Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Nobelist President

Today I wonder what The Great American Center, whoever and wherever it is, thinks about President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

The instant it became known, the Left and the Right predictably denounced it, continuing their Odd Couple dans macabre to criticize this president for utterly opposing reasons.

Rob Kall, a progressive blogger with whom I agree on most things, was among the front runners on the left.  What has the President done to deserve it?  He's still conducting two ugly wars, killing civilians with drones and bombs, sending storm troopers into Pittsbiurgh for the G2, refusing to act against torturers, achieving nothing with his Iran policy, being defied by North Korea. . . .

A voice of the other half of the Odd Coupling, Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, said: ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished? It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain — President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

One might ask if even Mr. Steele, a master of Beckian vitriol and garbage, counts any living Republicans among those who have "made real achievements working toward peace and human rights."  Mr. Kall, at least, speaks from the high ground of advocacy for not just human rights and peace, but also health care for all, improved public education, ending the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, curbing the influence of military hawks on foreign policy and  the antioxidant values of chocolate.

Well, maybe I'm wrong about the chocolate.

In its announcement, the Nobel committee said: it "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 United States 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.”

Fair enough.  I hope "the center," whoever and wherever it is, appreciates the significance of the "new climate."

I sometimes chide myself in my own criticism of Obama for forgetting where we were during the preceding eight years.  I think of the Ship of State, under full steam, careering in the wrong direction for those eight years.  Is there any force in the ocean strong enough got turn it around 180 degrees in nine short months?

I don't think so.

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