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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The upcoming presidential election is a critical moment for our country

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The upcoming US presidential elections are important not only for America, but also for the whole world – said Valerie Jarrett, who served as a senior advisor to US President Barack Obama for 8 years, in an interview with Michał Sznajder. “This is probably the most important election of our lifetimes and the stakes are rising,” added the Obama Foundation CEO.

Michał Sznajder, “Fakty o Świecie” TVN24 BiS: Yours and my guest is Valerie Jarrett. She was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama when he was president of the United States. Mrs. Jarrett, welcome.

Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to US President Barack Obama: I am delighted to be your guest.

Michał Sznajder: This is an extremely important year for the United States, the year of the presidential elections. What are your reflections?

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Valerie Jarrett: (Elections – editor's note) are very important for America, but also important for the world. These are arguably the most important choices of our lives and the stakes are rising. This is a critical moment for our country and a lot depends on it. I think our democracy has been in turmoil. I think we need to get back on track, just like President Biden did. His presence on the world stage also signals that America is back, that it can still be an important leader in these difficult times.

MS: When we look at the public opinion results, do they worry you?

VJ: The real opinion polls come election day, and I think that's going to be the most important thing. People care about being able to live well, have a job, send their children to school, and be able to retire. A lot will depend on the election day. What will happen on Labor Day in September will be important. Then these sentiments will be more crucial.

READ ALSO: Donald Trump agreed to a debate with Joe Biden

MS: From the outside looking in, several phenomena are interesting. You talk about the international arena and America's presence there, but it seems that those who support Donald Trump do not pay attention to the international arena. Let's look at what happened in the House of Representatives in Congress. There was a bit of talk about America, but the main thread of the debates was “our border, we have to defend it.” Most people seem to focus on things that are not global in nature.

VJ: Let us remember that in the end, Congress made the right decision and passed support for Ukraine. There is a lot of chaos in democracy, people have different views, but in the end good decisions are made and it was a very important signal to the world. People, of course, focus on what is happening in their lives. Not everyone can think about how America is doing on the international stage, but the important thing is that the president understands it and that's why this election is so important.

MS: Are you concerned about this waste of time?

VJ: Yes, the waste of time was huge. I said there's a lot of chaos in democracy, but ultimately it comes down to whether you make the right decision, and that decision was made. And it says clearly where America stands, who it supports, it supports Ukraine, it supports Europe, and it signals to the world that the world can rely on America. Sometimes it takes a long time, but in the end we do the right thing.

MS: We don't know what the results of the presidential elections will be. I remember that a few days ago, former President Trump, who may return to the White House, recalled how he told Putin: you can do whatever you want. Do you remember this statement?

VJ: Yes, and this is an example of the contrast between President Biden, who supports Ukraine, who says that Russia must be stopped, and on the other hand, Trump's terrible message, saying that Russia can do whatever it wants. So this is the choice before people,

“People care about being able to live well and have a job”Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

MS: Do you worry that people will think, at least some of them, “what Trump says makes some sense, the world has its problems, but we have our problems. Let's elect someone who will focus on solving our problems”? This is important to people.

VJ: For some people, yes, but most people, for example those who have their own businesses, know that they are connected to the global market. Technology makes the world united. What happens somewhere in the world affects us. Such a butterfly effect. That's why we need to educate people to appreciate what's at stake and why it's so important that America supports Ukraine, not just for Ukrainians, but for the entire world.

MS: That's a very strong argument. And what can you say about the concerns of Europeans who listen to Donald Trump's statements, or those who support him and think, “America is our ally, we helped America when America needed it. But can we count unconditionally on America's support, referring to to Trump's words that Putin can do whatever he wants”?

VJ: Of course, this should worry them. Whether America will support them unconditionally depends on America's leadership. And that's why these elections are so important.

It is also important that America understands this principle of reciprocity. We cannot expect support from others if we do not want to support them ourselves. This should be consistent with our democratic values.

MS: No matter who is in the White House, there is always this kind of Western unity. Regardless of who sits in the White House. There is such agreement between Berlin, Paris, Washington and Warsaw on important issues.

VJ: Yes, and that's how it should be. This is a real alliance, we count on each other. And that's why President Biden should be supported.

Technology makes the world united

“Technology makes the world united”Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

MS: Can you imagine a world where this isn't the case? Where will this change?

VJ: No, it won't be like that if Joe Biden is president.

MS: Considering what is happening in this part of the world, what is your opinion about the Russian invasion in Ukraine? It's been going on for so long. Such a huge effort is needed. Ukrainians are fighting heroically.

VJ: Yes it's true. I think most people are surprised that this war has gone on for so long. And I think that proves how important determination is. Just like Ukrainians, they are determined. Allies should also support them with determination. But we will support them as long as it takes.

MS: What can you say about Poland? President Biden visited Poland twice in quick succession. He talked a lot about Poles supporting Ukraine. What is said about Poles in the USA?

VJ: I was here last year. I talked to our ambassador, Marek Brzezinski, and he said that he was going to the border and that there were so many people who wanted to help Ukrainian citizens and refugees. Because Poles know how it is. And I won't forget that. This shows how Poland evaluates what is happening in Ukraine. And how ready it is to support Ukraine.

Valerie Jarrett on support for Ukraine

Valerie Jarrett on support for UkraineFacts about the World TVN24 BiS

MS: You advised Barack Obama. Now you work for the Obama Foundation. You focus on various threats to democracy. What is the biggest threat today?

VJ: There are several of them. We focus on the problems of disinformation. People have to rely on institutions, on the information that is given to them, because there is so much misinformation that is circulating. It's so easy to spread wrong news. Wrong facts. This is important for businesses, people and governments.

We see the divisions between the poor and the rich growing. Many people ask themselves whether democracy actually works. That's why we need to focus on how to create opportunities for people.

This year we are focusing on pluralism. In America we have different views. We talked about this at the beginning of our conversation. We must listen to each other and look for what is common. We are, after all, the United States. Let us remember not to threaten our democracy.

SEE ALSO: One interview, three presidents. Clinton talked about the elections in Poland

MS: My last question. You held an important position for 8 years during the presidency of Barack Obama. Are you missing this?

VJ: I was lucky to be there for those 8 years. It was difficult, there was a lot of stress. I was afraid I was making mistakes. I was worried about what unexpected thing would happen again. How should politics actually be conducted? That's a long period of time.

And now at the foundation I try to support this next generation of leaders. There are programs in Europe, in Africa, we carry out various activities in the USA, in Colombia, at the University of Chicago.

Everyone who wants to change the world and be a force for good can use these instruments. I don't want to go back, I want to move forward.

Entire interview with Valerie Jarrett

Entire interview with Valerie JarrettFacts about the World TVN24 BiS

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: TVN24

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