Friday, October 09, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

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 USA 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.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009
AS for the controversy of the choice, my reading is that this is the Committee's way of recognizing the historic event of Mr. Obama's election. That, in itself, is a significant step toward peace.

And yes, it's inappropriate in such a context; but really, how can I resist?


as for reactions, you can have this:

"The upside is the European community is embracing this president and saying we like the direction that he is taking this country in and it's drastically different," suggested Mika Brzezinski. She was quickly shot down.

"The upside is the Nobel Prize committee that has had suspect selections in the past has just befuddled a lot of people across the world," said host Joe Scarborough.

"I predict right now that he will find a way to basically turn it down," Time's Mark Halperin added . "I think he is going to say, I share this with the world or whatever. I don't think he'll embrace this. Because there is no upside."

"The damage is done," Brzezinski responded.

NBC White House Correspondent Chuck Todd concurred that the prize posed problems for Obama. "You're right, will he go to Stockholm to pick it up? What does he do with the money? You get a million dollars. You get over a million dollars for winning this." (The prize is actually given in Oslo. There is a banquet in Stockholm.) But Todd was confident that Obama would survive the crisis. "Mark's probably right," he said. "He'll figure out some way of accepting this in another form, not on his own behalf."
"The damage is done"? Wha....?

Or this:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in the coming years.

"In a way, it's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," he said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."

He said the prize is a "wonderful recognition of Obama's effort to reach out to the Arab world after years of hostility.

Another former Nobel winner, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts. He has reached out across divides and made clear that he sees the world as one human family, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity."
The difference seems to be people who think the award is about them, and people who think the award is about the human family. Hope, v. the status quo being upset. Two conditions that some people think appear alike.

But why is that?

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