A Brief Message to US Readers

Remember those polls you used to see occasionally back in the Dubya days where people outside the USA were saying that America was a greater threat to world peace than Iran or North Korea and any other bunch of crazy saber rattlers? OK, now do you understand why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?

So no, he hasn’t achieved a lot internationally since he got elected. But he got elected.

Of course you are still welcome to believe that giving someone the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the world from Sarah Palin is jumping the shark, but now at least you can stop asking WHY???

13 thoughts on “A Brief Message to US Readers

  1. There’s a lot more than that, too-
    They’ve publicly said it’s because of the way he’s approaching diplomatic talks with other countries, and his attempt at nuclear disarmament across the world.

  2. Oh, of course, but a lot of the comment I’m seeing is very US centered. Americans might not feel any safer under Obama, but the rest of the world sure does.

  3. Thanks.

    As a representative of our State Department said, it’s good to have the world throwing accolades at us instead of shoes.

  4. As I’ve commented elsewhere, winners of the Nobel Peace Prize need not actually succeed in making peace somewhere — after all, what peace has Al Gore made, or Aung Sun Suu Kyi? — they must simply have made peace more likely. And can there be any doubt that Obama has done that already?

    Starting new and restarting old arms control talks. Canceling the deployment of a destabilizing weapons system in Eastern Europe. Bringing Iran and North Korea back to the negotiating table. And, of course, last but certainly not least, not being an International Giant Flaming Dickwad after eight years of non-stop bullying and bellicosity.

    I’ll admit that I was surprised, but it’s worth noting that Gorbachev got his Nobel Prize before he peacefully dismantled the Soviet Union, not after.

  5. Hello! Thank you for this post. Just for the record, the MAJORITY of Americans are thrilled that Obama won – hell, they (we) voted for him – and also agree about the Nobel. We’re just as baffled by the screamers as you are.

  6. I am a little baffled because I thought it is something for achievement, but understand what they see in him. He has changed the discord in international affairs and I think that is noteworthy in and of itself for the honor.

  7. @Ruthanne: I’m a little puzzled by the mention of “screamers”. I haven’t seen any capslocking or heard any screaming. One of my LJ friends mentioned capslocking her outrage that someone who is in the middle of conducting two wars just got a peace prize. That’s about it. Is there some screamers’ club meeting somewhere that perhaps you encountered and I missed? If not, I recommend not undermining your position by stooping to insult those you disagree with.

    I don’t doubt that Obama has done a lot to advance the cause of world peace. I wouldn’t even say that Americans don’t feel safer; those of us who generally agree with his policies do feel safer, and maybe some of those who generally disagree with his policies also feel safer. It’s not at all about that.

    It’s that a great many people who like the theory of Obama as liberal savior are pretty pissed off by the reality at the moment. My brother, who is (if possible) even more liberal than I am and certainly more political, called me today to complain about it. “I know the idea is to give him the prize for not being Bush,” he said, “but what about all those Bush policies that he’s left in place? What about all the ones he’s defending?”

    So if the point is that the world is safer because Bush is out of office, then give the prize to whomever wrote up the amendment instating presidential term limits, and if the point is that we didn’t elect a Bush lookalike, then give the prize to the American people. Or better yet, ignore the West and give it to someone like Dennis Mukwege or Sima Samar who could do so much with $1.4 million. I do hope Obama donates the cash.

  8. I am surprised people are so surprised by the award. The Peace Prize, unlike the other Nobel Prizes, is frequently awarded to people who are in the midst of a struggle. Like Rose, my concern is that Obama is not making a total break with Bush policies. But I am cutting him slack for now. Governing involves practicalities and compromise. They call it the ship of state for good reason. It doesn’t turn on a dime.

  9. Rose:

    I haven’t seen much capslocking, but the vast majority of responses I saw yesterday from my (mostly left wing) American acquaintances ranges from puzzlement to outrage. Several specifically said that Obama had done nothing for them, and therefore didn’t deserve the prize, or complained about interference in US politics by the Nobel committee.

    I do understand the frustration that many of my friends have at the slow pace of change, but you also have to consider the alternatives. I’m, not exactly happy with Gordon Brown right now, but the country as a whole is so unhappy with him that it is likely to elect a Conservative government that will be much more militaristic, is pally with militant homophobes, and has promised to repeal our human rights legislation.

    SF Strangelove:

    Not only is it slow to turn, but it should be. I shudder to think what Dubya could have done if he had had the sort of powers the American Left seems to think Obama should have.

  10. Sarah Palin turned out to be less Lady MacBeth, more Lina Lamont (Singin’ in the Rain), but yes, I remember those polls, and I also remember that even before the election, Obama got favorable press when he spoke in Europe.

    So yes, all that stuff about the absence of accomplishment went through my head, and there were probably others who have done more serious work for peace, and I worry about policies expressed by his administration, but I apparently missed his getting Russia and Iran into negotiations, and I can understand “he’s not trying to alienate every nation on the planet” as a motivating factor.

    We shall see.

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