Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obama's Noble prize

Congratulations to Barack Obama for his award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course, a number of conservatives and Americans are frantically scratching their heads over this award.

(The Sydney Morning Herald's pet conservative, Paul Sheehan, complained: about Obama being nominated before he was two weeks in office; about the number of US Democrats that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years - Jimmy Carter and Al Gore too; but he mainly complained about the Afghanistan government.)

But world politics is not felt by its subtlety, so some may have missed the work Obama has done to improve the atmosphere of multilateral politics.

It's worth looking at some of the reasons Obama was cited.  The Nobel committee said (with some emphasis added by me) the award was

" 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.'"

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