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The fact that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise to many, including the U.S. president himself, since he has not accomplished any real achievement that would render him worthy of the prize, let alone the fact that he's only been in office for nine months. In other words, he is still in the process of feeling his way along a path laden with dangerous booby traps, on both a domestic and an international stage.
It was five am when the world got the message. The president of the United States, Barack Obama, had won the Nobel Peace Prize and it was, honestly, a big surprise. An American president winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Mark Halperin, from Time Magazine, said this morning, "It isn't quite as inexplicable as Marisa Tomei's Best Supporting Actress Oscar." Not so, guys!
Newspapers have been talking about his anti-nuclear and anti-armament policies. But what gave the prize to Obama was his support of multilateralism and diplomacy with no arrogance as opposed to the unilateralism that was a mark of the Bush administration. In other words, Obama won the Nobel Prize because he is not George W. Bush.
Is Barack Obama an extraordinary politician? The answer is yes, even after his US popularity ratings have taken a plunge and some weaknesses in style and substance have emerged. Has Obama done enough in 9 months to be declared a confirmed bringer of peace in parts of a violent world? No, and that is understandable, you can’t do that in 9 months. Is Obama’s job as US president necessarily to work for peace—that is, always avoid conflict, or always bring conflicts to an end—to the exclusion of all other national-strategic aims? The answer is no again, even though it might offend those whose undoubted good intentions come at the cost of understanding harsh realities. Questions two and three are just some of the many that indicate why the Nobel committee’s decision to award this year’s Peace Prize to Obama is distinctly odd. You get the distinct feeling that Obama got it because he is not George Bush and he came after George Bush. But are those good enough reasons to award a Nobel Peace Prize? Obama is a ruling politician, not a leader of a non-government peace movement, and ruling politicians should be judged by their work, not by the emotions engendered by their predecessor.
The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.
Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
A gasp went through both the Nobel Institute hall and the offices of Dagsavisen when Torbjørn Jagland said the words “Barack Obama.” The name was mentioned in speculation, but few had believed that the Nobel committee would award the prize to the still-fresh president of the United States.
There are certainly arguments for this award. He is undoubtedly the person who has, on a rhetorical level, done the most to create hope for peace and cooperation around the world this last year. Jagland mentioned in particular the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Obama recently gathered the leaders of all the veto powers in the Security Council to adopt a resolution of a nuclear weapon-free world.
An important symbolic resolution. But just that — a symbol, not real policy. Ronald Reagan had the same vision, but did not receive a peace prize. Obama probably has bigger opportunities to cut the world’s nuclear arsenal than Reagan had. But still not one missile has been removed. Obama has decided not to build missile shields in the Czech Republic and Poland, but a shield will be deployed from ships, and later on the ground in Europe.
One possibility is that this award will remain standing as being forward-looking, like Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said. But it will be interesting to see how the award will look when Obama makes decisions that may not look so good in relation to the will of Nobel. And there could be many:
- Like sending tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan, which might happen within a few weeks.
- Like arriving at the climate summit in Copenhagen in December without American legislation to support him, and therefore getting a lot of the blame for the failure of the historic climate treaty the world needs. That is a very likely scenario.
- Like admitting that the prison camp at Guantanamo will not be closed January 1st like he promised on his second day as president. Obama’s advisers have already sounded the alarms about that one.
- Or like taking an even more reclusive role in the faltering work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That could happen quickly, too. Two weeks ago, Obama tried to pressure Israel into committing itself to stop building settlements. He failed completely. Netanyahu said no. And the prospects for a credible peace process in the Middle East are worse than they have been in a long time.
The Nobel Peace Prize can give Obama’s work more momentum. But one cannot deny that it will be more of a problem when facing domestic opposition and opinion.
This is without a doubt a very bold award. It could prove to be forward-looking. But it could also be difficult to defend in the months ahead.
Obama got his for having reasonable idea's about how the world should get along.
Al Gore got his for lying his ass off, and then earning tens of millions off theose lies.
Originally posted by IceHappy
reply to post by grover
I am confused since Obama has not, as promised, brought our boys home from either war and who do not know what peace is and many of them will die or be crippled in mind, spirit, and body before these two wars are over!
Sort of takes away some of the shine to the award and slightly lessens past recipients achievements who actually had done some good to the world to win this award.... IMHO that is.....
Truly I am an American living outside of the US and very confused.
Stars and Flags for asking the much needed question....