Peace, Out
10-09-2009
There has been so much reaction to the surprise awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, and so much of it has been predictable, that I am not sure I really have anything to add to what has already been said elsewhere. But since some of you are curious to read my reaction, here it is:
 
I think it is too early in Obama’s presidency for him to win the award. The short time frame feeds into the conservative (and liberal) meme about the gap between the promise of his rhetoric and the substance of his accomplishments.  While I don't consider the award to be additional political baggage the way some other political observers do, it undeniably raises expectations to levels that may be difficult to fulfill in such a complex multilateral environment.
 
That being said, I understand the signal that the Nobel Committee intended to send with its selection. It is a way of encouraging Obama to continue the process he has already begun, of reorienting American foreign policy away from the cowboy unilateralism of the Bush Administration. Obama’s description of the award as a call to action was a reasonable way to characterize the Nobel Committee’s intent. He seems to understand the potential political pitfalls that go along with accepting it, and perhaps the award will provide him with a little extra diplomatic leverage.


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