Monday, October 12, 2009

A Very Deserving Prize for Peace

President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize because of his willingness for America to speak in a different language: a language of partnership and cooperation rather than the language of force, which is the only language America has ever seemed to know, and particularly has been true during the eight years of the Bush administration.

In a article, Nobel Prize for Promises by Howard Zimm stated, The Nobel committee said its decision to honor the president was motivated by Obama's initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

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,
said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee.

Former Noble Laureate, President Jimmy Carter said awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama was a bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment. The award shows the Obama administration represents hope not only for Americans, but for people around the world. The Nobel committee's decision Friday showed support for Obama's work toward peace and harmony in international relations.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who was another Nobel Laureate, called Obama's Nobel Peace Prize award extremely well deserved and an honor for the country. He said that what Obama has accomplished already is going to be far more appreciated in the eyes of history. He cited Obama's United Nations speech on abolishing nuclear weapons, his shifting of the missile defense program in Eastern Europe, and Russia joining with the United States and other countries to confront Iran on nuclear nonproliferation.

David Gergen on CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360 Degrees, in a complimentary yet cautionary statement said all my experience in the White House points to the idea that if an American president is popular in public's overseas, it strengthens it hand in negotiation and diplomacy.

But let me say this, it complicates it back home. In this sense, on Afghanistan, if he makes a decision now not to exercise the robust option, not to go for a big troop increase, he will immediately be attacked for playing to the European audience, for playing to a peace at any price crowd in Europe.

And that's going to further polarize and make the -- building a consensus here in this country on issues as tough as Afghanistan and Iran, I think more complicated. And in that sense, this is a great -- a boon to the president about this is also a burden for him here at home.

Accolades of this kind are satisfying in that it is one of the primary reasons President Obama received my vote. It was his views on how we should conduct foreign policy and his views of peace over war -- his willingness for America to speak in a different language: a language of partnership and cooperation rather than the language of force. In his nine month tenure as President, he has demonstrated that commitment and this deserved Peace Prize is in recognition of that.

A good conversation between Anderson Cooper, Fareed Zakaria, David Gergen, and others on CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360 Degrees, which aired on October 9th , underscored why President Obama received the prize, specifically the views of Fareed Zakaria.

ZAKARIA: Well, I think David Gergen points out something very crucial and something that's very dysfunctional in the American political system right now.

But I think these people would criticize Obama no matter what he did. I mean the idea that Rush Limbaugh is going to criticize this award and that this should come as a surprise is absurd. I mean these are outrage machines, they're sitting there every day praying, you know, for something that they can get worked up about and rile up this small audience.

This is like manna from heaven for them.

Fareed, it's interesting, internationally, people don't seem so surprised. But here in the United States, a lot more people seem surprised. Are Americans underestimating the impact President Obama has had internationally?

I think so. And I think in a sense it's an award to the United States more than it is to Obama personally. It's an award to the United States for re-engaging with the world, for casting away, if you will, eight years of George Bush and really for -- to Obama, personally for sticking with what he campaigned on which was a new start in the war on terror on issues like torture, Geneva Convention, winding down the Iraq war, reaching out to the Muslim world.

Is it political in a sense of being -- you said a repudiation of the eight years under President Bush, is it political in that sense?


Do you think this is a slap in the face for President Bush?

Absolutely. And Anderson, to your original point, in 2008, the President of the United States' approval rating in Great Britain, our closest ally -- very tough country, fights with us in every war -- was 17 percent. It is currently 82 percent. It's actually higher in France and Germany.

So there is a sea change. And some of it is Obama and his staff. But a lot of it is I think there is a real yearning in the world for a United States that is more willing to engage with the world that doesn't bully, that doesn't think it's, you know, it has the answer to every problem in the world.

And the fact that Obama represents this means he becomes the repository of this view.

COOPER: Do you agree that he's a weak leader?

ZAKARIA: No, no, that the award was given because he's a different kind of leader. Obama is making a pretty bold gamble here which is that, it is possible for an American president to talk about cooperation, multilateralism, engaging with the world and show Americans that this is a sign of strength. That it is a way to solve common international problems.

For 30 years, roughly since Vietnam, it has been political suicide to do that. And that's why Democrats have tended to always pretend to be very tough, or be very tough, or sound very tough. There has always been a hawkish definition of what it meant to be a strong international leader.

Obama is trying to change the terms of that debate and in doing that, the Nobel committee is I think rewarding him. I happen to think that you can't solve most of the global problems we face right now without a lot of international cooperation. We're in a different world, but it's a bet. And Obama and it may turn out that, you know, the American public is turned off by it.

A big problem with America is the illusion that one must talk and walk like George W Bush in order to be considered a strong President. A message to our foes that is rhetorically belligerent is considered taking a position of strength. If a President talks about corporation and negotiation as a way to solve conflicts it is thought of as appeasement, a word made famous by the English statesman Neville Chamberlain who was prime minister of Great Britain in the years preceding World War II, and associated with the policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany that culminated in the Munich Agreement of 1938. The agreement signed by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler has entered the English language as a synonym for weakness, and historians continue to debate whether it would have been wiser for Britain to risk war rather than to require Czechoslovakia to surrender the Sudetenland to Hitler. However, appeasement, which is the policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace, is not at all the same as cooperation and negotiation to work out differences.

Too many Americans respond to the jingoistic rhetoric of folks like Limbaugh and Beck, which do not produce healthy attitudes for our nation.

So, very deservingly, He Won Because He Speaks of Peace.

Also, read: A Nobel for Defeating Cheneyism