Friday, October 09, 2009

The reactions to Obama's Noble Peace Prize are fasinating

The award of the Noble Peace Prize to Obama yesterday was surprising, but the reactions have been illuminating. Here are some international reactions:
Mohamed Elbaradei, [director of the International Atomic Energy Agency] for example, said, "I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honor. In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself." Mandela, Tutu, and Gorbachev, among others, also praised the announcement.
Those who have spoken out against the award all have very similar characteristics and appear to feel threatened by it. They include both the Taliban and the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh expresses surprise that he agrees with the Taliban. Here's the Media Matters utube that collects the Republican reactions recently.

Josh Marshal explains what the rationale for the award appears to be:
This is an odd award. You'd expect it to come later in Obama's presidency and tied to some particular event or accomplishment. But the unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the 'hyper-power' as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.
The Noble Peace Prize award was clearly a surprise to a lot of people, but it has also crystallized a lot of opinions today and demonstrated both how very bad the Bush Presidency was and also how surprisingly good the Obama Presidency already is. It's pretty clear that the prize was awarded to Obama to aid him in his efforts to improve America and the world. It was a good move.

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