Friday, October 9, 2009

Pres. Obama - 2009 Nobel Laureate for Peace

President Obama was elected the first African American President, selected Time Magazine person of the year in 2008 and is now a 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate. When the announcement was made the reporters assembled sucked the air out of the room with one collective gasp. He is only the third sitting U.S. president to win the prize for peace (preceded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919, picture above). He was awarded the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." In other words, for using the novel practice of talking first and shooting later.

I'll be the first to admit that is sounds a little premature. I mean, its not like peace has been declared between Palestine and Israel. But the web is full of people who say that President Obama hasn't done anything to merit the the honor. And that's not exactly true either. I've learned that he was elected twelve days before the deadline for submissions to the committee. So he was considered due to his potential to create peace instead of a particular act. That potential was made manifest in several ways. Due in part to his leadership, the world avoided a global economic depression. President Obama began a withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. He gave a major speech offering an olive branch to Muslims and Arabs in Egypt. He closed Guantanamo Bay. Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in peace talks again. The U.S. is once again engaged in diplomatic relations with North Korea and Iran. He is considering a new strategy in Afghanistan. He has turned away from the eight years of the U.S.
"go-it-alone strategy" that was headed toward universal catastrophe.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not like the other Nobel Prizes for science and literature. The other awards are given for completed work. The peace prize can be given to people involved in the process of resolving a conflict or creating peace. On those grounds, people who suggest the president hasn't done anything to deserve the honor are plainly wrong. Turning a large ship around takes time. President Obama has set out to turn the Ship of State around and that can not be done in an instant. But the direction in which President Obama is trying to move the country, indeed the world, has as its destination a place of lasting peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment