Monday, October 12, 2009

A Prize for All Seasons

Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was probably as much a surprise to him as it was to the rest of the world. It certainly surprised me. Unlike the president's perpetual critics, I am not too concerned about it. My perspective on the Peace Prize changed greatly when Henry Kissinger won it for brokering a peace in the war that he savagely waged against Vietnam. It's not that the prize doesn't represent some deeper striving for peace--it does--but rather the prize represents a particular judgment about what contributes to world peace at a given time.

In that regard, not being George W. Bush IS a step toward peace. Maybe Obama hasn't achieved any major breakthroughs in his short time in office but, if nothing else, he represents a willingness to consider America part of a community of nations. I personally would not have awarded the prize to him but I wasn't invited to sit on the committee, so my preferences are moot.

For his part, Obama handled the announcement well. He referred to the award as an award for America as a whole, not his own accomplishments. I think he is smart enough to know that the award will have little consequence for his legacy. His legacy will depend on what he actually does in the next four or eight years.

I would like very much to see him win the Peace Prize again, especially if the next award is for ending American militarism and chokehold that the military mindset has on American policy toward the rest of the world.

THAT would be a peace prize to brag about!


If nothing else, Obama's Nobel is worth it just to see all the wingnuts with their panties in a wad.

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