October 9th, 2009


Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize!?

I swear to FSM, I thought it was an Onion headline.

President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Basically, for running around the world this year and being Super Diplomatic Peacemaker Guy.

(I recall Henry Kissinger getting one as well, so, yeah.)

Some people think it's a rebuke against Dubya, who was... well, Dubya. Some think it's meant to be encouragement for greater things to come. Some think it's way too soon for such a recognition. Some think that someone who's running a country enmeshed in two wars shouldn't get a Peace Prize until he ends those.

I think that there are so few people in the world willing to work for peace that even talking about it publicly is enough to put you head and shoulders above most world leaders. And actually attempting to do something about it... well.

That scares me.


ETA: I'm actually feeling some better about it, having read Josh Marshall's take:
It's not the accustomed stance of a writer or blogger. But this one does have me at something of a loss for words. I notice the condemnation of the Taliban, the edged snark of the superciliati. But I also see Ana Marie Cox's first-off Twitter: "Apparently Nobel prizes now being awarded to anyone who is not George Bush." And while less than generous, I think she's on to the root of the matter.

This is an odd award. You'd expect it to come later in Obama's presidency and tied to some particular event or accomplishment. But the unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the 'hyper-power' as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.