October 9, 2009

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

When I heard this today my first question was: For what? Certainly the Nobel people who make the award have a right to select whomever they choose. But what has this man accomplished? What has he actually done beyond making speeches that qualifies him for this prestigious award?

Or is the award not prestigious at all? Perhaps it's purely political. I will now search out the text of the rationale for the award to our newly elected President. However, my initial reaction is hopeful that the Nobel prizes in other fields are more richly deserved by the recipients than this one.

The following is the text of the official announcement that US President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.

The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics.

Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.

Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.

The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations.

Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting.

Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future.

His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman.

The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges"."

This Nobel spokesman is peppered with questions
<> as he defends the award. It's obvious from the nature of these questions that many journalists believe the award was very unusual, if not ill-advised.

The Wall Street Journal has this to say:

"The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama yesterday was greeted with astonishment as much as any other emotion, even among many of his admirers. Our own reaction is bemusement at the Norwegian decision to offer what amounts to the world's first futures prize in diplomacy, with the Nobel Committee anticipating the heroic concessions that it believes Mr. Obama will make to secure treaties that will produce a new era of global serenity.

Maybe he really is The One."

The New York Times Leads its editorial with:

"President Obama responded to the news of his Nobel Peace Prize the right way. He said he was humbled, acknowledged that the efforts for which he was honored are only beginning and pledged to see them through, not on his own but in concert with other nations. There cannot have been unbridled joy in the White House early Friday. Mr. Obama’s aides had to expect a barrage of churlish reaction, and they got it. The left denounced the Nobel committee for giving the prize to a wartime president. The right proclaimed that Mr. Obama sold out the United States by engaging in diplomacy."

In my opinion, it's a travesty and he should have refused to accept it to demonstrate that he may have a streak of humility rather than be consumed with narcissism. If his vision of hope for change has substance, the Nobel peace prize could well have been awarded in the years ahead.
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