U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for the gala dinner during the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 7, 2016. © Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
President Barack Obama says Americans are so uninterested in the rest of the world because they are “lazy” and don’t feel like knowing about “other people.” His remarks have not gone unnoticed at home, where angered Americans suggested he stay abroad.
“[…] We are such a big country we haven’t always had to know about other parts of the world,” Obama told a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) town hall. “If you are in Laos, you need to know about Thailand and China and Cambodia, because you are a small country and they are right next door and you need to know who they are.”
“If you are in the United States,” Obama continued, “sometimes you can feel lazy and think, ‘You know we are so big we don’t have to really know anything about other people.’”
“That’s part of what I’m trying to change,” Obama added.
At the same time, Obama did not forget to flatter Laotians. After calling Americans “lazy” twice, once in reference to acting on climate change, he said that Laos has the “youngest population” and the fastest growing economy, which Americans could in fact learn from.
“If we are not here interacting and learning from you, and understanding the culture of the region, then we will be left behind,” Obama said. “We will miss an opportunity, and I don't want that to happen. Okay?”
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