In Depth

Barack Obama begins five-day global tour

Obama dubbed ‘shadow president’ as he lines up meetings with Chinese President Xi and Indian PM

Barack Obama has arrived in China for the first in a series of international speeches and meetings with world leaders which have led some to dub him the “shadow president”.

The former president touched down in Shanghai yesterday for the first leg of the five-day tour, which will combine paid speeches with meetings

In Beijing, Obama will meet President Xi Jinping, just three weeks after President Trump met the Chinese premier at the conclusion of his own tour of Asia.

Obama will then travel to India, where he is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, five months after the Indian PM met President Trump on a visit to the US.

In past meetings, “Modi and Obama struck up a warm rapport,” and the years of the Obama administration saw a deepening of defence and trade ties between their nations, says Time.

However, this time their meeting will be philanthropic rather than political. The pair will attend an Obama Foundation event, where Obama is to address an audience of young Indian leaders.

Obama will end his tour with a stop in Paris, where he is scheduled to speak at another Obama Foundation leadership event. “Aides didn't rule out the possibility that he could also see President Emmanuel Macron,” says The Quint.

Although Obama is now a private citizen, “many foreign countries are still uncertain about Mr Trump's foreign policy and may look to his predecessor to help explain America's current direction,” says CBS.

The move has ruffled some feathers in conservative circles. Obama’s detractors criticised him for visiting three key US allies so soon after President Trump’s own visits, accusing Obama of trying to act as “shadow president”.

However, for Americans none too pleased with their current commander-in-chief and his unique brand of “Trumplomacy”, Obama’s return to the world stage was a nostalgic reminder of days past.

Some hoped that the former president - whose tenure saw the US grow in global esteem, which has since dropped under Trump - could help mend bridges with the country’s allies.

While others just wanted to turn back time:

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