President Barack Obama believes there will ultimately be an end to oppressive governments.
In a Vox interview published Monday, Obama argued the internet fundamentally changed the “model” that dictatorships used to employ.
“I am a firm believer that particularly in this modern internet age, the capacity of the old-style authoritarian government to sustain itself and to thrive just is going to continue to weaken. It’s going to continue to crumble that model,” Obama said.
Obama was responding to a question about America’s close partnership with a number of countries that have horrible records on human rights. Saudi Arabia, for example, is a US economic and military ally, yet executes prisoners via public beheadings and cracks down on freedom of speech.
The president admitted the US sometimes has to “mute” its criticism in order to accomplish other objectives.
“I think any realist worth their salt would say that any society that consistently ignores human rights and the dignity of its citizens at some point is going to be unstable and not a great partner,” Obama said. “Now, the fact that we have to make real-time decisions about who are we partnering with and how perfectly are they abiding by our ideals, and are there times where we’ve got to mute some of our criticism to get some stuff done, are there times where we have an opportunity to press forward.”
Obama also contended the “trajectory of this planet overall is one toward less violence, more tolerance, less strife, less poverty.” That doesn’t mean, he insisted, he’s naïve about the world’s problems.
“I’ve said this before and I think some folks in Washington were like, ‘Oh, he’s ignoring the chaos of all the terrible stuff that’s happening,'” he said. “Of course, I’m not ignoring it. I’m dealing with it every day. That’s what I wake up to each morning. I get a thick book full of death, destruction, strife, and chaos. That’s what I take with my morning tea.”