The world’s problems cannot be solved with battle tanks and warplanes, former U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday, referring to the rhetoric between his successor and the leader of North Korea.
Obama's remarks were made at a global citizenship forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“North Korea is a threat that must be confronted by a strong alliance,” he said as he emphasized the importance of diplomacy above military force to deal with the government in Pyongyang.
Current U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un have traded threats following Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests and subsequent sanctions by the international community.
During his time in the White House, Obama said, the main threat to global peace was Iran, a country with which he signed a nuclear arms agreement to ensure Tehran would not become a threat as North Korea is currently.
“We negotiated with a country very different to the US. Albeit that I believed it was necessary to guarantee that they would not develop nuclear weapons”, said the former president.
Iran, the U.S. and other world powers signed the deal in July 2015 that allowed sanctions to be eased on the Islamic Republic in exchange for severe restrictions on that country’s nuclear program.
Obama switched gears to populist movements taking root in some places and called it a dangerous situation while highlighting democracy as a better form of government.
He criticized nationalism, closing borders to immigrants, climate change deniers and the lack of press freedom. “It´s dangerous for governments to start censoring or restricting media and the Internet,” he added in what could be construed as an attack on the Trump administration.
Obama stressed the importance of minorities and policies that strive for equality for a nation’s economic success.
“Saying that changes threaten employment is fostering panic and taking up positions based on a nationalist ideology, on racial solidarity or xenophobia. Our aim is guaranteeing that all people can be successful in the new economy,” according to Obama.
He said he failed as president to close the political gaps in the U.S. “I tried to be a calm person, but when I left the office I saw how my initial hope to see all people united above their differences had vanished,” he said.
The former U.S. president will visit the Argentinian city of Cordoba on Friday to attend the Green Economy Summit.