Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize for ... Election Campaign??

John Nichols at The Nation thinks so.

Obama's Campaign Merits a Peace Prize (John Nichols, 10/10/09 The Nation)

Mr. Nichols starts the article by saying how he is not satisfied with President Obama's policies and actions since he took office. But then,

"So why not join the chorus of critics on the right and the left who object to the Nobel committee's decision to award a freshman president what remains the most important international recognition of individual accomplishment?

"Because, much as I might like to pen a piece with a snappy headline like Guardian writer Michael White's "I Hope Nobel Members Feel Pleased With Themselves, The Smug Idiots," I can't."

Why not? The answer is given in the second half of the article:

"I may have plenty of complaints about the man and his presidency. But I believe that Barack Obama did something that merits his selection as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

"I am not talking here about an official act taken since he replaced the lamentable George Bush – although an argument can be made that replacing Bush's reign of error is sufficient accomplishment. What I'm talking about is actually something Obama did before his election – in fact, before his nomination as the Democratic Party's 2008 standard-bearer."


"In the July, 2007, "YouTube Debate," the Democratic candidates were asked if they would be willing to meet "with leaders of Syria, Iran, Venezuela" during their first term. Obama responded that, yes, he would be willing to do so. He explained that "the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this (Bush) administration -- is ridiculous.""

His concluding paragraph:

"Obama is being honored for what he did as a contender for the presidency -- a contender whose winning run charged the political debate in a party and a country that desperately needed to take a new direction. As such, he is not merely worthy. Barack Obama, the candidate, is the right recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace."

This takes the cake so far.

So, for this writer, putting the diplomacy in front of escalating armed conflicts during the party nomination campaign and successive presidential campaign was enough to win Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. Never mind that he started bombing an ally (Pakistan), is about to further increase manpower poured into Afghanistan, continues to arm and train Georgians and a host of other nations in volatile central Asia. As long as he meant well during the campaign, it was good enough.


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