A week ago, the world was surprised to discover that President Obama was chosen as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner. The announcement was met with both praise and criticism, from those who touted the President’s diplomatic achievement of changing the tone in communications between the US and other nations, and for those who felt that the President was being awarded for doing nothing. The debate over his selection continued on the internet, with our community of bloggers adding their own two-cents on the issue. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
Connecting.the.Dots: ”The Nobel Peace Prize for Barack Obama comes as a stunning reminder for those who elected him less than a year ago of what they expected when they put him in the White House. As the President faces another embattled day of economic and foreign policy conflict, amid falling approval ratings, a voice of universal moral authority can be heard as a rebuke to Americans who are forgetting what he represents.”
The New Clarion: “I thought it was a joke in The Onion this morning when I read the headline, “Obama Wins 2009 Peace Prize.” For what? He has been in office for nine months and before that was a one-term United States senator. What could he have possibly accomplished so soon that merits such an award? The answer is: nothing.”
QandO: “I can only hope this is Obamamania cresting – the man has accomplished nothing in the 9 months he’s been in office and he’s given a Nobel Peace Prize for a fantasy project? If you think his narcissism is dangerous now, just wait.”
The First Door on the Left: “The Republicans, of course, are quite upset over this. It would seem to me that the president of your country being honored in such a manner would be a source of pride and a cause for celebration, but not for our Republicans. They are so full of hatred and bitterness right now that I believe their hatred has actually spilled over to include the country they claimed to so love just one short year ago.”
The Fireside Post: “Some are saying the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama is a direct affront to the Bush Administration. That may well be so. Consider the mood, the temperament, the vision of the future defined by George Bush and Dick Cheney. The future as defined by Bush/Cheney was one of unilateral military power to force the Bush/Cheney will on other peoples. The definition of America as a country using brute force to dictate international policy brought despair and fear to the world. Obama’s definition of America as a country working in harmony with others to bring peace to the world brings hope and optimism.”
In my view, I think the award was premature. The “hope” for what an Obama Presidency might bring does not equal the actions taken by those already who did bring about an increased level of security and improving the world. One such organization is the Cluster Munitions Coalition. They have convinced over 100 nations to sign a treaty banning cluster bombs as well as actively worked towards clearing cluster bombs and land mines from war-torn regions of the world, where children continue to be hurt and killed by the hidden dangers.
But given that Obama was honored with this award, we should be proud that someone from our nation was selected for this award, especially the President. Of the billions of the people in the world, millions of whom have good hearts and intentions, only one could be selected. With the award comes responsibility, however, and it is up to the President to his best to promote peace around the world. This doesn’t mean that we now have to put down our arms and remove our troops, but to ensure that people to not oppress the weak or abuse their positions of power.
My hope is that Obama reviews the positions of his peers who were also nominated for the award and support them as practical. Maybe we can endow $1 Million to the Cluster Munitions Coalition, for example, to show that we (as a nation) are deserving of the responsibility associated with the prize. Or maybe we can supply more troops to Afghanistan to protect the civilian population while the Afghan Army is strong enough and large enough to defend the nation from those terroristic forces that would want to dominate them and subvert their new-found freedoms. The President has two more years to carry out this responsibility before he is tied up with campaigning for re-election. I hope that he does.