In a shocking turn of events, US President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. This comes as a shock not only to Obama’s detractors, but to his supporters and to his cabinet as well.
Obama aides seemed as surprised at the news as everyone else, not even aware he had been nominated along with a record 204 others. He was awoken a little before 6 a.m. by press secretary Robert Gibbs, about an hour after the vote was announced, and aides scrambled to prepare a statement.
What is most confusing is the fact that Barack Obama hasn’t actually done a great deal to deserve this prize. Aside from talking, to date nothing has really be accomplished.
He has no standout moment of victory. Not surprising. Like most presidents in their first year, Obama’s scorecard so far is largely an “incomplete,” if he’s being graded.
He banned torture and other extreme interrogation techniques for terrorists. But he also promised to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a source of much distaste for the U.S. around the world, a task with difficulties that have Obama headed to miss his own January 2010 deadline.
He said he would end the Iraq war. But he has been slow to bring the troops home and the real end of the U.S. military presence there won’t come until at least 2012, and that’s only if both the U.S. and Iraq stick to their current agreement about American troop withdrawals. Meantime, he’s running a second war in the Muslim world, in Afghanistan — and is seriously considering ramping that one up.
He has pushed for new efforts to make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But he’s received little cooperation from the two sides.
He said he wants a nuclear-free world. But it’s one thing to telegraph the desire, in a speech in Prague in April, and quite another to unite other nations and U.S. lawmakers behind the web of treaties and agreements needed to make that reality.
He has said that battling climate change is a priority. But the U.S. seems likely to head into crucial international negotiations set for Copenhagen in December with Obama-backed legislation still stalled in Congress.
Why, then, has the Nobel committee awarded Barack Obama with such a prestigious award? Are they awarding lip service, or has the Nobel committee caught the ‘Hope’ fever? So far, it is unclear. Lets ‘Hope’ that Barack Obama makes good on his promises and earns the prestige that this award is generally meant for.