Former President Obama joins University of Chicago discussion on disinformation

Liz Nagy Image
Thursday, April 7, 2022
President Obama joins U of C discussion on disinformation
Former President Barack Obama was in Chicago today for a University of Chicago discussion on disinformation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Back on his pre-presidential territory, former President Obama returned to the University of Chicago campus.

Before joining a conversation about how much has changed in the county he once led, Obama met with his foundation's scholars in person in a three day conference focused on the disinformation's effect on democracy.

Top on the president's mind is the grinding war in Ukraine.

"What we're seeing is that toxic mix in the hands of an autocratic government that doesn't have checks and balances," he said.

The subject is familiar to the 44th president. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern portions of Ukrainian territory during his second term.

"As someone who grappled with incursion of Crimea, I have been encouraged by European reaction. I often had to drag them kicking and screaming," Obama said.

With the benefit of hindsight and a personal history with Vladimir Putin, the former president said the Russian invasion should serve as a warning to democracies around the world.

"What's happening there is not isolated. It's reversion back to old ways of thinking about power and place and identity," he warned.