On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Award, already? What has President Obama done in but a scant few months to deserve that? What's going on here?
Many of us across the political spectrum were more stunned than applauding. OK, so lets agree he has the talents, charisma, and potential for such a deserving accolade, but at this point "where's the beef?"
Let our global citizenship see the substance ,the specific evidence of "improving the better chances for world peace."
Premature seems to be the global reaction and true to his own sense of self the President has wisely said "this must be seen as a tribute to the American people."
Nonetheless many of us have in mind a higher bar as seen in the hard won and long range marks set by other winners suck as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson while still in office.
Add to these the "on the ground" achievements of Lech Walesa (1983) in standing up to the Soviet occupiers of Poland, to Nelson Mandela with 23 years in prison in that battle to end apartheid in South Africa, to President Carter (20 years later) for his global level track record for helping assure fair voting and also the likes of Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State (under Nixon) for his role in brokering a peace settlement to end the long Vietnam war.
The list goes on with luminaries as Mother Teresa of India for her passion that no one should have to die alone in poverty.
My favorite would be Aung San Suu Kyi, the heroine of the grass roots movement to have democratic rule in Myanmar (Burma). That military dictatorship still has her under house arrest after 17 years.
To my mind that witness for human rights is not just "beef but "top sirloin with caviar." Though not the most prestigious level, our own Al Gore got a Nobel Prize for his epic documentary on global warming.
We note than none on this above list were given for their potential to leave remarkable change at some time in the future.
So what is going on here?
In fact, the Nobel Committee in Norway felt that even President Obama's brief excursions in behalf of a new look at how to "better the chances of world peace" were adequate "beef."
His two years of "we can" upbeat foreign policy oratory was and is much needed. The world has become cynical.
Neither the United Nations, the European Union, nor NATO or the vaulted United States can do much about Iran, the Israel/Palestine standoff, the North Korea nuclear bluster, the genocidal and unstable governments in Africa, add to these the imminent expansion of the Taliban and Al Quaeda, and the still volatile Iraq and Middle East in general.
There could also be a backlash that will hinder Obama.
I could be wrong, but the gamble of the Nobel Peace Award Committee at the global center feels that the giving Obama the award will in itself be "beef " enough in this age where the global Internet oratory is a tangible, hopeful merit.