Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama's Peace Prize

Obama speaking at the UN last month
Another issue I missed last week was the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to President Obama. I had just come out of an exam when my sister phoned me to ask how I got on. She then told me that President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I reacted the same way as I imagine most people did, "for what". I couldn't believe it. Ok he sent George Mitchell over to the Middle East after his first week in office, this was good. He abandoned the missile defence system in Eastern Europe which as I recently explained here is a good thing. But otherwise he has done nothing. Its hardly enough to merit the prize by itself. Teddy Roosevelt got it in 1906 for negotiating the truce to the war between Russia and Japan. Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919 for his peace making efforts at the Treaty of Versailles. Many are now arguing that to award Obama the prize a mere eight months into his presidency is to cheapen the significance of the award itself. I like Obama but I have to sympathise here with those on the right in the US that claim his popularity in the media and abroad appears to be almost unconditional.

Obamas address to the Muslim world in Cairo last June I think that awarding the prize to Obama was an attempt by those in Oslo to put pressure on Obama to follow through with his rhetoric about a new era of global cooperation as well as his reaching out to the Muslim world policy. I simply can't imagine why else he was awarded the prize. I any event Obama will have to make real progress in the areas of the Arab Israeli peace process, disarming Iran peacefully and reducing the nuclear stock piles if he is to counter concerns among his base at home and his fans around the world that he has still not closed Guantanamo, ended the war in Iraq and has expanded the war in Afghanistan.

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