Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama's Nobel Prize

10 9 09 Bearman Cartoon Obama Nobel Peace PrizeImage by Bearman2007 via Flickr
Friday's are a very busy day for me because I work my full time job and then deliver pizza right after. Consequently, I usually don't get to post anything unless I write it the night before and schedule a post.

Yesterday morning, while dressing for work I heard the news that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  My initial reaction to the news was, "WTF??  What in hell has he done in less than a year to earn a Nobel Prize?"  I have had a full day to absorb the news, and not much has change in my reaction.

Obviously, it is quite an honor to have a sitting president win the Nobel Peace Prize.  The only two previous sitting presidents to win the award were Teddy Roosevelt, who helped brokered a peace agreement between Russia and Japan and Woodrow Wilson for his work on the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I and the formation of the League of Nations.  Obama has done nothing near as noteworthy as that.  Plus both Wilson and Roosevelt were well into second terms when nominated as opposed to Obama being in a mere two weeks.

Here are a couple of quotes from a few presidential historians and political scientists from the article "Obama's Nobel Is Premature, Historians and Political Scientists Say."

Fred Greenstein of Princeton University, "The jury is still out as to what his presidency is going to add up to. It's more of an embarrassment to the Nobel process."

Allan Lichtman of American University, "They're not comparable. Roosevelt and Wilson were six or seven years into two-term presidencies, and Obama has not completed a single year of his presidency, so it makes very little sense."

Stephen Wayne of Georgetown University, "It does seem to me, at this point, that's its premature. When I first saw it, I thought it was a joke. Obama may have been the first to get it for his rhetoric and his orientation. What had he done by February? He had been the first African-American elected president and provided sawing rhetoric. In one sense, Obama has always been more popular in Europe than in the United States. That popularity is based in part on the contrast he provides to former President George W. Bush, who was not popular in Europe. I am very favorable toward President Obama, but this prize is a surprise to me."

Ah, that's the ticket, he won the award because he isn't George W. Bush.  He won because he supports all the things that Bush didn't.  He supports the UN, which is a decidedly anti-American organization.  Bush didn't.  He supports cap and trade programs that will hurt the economy to thwart so called climate change, Bush didn't.  Even former Nobel winner Lech Walesa questioned the timing so early in his presidency, "So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is only beginning to act."

As I said, it is quite an honor for this country to have a sitting president awarded the prize.  So for that, we congratulate the president.  Maybe one day he will be worthy of having received it. 
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  1. I'm amazed americans are not able to realize what he already has done.

    We here in The Netherlands have seen a complete change in ways of behaviour towards allies.

    Under Bush we were treated inpolite, and in fact straightforward bullied, about, for instance, NATO relationships and participation.
    America alientated itself from bonds which can be traced back hundreds of years.

    Obama has reinstalled cooperation again and the feeling towards america have been grown far more friendly, even within a few months.

    The way he deals with Russia has already stabilized the very shaky relationship, which in fact is of great importance of world peace.

    They say great men are not recognized in their own countries.
    That's so true.... so true...

  2. I agree that it may seem a little premature but I think the selection committee were probably looking more at the idea that there has been a change in attitude worldwide towards the US. They probably like what they've heard Obama saying and this is their way of endorsing it.

  3. Laane, if you folks want him you can have him

    Robin, if Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are praising Obama, then in my book he is doing something wrong

  4. I'm glad I stopped here and I'm glad you made this post. (per your question on my Blog- I wasn't quite sure where you would come in on this one. I get the feeling you're not an Obama supporter (understatement) and I know you're not in favor of many of his policies, but you got to figure that the "Nobel Peace Prize" award is completely independent of any of these positions. The consensus around the globe seems to be that the award was premature. And those that like Obama seem to be okay with the award while those who don't support Obama can't stand it! (Go figure that equation???) Your Bush analysis is interesting. So are you saying that Bush screwed things up so badly that the mere fact that Obama stepped into office and reversed the trend of public opinion was enough to warrant the award?

    Clearly this award will be debated for quite some time by people way smarter than me. People are thinking and speaking up and it sure is exciting to watch and listen to. It's also telling. Here we have the President of the United states winning a respected award with global recognition and real-live 'Mericans taking exception. What a contradiction. Someone please show me the guy or gal who should have won the award based on their contributions. I suppose then I'll be more sympathetic.

    By the way, "Laane" made a very interesting point.

    "The way he deals with Russia has already stabilized the very shaky relationship, which in fact is of great importance of world peace."

    People may have forgotten that starting around 1991 and thru the 90's things continued to improve with Russia. Russia even signed a cooperative agreement with NATO. Then the George W. Bush era started.

    Your comment:

    "As I said, it is quite an honor for this country to have a sitting president awarded the prize. So for that, we congratulate the president."

    It'd be nice if that's all we had to say about this award!

  5. If I wasn't clear enough, your comment:

    "As I said, it is quite an honor for this country to have a sitting president awarded the prize. So for that, we congratulate the president."

    shows a nice regard and respect for the USA and the office of the President. I salute you!

  6. II- you see, I don't think Bush screwed up everything so badly. My view of Bush is that he tried to do everything he thought was best for the country. His view was America first, not to give into policies that he felt would ultimately hurt America, like cap and trade and alleged global warming. Bush did not want America to become Europe, Obama does. That ruffled the feathers of the Europeans



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