Outgoing U.S. president reflects on legacy in final press conference

World Today

U.S. President Barack Obama offered up parting words to the nation as he prepares to leave office.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Outgoing U.S. president reflects on legacy in final press conference

Outgoing U.S. president reflects on legacy in final press conference

U.S. President Barack Obama offered up parting words to the nation as he prepares to leave office. CGTN's Jessica Stone reports.

Obama used his final press conference reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

U.S. President Barack Obama ends his presidency with a gesture of mercy-commuting the prison sentence for Army Private Chelsea Manning.

Instead of serving 35 years in prison for releasing American secrets, Chelsea – who was convicted as Bradley Manning – will serve only seven years.

Barack Obama took office promising to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will leave office with the American military still engaged in both countries-and in another, Syria.

Obama promised direct military action by U.S. forces if chemical weapons were used Syria. He never made good on that threat, a disappointment for some regional powers.

Iran wasn’t one of them. Sending U.S. troops to Syria might’ve short-circuited the 2013 agreement to slow Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. Six nations helped get that deal done-including the U.S. and China.

Two years later that many consider another Obama foreign policy triumph.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement – spearheaded by China and the U.S. – was the first comprehensive, global agreement to reduce carbon emissions around the world.

Many believe it would not have been possible without close cooperation between Washington and Beijing. And in 2016, a dramatic thaw on one of the last Cold War frontiers.

Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba-ending a standoff lasting more than 50 years. Another long stalemate soured relations with a close U.S. ally.

Israeli-U.S. relations got a lot more complicated. They were already frayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for more West Bank settlements and Obama’s arguments that the settlements were an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

Obama also strained relations with an old adversary-orchestrating international sanctions against the Kremlin over Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Obama leaves office with Russia-U.S. relations colder than they’ve been for a long time.

Relations with Moscow could improve quickly. While U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia hacked computers to influence the U.S. election, incoming U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to improve ties with Moscow.

Despite his ups and downs, Barack Obama leaves the White House with an approval rating of more than 60 percent. Only three other presidents have had higher ratings. Meantime, Trump’s transition has one of the lowest ratings of any U.S. president coming into office.