Obama warns of changing global politics: We're 'going through this bumpy phase'

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President Barack Obama predicted that global politics in Western democracies like the United States and parts of Europe were in for a rough patch due to changing economies and social media.

"I think our politics everywhere is going to be going through this bumpy phase," Obama said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.

"But as long as we stay true to our democratic principles. As long as elections have integrity, as long as we respect freedom of speech, freedom of religion, as long as there are checks and balances in our government. ... Then I have confidence that over the long term, progress will continue."

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during their press conference at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a private dinner at the famous Adlon hotel in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guido Bergmann/Bundespresseamt/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
US President Barack Obama listens while German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during after their meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on November 17, 2016. US President Barack Obama pays a farewell visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen by some as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 17: A reporter photographs German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama speaking to the media following talks at the Chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. President Obama is on his last trip to Europe and is scheduled to hold talks with Chancellor Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Berlin tomorrow. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 17: German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets U.S. President Barack Obama upon his arrival at the Chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. President Obama is on his last trip to Europe and is scheduled to hold talks with Chancellor Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Berlin tomorrow. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes US President Barack Obama on November 17, 2016 at the Chancellery in Berlin. US President Barack Obama is to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, widely seen as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. On the last leg of his final European tour as president, Obama will underline shared values, try to ease fears about the future of the transatlantic partnership and thank Merkel for her friendship during his two terms, White House officials said. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama is greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon arrival at the chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin. US President Barack Obama pays a farewell visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen by some as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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The president also speculated about the roots of economic and racial anxieties in Western nations which have manifested themselves in major political shakeups like President-elect Donald Trump's upset victory and the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union.

"People are feeling less certain about their identity, less certain about security. They're looking for some means of control," Obama said.

"What that means is that the politics in all of our countries is going to require us to manage technology and global integration and all these demographic shifts in a way that makes people feel more control, gives them more confidence in their future, but does not resort to simplistic answers or divisions of race or tribe, or a crude nationalism."

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Thursday's comments were the latest in a series of cautious warnings Obama has made during his final global trip as president about the swelling rightward shift in many Western democracies.

During a press conference on Tuesday in Greece, Obama called for vigilance in the face of nationalism and xenophobia, which he hinted could have dramatic consequences.

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SPRINGFIELD, IL - FEBRUARY 10: Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (2nd-L) his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (C) and his wife Michelle (R) wave to a crowd gathered on the lawn of the old State Capital Building February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois. Obama announced to the crowd that he would seek the Democratic nomination for President. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and daughter Malia make their way to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama and his family are traveling to Martha's Vineyard, in Massachusetts, for their summer vacation. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: US President Barack Obama dances with his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama as Beyonce sings 'At Last' during the first Inaugural Ball on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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"We are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an 'us' and a 'them,'" Obama said on Tuesday. "And I will never apologize for saying that the future of humanity, the future of the world is going to be defined by what we have in common, [not] those things that separate us and ultimately lead us into conflict."

Trump's nativist rhetoric, restrictivist trade message, and closeness with "alt-right" figures such as newly appointed strategist Steve Bannon, who formerly headed Breitbart News, has signaled for many in the US a political lurch that could change the country's relationship with close allies and immigrants at home.

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U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Obama and Trump discussed a range of domestic and foreign policy topics at the White House during their first meeting since Trump's stunning election victory.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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