Obama win Nobel Prize. And to think, this award used to mean something.
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Thread: Obama win Nobel Prize. And to think, this award used to mean something.

  1. Thumbs down Obama win Nobel Prize. And to think, this award used to mean something.


    By Debbi Wilgoren and Scott Wilson
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Friday, October 9, 2009; 10:19 AM

    President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his work to improve international diplomacy and rid the world of nuclear weapons -- a stunning decision to celebrate a figure virtually unknown in the world before he launched his campaign for the White House nearly three years ago.
    In honoring Obama, 48, the Norwegian Nobel Committee echoed a global embrace of the U.S. president that has seen his popularity overseas often exceed his support at home. Though Obama's name surfaced early among contenders, the announcement astonished observers -- drawing gasps from the audience in Oslo -- in part because Obama assumed office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 deadline for nominations.
    The committee praised Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" during his nine months in office and singled out for special recognition Obama's call for a world free of nuclear weapons, the subject of major speech April 5 in Prague.
    Heralding Obama as a transformative figure in U.S. and international diplomacy, the committee said: "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."
    Obama is the third sitting U.S. president -- and the first in 90 years -- to win the coveted peace prize. His predecessors won during their second White House terms, however, and after significant diplomatic achievements. Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919, after helping to found the League of Nations and shaping the Treaty of Versailles; and Theodore Roosevelt was the recipient in 1906 for his work to negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese war.
    In contrast, Obama is struggling with two wars -- weighing whether to increase the number of U.S. troops fighting to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and overseeing the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq. He is mired in domestic struggles over health-care reform and economic recovery efforts, and searching for ways to build momentum to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to assemble an international effort to stop Iran's nuclear program.
    In choosing Obama from among 205 nominees, the committee appeared to be continuing its rebuke of the Bush administration's go-it-alone approach to world bodies and alliances, including its decision to go to war in Iraq without U.N. approval. In 2007, for example, former vice president Al Gore won for raising awareness on global warming after the Bush administration abandoned the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions, arguing it would take too great a toll on the U.S. economy. Obama has worked to distance himself from Bush's policies since his first day in office, abolishing the use of torture in interrogation of terrorist suspects and promising to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Jan. 22, 2010.
    In response to questions from reporters in Oslo, who noted that Obama so far has made little concrete progress in achieving his lofty agenda, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said he hoped the prize would add momentum to Obama's efforts. At the same time, Jagland said, "We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do."
    Jagland specifically cited Obama's speech about Islam in Cairo last spring, as well as efforts to address nuclear proliferation and climate change and use established international bodies such as the United Nations to pursue his goals. The committee -- made up of luminaries selected by the Norwegian government -- noted a profound shift in U.S. policy and said Obama had "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."
    The announcement did not mention Obama's status as the first black U.S. president.
    Reaction in the United States and around the globe included a degree of amazement from across the political spectrum, followed by praise from Obama's admirers and, often, disdain from his opponents.
    In Washington, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele heaped scorn on the award.
    "The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' " Steele said in a statement. "It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights." Obama "won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action," he added..

    "Think about it, it's so post-modern: a leader can now win the peace prize for saying that he hopes to bring about peace at some point in the future," sniped Wall Street Journal deputy editor Iain Martin in an online post. "He doesn't actually have to do it, he just has to have aspirations. Brilliant."
    In Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, where raised expectations about the peace process have been followed by little tangible progress, most political leaders were skeptical.
    "We congratulate him for this," said Ahmed Yousef, deputy foreign minister of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza and remains isolated by the United States because of its refusal to recognize Israel. But "we believe he has been rewarded or judged based on good intentions towards peace but not on his achievement. It was too early to award him. He has not done that much yet."
    Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli Knesset from the ruling Likud Party who opposed U.S. efforts to freeze construction of Jewish settlements, also said Obama's record is thin. "This is the first time the award is given for wishful thinking," Danon said.
    But Hagit Ofran, of Israel's dovish Peace Now movement, credited Obama for pushing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to endorse creation of a Palestinian state and consider settlement curbs. "He is being respected for his belief and determination to get things going," she said. "It is not peace and it is not enough, but his rhetoric did change many things."
    A spokeswoman for the European Commission told reporters in Brussels that the award "is an encouragement for engagement by all those who can contribute to bring about a safer world."
    Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said the award "speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope," the Associated Press reported. Tutu said the prize is a "wonderful recognition" of Obama's outreach to the Arab world.
    Obama was awarded the prize just a week after the International Olympic Committee rejected his personal appeal to hold the 2016 Summer Games in his hometown of Chicago.
    Jagland told reporters that Obama had not been notified in advance of the announcement, which was made at 11 a.m. in Oslo (5 a.m. in Washington).
    Staffers working overnight in the White House Situation Room saw the news on the wires and called press secretary Robert Gibbs, who telephoned the executive residence just before 6 a.m. to wake Obama and tell him.
    "It's an honor, certainly nothing that anyone expected, certainly not the president himself," senior adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC a short time later. He said the president "is not interested in individual honors" but that "the point is to rededicate ourselves to the causes that the president has brought forth."
    Obama and his aides have described the tenets of his foreign policy as emphasizing "mutual interest and mutual respect" and the idea that global diplomacy functions on the principles of "rights and responsibilities" of sovereign nations.
    He has delivered four major foreign policy addresses explaining these themes -- his nuclear nonproliferation speech in Prague; his outreach to the Muslim world in Cairo; his offer of U.S. support to the developing world (tempered with a reminder that nations are responsible for their futures) in Accra, Ghana; and his call for global cooperation at the U.N. General Assembly last month.
    At the United Nations, and in multilateral talks, Obama received tentative support from Russia for additional sanctions against Iran if it does not stop enriching uranium. Russia's support, which had been sought by the Bush administration as well, is one of Obama's most tangible achievements. He also led a United Nations discussion of ways to combat climate change and chaired a U.N. Security Council session in which that body unanimously approved a resolution that called for a world without nuclear weapons.
    "Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts," the committee said in its statement announcing the award. "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."
    After recent years in which the prize went to environmentalists such as Gore, as well as luminaries in the fight against poverty, the committee's rationale for selecting Obama seemed in some ways to strike closer to prize's original mandate.
    In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel, founder of the award, had directed committees selected by the Swedish president to reward "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
    At the same time, environmentalists welcomed the award and said they hoped it would spur progress at the U.N.-sponsored international climate talks, which have stalled this year but will culminate in Copenhagen in mid-December. In December 2007, Gore and U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri flew straight to climate talks in Bali after accepting their peace prize, and an impassioned speech by Gore helped break a deadlock.
    "We congratulate President Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize," said Keya Chatterjee, director of climate change for the World Wildlife Fund-U.S., adding that if Obama travels to Oslo for the awards ceremony Dec. 10, he could follow Gore's example and head from there to Copenhagen, where the climate talks will be underway. "We hope that he will apply the same diplomacy skills and effort to passing domestic legislation and achieving a global deal to address climate change, which will bring us all a more secure and peaceful planet," Chatterjee said.
    In addition to Obama, Wilson and Roosevelt, former president Jimmy Carter also won the peace prize. Carter was honored in 2002, more than two decades after leaving office, for his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
    Correspondents Anthony Faiola in London and Howard Schneider in Jerusalem, and staff writer Juliet Eilperin in Washington, contributed to this report.

    Wow. Just, wow.
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

  3. #2
    Truely perplexed... The Norwegians must be at a lose for somebody worthy to give their prize to. The NNC certainly cheapened the standards for that prize...
    Semper Fi

  4. They lost a lot of credibility with me when they gave one to Arafat, but this is just...I am truly at a loss for words.
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

  5. #4
    Arafat, Obama all about the same.
    By faith Noah,being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,prepared an ark to the saving of his house;by the which he condemned the world,and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith Heb.11:7

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