As far as I can tell, it’s not an Onion parody. President Obama really has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
This makes Obama only the fourth United States President to win the prize. Having been in office only nine months, the award might have been a bit premature.
The Times of London is handling the news well. Their headline: Comment: absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize
The Times article goes on to say:
[T]he prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
The pretext for the prize was Mr Obama’s decision to “strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. Many people will point out that, while the President has indeed promised to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a fresh start to relations with the Muslim world, there is little so far to show for his fine words.
Fox News also puts it succinctly:
Despite less than one year in office and leading two wars, President Obama snatched the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, stunning the world one week after failing to win an Olympic bid for his adopted hometown.
The Nobel committee’s decision was motivated by Obama’s initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Yet the choice was stunning given the nomination deadline of Feb.1, less than two weeks after the Obama presidency began. [emphasis mine]
Even the Huffington Post, usually one of the President’s staunchest supporters, is surprised into asking: “Whatever Happened to Awarding For Deeds Actually Done?”
HuffPo author Michael Russnow elaborates on his title:
As the 2 a.m. PDT CNN commentator interviewed Norwegian experts and past Peace Laureates, just about all of them repeated the obvious: Obama was being honored for the hope of what he might accomplish as opposed to what he has actually achieved.
So, at the moment, I believe it is enormously premature for Obama to be getting this great tribute, which to a certain extent cheapens the prior recipients and the work all of them performed over so many years.
Michelle Malkin writes:
From community organizer to Illinois state senator (present!) to U.S. Senator for 143 days before moving into the White House…and now, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize — not for anything he’s actually done, but for the symbolism of what he might possibly accomplish sometime way off in the future…
And she ends with a whammy:
The World Apology Tour yields dividends.
As for me, I only hope that President Obama can live up to even half of the hype has been generated on his behalf. If he can, then I say, “Good for him.” If not, we’ll have a different President in 2012.
And to quote a favorite author: “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.”
I’ll take freedom.