Congratulations to Nobel Laureate Obama
So much of the reaction I’m hearing sounds like an even lamer Kanye West: “Yo Obama, I’m real happy for you and I’m gonna let you finish, but… uh… somebody else could have been better.”
Speculations as to the Committee’s “real” motives abound (the most popular being that it’s a carrot to try and make him more likely to pursue peace, which seems a little weak to me), but this is why they say they did it:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
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. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.
That actually seems pretty straightforward to me, and while I was as shocked as anyone (I thought it was an Onion prank gone viral at first) I have to admit that the more I think about it the less ridiculous it is. Obama really has made some remarkable strides toward improving world diplomacy and reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons – and both processes began well before his Presidency did, particularly the safeguarding of nuclear arms. (Along with Senator Lugar, R-In, he got legislation passed to help secure nuclear materials abroad.)
It certainly makes more sense to give it to President Obama than to President Sarkozy, who was another candidate… but I must admit, I’ve been thinking for years that President Bill Clinton was due for it, partly for his Presidency and partly for his tireless work with the Global Initiative. A Clinton just can’t catch a break with Obama in town! I kid, I kid…
Anyway, while I was as surprised as anyone (including Obama, reportedly), on reflection I think the Nobel Committee actually made a good if surprising choice (and not just because it’s fun to watch wingnuts’ heads explode).
Congratulations, President and Nobel Laureate Obama! Don’t rest on them though, OK?