Obama Won The Nobel Peace Prize?

10 10 2009

I was shocked to learn yesterday that President Barack Obama was the 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.  I wasn’t shocked in a bad way, more like shocked in a “huh? really?” kind of way.  I’m not entirely convinced that Obama deserved the award.  And it appears that many agree with me, the President included.  And it was comforting to see the humility with which Obama spoke of his surprise at receiving the award.

While I don’t think Obama’s actions have yet warranted this kind of recognition, I do believe that his actions may yet earn him this prematurely awarded distinction.  Obama is a good person who is doing good things.  So instead of debating Obama’s worthiness of such an award, I think we should focus on the implications of this particular award at this particular moment in history.

I think Americans are somewhat isolationist, ideologically at least.  What I mean is that I think many Americans feel that most interaction with the rest of the world is a bit of nuisance and we only do it because we have to (except for tourism and whatever trade alliances are necessary to provide us with our favorite cars and video games).  That kind of attitude in today’s global community is not only unrealistic but negligent.  The fates of Americans are tied to the fates of so many other people around the world, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.

So many leaders are focused on keeping America “American” and a “Global Superpower” when what America and the rest of the world really needs is a leader that will give due attention to making a country as powerful and influential as the United States a true partner in the global undertaking for a more harmonious future.  And I think the world sees Obama as that leader.  And I think that is the take-home message of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Sure, Obama doesn’t measure up to past Nobel Laureates.  Sure, he’s struggling to find success even among Americans.  But the kind of person and leader he is has convinced many influential people (the Nobel Committee, at the very least) that he is the kind of leader that the rest of the world needs America to have.

So, congratulations President Obama.  Let’s hope you earn it.

As a side note, after Obama said his two bits on the news, I thought it was interesting how the different news networks chose to spend their time.  MSNBC continued to talk about how surprising Obama’s win was and trying to figure out how everyone else was going to react to it and FOX and CNN both immediately went to a high speed chase in Texas (which they covered live for over an hour).  Make of that what you will.  The high speed chase was more interesting, though (for a few minutes, at least).

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3 responses

10 10 2009
Randal

I heard that in giving Obama the nobel prize, the nobel committee was trying to be more proactive to influence the world. By giving the prize to Obama, they are signaling to the world that they approve of and are encouraging Obama’s actions. Of course, this is the case whenever they give the prize. But this time, they are giving their support at a time when Obama could still do a lot in the world and use the support of the nobel committee.

10 10 2009
Perez Christina

Obama doesn’t deserve the award at all in my opinion

11 10 2009
Sam Kaufman

my first thought was that maybe they’re making up for Chicago not getting the Olympics

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