Obama says world should resist cynicism over rise of strongmen

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg

While Obama didn't directly name his successor President Donald Trump, he countered many of his policies implicitly by talking about the values Mandela advocated including acceptance and diversity, the right to education for all and the sanctity of truth and democracy.

"Given the unusual and uncertain times we are in, each day's news cycles brings more head-spinning and disturbing headlines, I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and get some perspective", Obama said at the start of his speech.

While President, Obama formed an accord created to reduce industrial espionage between China and the US, which was maintained by Trump's administration in 2017.

His speech will coincide with events to mark 100 years since the birth of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95.

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"Given the odd and uncertain times that we are in".

"You have to believe in facts", said Mr Obama, "without facts there is no basis for co-operation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it's going to be hard for us to cooperate". If you start (by) saying it is an elaborate hoax. where do we start?

"Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying, they'd be like, 'Aw, man.' Now they just keep on lying", Obama said.

In his trademark, soaring rhetoric, a campaign-style President Barack Obama delivered a speech at a Nelson Mandela anniversary event Tuesday that urged faith, tolerance and a turn from cynicism in these "strange and uncertain times".

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Mandela led the fight against white minority rule in South Africa. I know, I promise.

Some of Mr Obama's language echoed that of Trump's critics.

"We are very pleased that this enables us to tell the complete Madiba story as it includes scenes of his childhood in the Transkei; being sent to live with the Tembu Regent, Jongintaba; his move to Johannesburg and experiencing the vibrance of Sophiatown and its destruction, and his internship with the Johannesburg law firm, Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman and many other watershed moments in his life". "It is in part because of the failures of governments and powerful elites to squarely address the shortcomings and contradictions of this worldwide order that we now see much of the world threatening to return to an older, a more unsafe, a more brutal way of doing business".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela (2nd R), visit the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition in London.

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On Wednesday, while speaking to leaders of the Obama Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Obama got real about the recent behavior of powerful men, admitting he's straight-up annoyed. "The man went to prison for nearly three decades".

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