Friday, October 09, 2009

President Barack Obama Awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

From CNN:
Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a stunning decision that comes just eight months into his presidency.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.

The president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.

The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

"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," the committee said.

Jagland said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.

He rejected the notion that Obama had been recognized prematurely for his efforts and said the committee wanted to promote the president just it had Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 in his efforts to open up the Soviet Union.

"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," it said.

Obama's recognition comes less than a year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. He is the fourth U.S. president to win the prestigious prize and the third sitting president to do so.

Rest of article at link above.


The Angry Independent said...

I have a mixed response on this. To those who don't understand International affairs/politics, or who have a very limited understanding... it sounds great.


On the merits, to put it plainly and truthfully.... he doesn't really deserve the prize. The fact is, he hasn't done anything yet to warrant the award.

1. The U.S. is still in two wars, and could enter another conflict with Iran (a much larger conflict) within the next 18 months to two years.

2. The Obama foreign policy team has no doves or modern foreign policy thinkers in any position of authority who can influence policy. His National Security Council and diplomatic teams are made up of mostly Centrist Democrats (Traditional Truman Doctrine/Domino theory thinkers....old thinkers), and moderate Republicans.... They lean much more towards pro-war thinking, than pro-peace. If he were a "pro-Peace" or dove President, he would have reached out to the many scholars who have a more progressive, less confrontational foreign policy orientation. He didn't do that when he came into office. That spoke volumes.

3. The U.S. has not made any significant changes in terms of its NATO policy. The U.S. still has an expansionist view when it comes to the future of NATO. Obama recently decided to scrap the missile system in Eastern Europe...but this was only a step in the right direction and may have only been temporary. He left the door open for future missile systems that would be more robust/fixed sites. The ship based idea (which I was writing about 2 years ago) was a good decision.

4. The Obama Administration is still very active when it comes to meddling in the former Soviet Union. This will be a future source of contention between the U.S. and Russia. In fact, there is a Cold War in full throttle in Georgia right now... just as intense (possibly much more intense) than East and West Germany in the 1970's and 80's.

5. This Administration continues to take a biased position when it comes to Israel...even failing to recognize the UN report on abuses by the Israeli's. It continues to provide protection for Israel in the UN, even when criticism of Israel is warranted.
The U.S. under Obama is still not viewed as a more even handed intermediary in the Middle East (or anywhere else for that matter).

6. The Obama Administration, particular the foreign policy team, is still clinging to old Truman Doctrine ideas about the World and how the World should look.... outdated ideas of global hegemony, where the U.S. uses its military might to get its way. Truman Doctrine/Domino Theory thinkers dominate Obama's foreign policy team. There has not been a clean break from U.S. foreign policy of the last 50+ years. There have been a few changes....but these changes have been done under the same foreign policy framework and orientation that the U.S. has had for the past 6 decades. There are always a few changes when there is a new political Party in the White House. But there has been no clean break from the past...or fundamental change in how the U.S. sees itself in the World, or how we will approach international affairs in the future. War/conflict/tension/meddling/the use of the military to project U.S. power...are all still part of the main course.

The Angry Independent said...

Despite the rhetoric to the contrary...there are few differences between Democrat and Republican Administrations when it comes to foreign policy. Most of the perceived differences are cosmetic.

With that said....

The Nobel Committee may have been up to something here. This cloud may have a silver lining.

This award may have been a way for Europe to influence Obama and his foreign policy in a positive way. This prize will provide a sort of shadow conscience for any major decision that he will make from here on out. He may be more reluctant to do anything that might challenge his new found position as a Nobel Peace Laureate. It may provide some sort of moderating effect on his policy-making. And to me... that is a good thing.

It will also likely give other Nobel Peace prize winners more open access to the President....again... a moderating effect... constantly reminding him of his new position...and the responsibilities that they believe it brings.

So although I question whether others more deserving should have been recognized.... I am also o.k. with the fact that he got it.

Now hopefully he will go out and do something good with it.... as President. Although I don't believe this will change the Traditional Centrist Democrat orientation or his foreign policy team, unfortunately. He has surrounded himself with pro-war advisers...and that will continue to be a problem for the U.S.