A Few Things Ill Considered

OT – Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Sorry, I generally like the guy, and I can’t quite yet let go of all my hopes, audacious or not, but Barak Obama has not done anything to deserve that yet.

Comments

  1. #1 abb3w
    October 10, 2009

    Well, aside from peacefully ousting Bush from office….

    There’s apparently a long history for the prize committee to award people during their attempts as encouragement, rather than only after success. The Kissinger example is merely the most notorious.

  2. #2 Art
    October 10, 2009

    Perhaps it is mostly aspirational but we can’t say Obama hasn’t done anything. He canceled the ABM project in Poland and Czechoslovakia. In doing so he went a long was to reengaging both Russia with the US with the international diplomatic negotiations. This may play out in our negotiations with Iran, China and eastern Europe.

    I understand Obama, as part of his denuclearization and control programs has reinvested in the US side of the Russian security and deweaponization program whereby nuclear materials are locked up, diluted and shipped to the US. Bush pulled back on this because Russia was one of the bad guys and, as we all know, you punish bad guys by not talking or cooperating with them.

    Obama has also played a large part in the financial system stabilization program. Begun under W it has stabilized worldwide financial systems. I hasn’t solved the problem or corrected the defects that allowed them but we are no longer in free-fall.

    He is closing Gitmo. Every sane creature should rejoice.

    While he hasn’t reversed the entire policy under W he has gone a long way toward settling the status of hundreds of detainees. Yes, there will still be people in dark holes with little to no legal options. But something like 600 detainees are being released. Pending a place to put them.

    Obama has largely leveled our dialog with China. Instead of the passive-aggressive, love-hate of W we can talk to communists about mutual interests, admit we have become economic enablers of bad policy on both sides, and critique their lack of internal freedoms without it coming across as saber rattling.

    At least under Obama the government scientists can speak openly about the major issues of global warming, habitat destruction, the dangers of corporate farming without finding their job at risk.

    It goes on like that. None of these actions is a major accomplishment in itself. None of them are complete. They are all just first, maybe second, steps toward permanent change and sustained global progress. But all these have effects on an international or global scale. All of them are things that seemed impossible under W.

  3. #3 rx1
    October 10, 2009

    Perhaps it is mostly aspirational but we can’t say Obama hasn’t done anything. He canceled the ABM project in Poland and Czechoslovakia. In doing so he went a long was to reengaging both Russia with the US with the international diplomatic negotiations.

  4. #4 Scott A. Mandia
    October 12, 2009

    I am a huge fan of Obama but I also think this was premature. It is like tipping the waiter before the food is served.

    Of course, after the Bush Administration waved the middle finger at the world for 8 years, Obama must look like Ghandi to them. :)

  5. #5 crakar14
    October 12, 2009

    I admit i dont know a lot about American politics but i do have one question. The applications for the prize closed 12 days after he became president, is that right? If so then what/how did he contribute to world peace before then. After he became president i think he has been more a hindrance to world peace than anything else.

    But then agan they gave one to Al Gore so what do i know.

  6. #6 Milan
    October 13, 2009

    I find the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama rather perplexing, given the short list of actual accomplishments with which it could be justified. He has spoken about nuclear disarmament and a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, as well as of reaching out to states like Iran and North Korea, but he hasn’t really produced a concrete achievement of a scale that justifies the prize. Indeed, he is apparently mulling a major increase in America’s military presence in Afghanistan.

    One unlikely but interesting possibility that sprung to mind is a parallel with the Yes, Minister episode: “The Middle Class Rip Off.” When the civil servants want to stop Jim Hacker from selling an art gallery in order to save a financially troubled football team, they appoint him cabinet minister for the arts. Afterward, it is too embarrassing for him to go through with his original plan. There may be the slightest possibility that the Nobel people were trying to avert a war with Iran by a similar means, as tensions there continue to ratchet.

    Even if Obama’s credentials for the prize seem a bit scanty now, there is some hope that it will drive him to achieve more in the remaining years of his presidency. In particular, I hope it renews the energy of this administration where it comes to driving climate change legislation through Congress, as well as building a strong consensus for action at Copenhagen. After all, in the long run climate change is a massive threat to international peace and security.