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Old 10-10-2009, 12:27 AM   #18 (permalink)
'trane
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an interesting perspective. i encourage you to read the whole article and not just the few paragraphs i have copied here. i was as surprised as anyone that he won the award, and i am still unsure whether or not it has any merit, but this is an illuminating point of view:

Obama deserves the Nobel: He has changed the international game - The Globe and Mail

Quote:
The Nobel Peace Prize is not a lifetime-achievement award. It tends to honour actions that change the way the world functions, the way countries engage or publics think about a conflict. They should be important, historic actions, but the prize does not wait for results.

Mr. Obama falls squarely into this tradition: He has changed the game. International relations no longer function the way they have for the past decade, and important new possibilities are now open. On the issues that matter – a nuclear-free world, an end to dangerous rogue states – the path is no longer blocked, and all the world's major powers act and vote together.

The words “Obama agenda” make many of us think of a bogged-down and increasingly horrific conflict in Afghanistan, an unrelenting standoff between Israel and Arabs half a century after Mr. Pearson got involved, and a Guantanamo Bay prison that determinedly stays open.

These are significant issues, and they hang pointedly over Mr. Obama's young administration. They happen to be the geographically limited but symbolically loaded conflicts that obsess North Americans.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a European prize. The world outside North America sees Afghanistan, Israel and the embers of the Iraq conflict amid a far wider array of threats and worries. There are larger issues at stake. Some of them involve the fate of the world.

Mr. Obama's decision to cancel the U.S. missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, and thus to end a simmering conflict with Russia and make nuclear disarmament possible, was an enormous development to Europeans.

His leadership of a UN Security Council summit that called for total nuclear disarmament – unanimously, for the first time – and launched a strengthened nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, just before sitting down with Iran, was probably the headline of the year outside North America.

His Cairo speech opening dialogue with the Middle East and putting international relations back on political and economic terms – ending the “clash of civilizations” and “axis of evil” confrontation of previous years – was received as a historic epiphany in much of the world.

His talks with Iran, with Russia's and Europe's help, and his recognition that Iran is a long-term problem rather than an immediate threat, have signalled a new recognition that change can be made to happen, as it was in 1989, by playing a long game built on shared values. That, for the rest of the world, was a big deal.

It could be dismissed as mere talk. But it is precisely the sort of initiative that has defined the Nobel Peace Prize, and that has led it to honour, with a few embarrassing exceptions, the great developments of our age.
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