Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama has not ended the occupation of Iraq. He has not ended the war in Afghanistan. He continues to assert that the United States has the right to hold foreign-born prisoners indefinitely and without charges.

The Nobel Committee seems to be honoring the potential for peacemaking greatness, rather than actual accomplishment.

The Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Jagland said.

Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.
I don't know how this decision fails to reduce the stature and significance of the Nobel Peace Prize going forward.