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MY TAKE ON… The Obama Peace Prize Mess

October 14, 2009

Sincere apologies for having neglected this blog somewhat of late.  Partly it is because I did not have much of interest to say (hard to believe, I know) and partly I just didn’t have the inclination to sit and write something!  For this reason, I realise that I am a latecomer to the ‘Obama Peace Prize’ sensation.  However, I have been mulling it over for the last couple of days and I think I have come to a conclusion as to what I think about the whole issue.  As always when I tackle a political hot potato, I am not coming to it from any side or with any agenda.  I am simply trying to clarify my own thoughts and decide the facts as I see them.  So here goes.

As most of you are probably aware, I am an Obama fan.  I like him a lot.  If I had been eligible to, I would have voted for him.  Unfortunately, my being British prevented me from doing so!  I am a fairly astute judge of character, and I truly believe that if nothing else, he is a genuine and fundamentally honest person.  Yes, he is hard-headed and tough – he’s a politician!  Partly, I supported him because my political leanings mean that I would be more likely to concur with the Democratic rather than the Republican way of thinking.  This does not mean, however, that I think he is infallible.  He has his faults, and plenty of them.  He is inexperienced and sometimes this shines through like a beacon.  He can be arrogant.  He makes mistakes.  He is human.

This does not make him a bad person.  He is idealistic, but sometimes he gets carried away by his ideals at the expense of common-sense and reasoning – don’t we all?!  He needs time to settle into his presidency and make his mark – for better or worse – before America and the rest of the world rushes to judgment.  There are people waiting in the wings to destroy him as soon as they can, and there are those who would defend him to the death even if he was wrong.  He is the American President – there are few others who can provoke such strong feelings in so many people, and Obama seems to have done so spectacularly.

Was it ill-advised for the panel to award Obama this prize in the present climate, and so early into his presidency?  Yes, I believe it was.  Whatever the intention, the timing was unfortunate at best and damaging at worst.  It gave Obama’s detractors yet more ammunition at a time when they already had plenty to complain about – not always justifiably.  Those that hate the Democratic Party, or just hate Obama – for whatever reason – will always find a reason to do him down.  Even if during the course of his time in office he managed to secure Iraq and Afghanistan enough to withdraw all troops, made all nuclear countries agree to disarmament while remaining best friends with every one of them, and brokered peace in the Middle East, there would be those who would say that he still did not deserve the prize!

I am guessing that one of the ideas behind awarding the prize to Obama was to encourage him not to abandon his ideals and to carry on with his efforts as far as international policies are concerned.  This is a noble (!) idea and I can understand that this may have been the deal-clincher as far as Obama’s nomination was concerned.  According to Geir Lundestad of the prize committee, the prize is not awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful, but more often to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.  Again, this fits with Obama’s nomination and subsequent win.  However, with the secrecy surrounding the committee and the award process itself, it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure the reasoning behind it.  It is just as likely to have been done to irritate Bush and his supporters!

Whatever the reasons for the prize being awarded to Obama, and whether you think the decision is right or wrong – or you simply couldn’t care less! – what’s done is done.  The award went to Obama, and I only hope that the presence of the Nobel Peace Prize sitting in the Oval Office will make him think twice before he launches an attack on another little-known but oil-rich nation in the Middle East – or anywhere else come to that.  And on that basis, maybe they should have awarded it to Dubya after all…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2009 18:45

    Well-written as always, Hannah! I agree with you, too—not that it’s much of a surprise 😀

  2. Lona permalink
    October 14, 2009 19:04

    You’re very clear-headed in your arguments, Hannah. I admit to being a bit “embarrassed” at my president’s award when others, in the eyes of many, may have more deserving due to their actions and not simply their promise. My heart is with Obama but I will not follow blindly. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I guess we Americans need to make the best of things as they are.

  3. October 14, 2009 20:14

    I didn’t know that the Nobel Peace Prize was also to be awarded for the effort. Thank you for pointing this out, Hannah! Then in this case, I agree that he deserves it.

    When I saw his inauguration and how the hopes of everyone is put on his shoulder. I immediately thought it is never going to be easy for him. ‘Change’ has a different definition on everyone IMHO. I think Obama has done his best too, and given the time and the current situation, he did a good job so far.

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