Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Peace Prize

Posted by Kero at Thursday, October 15, 2009
Does Obama deserve it?

I, for one was astounded when I read the news. He inherited a war in Iraq, then he drag the US to a war in Afghanistan, and then he had the nerve to ask for Middle East countries to go easy on the over-spoilt Israel. I do not see any promotion of peace so far. I do not disagree that he deserves it but i think the prize was given too soon.

But after reading the article below, i am now convinced the panel picked the perfect person. In fact, they should have awarded it the day after he took his oath as the most powerful man on earth. I hope President Obama lives up to the Peace Prize for the remaining years of his presidency. And his second term as such :)

Beyond the Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama just acquired another artefact to display in his future presidential library. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, which critics insist was not earned, was probably awarded to help bring back a United States many are nostalgic for.

Was this an example of preventive peace by Norwegian elites who care neither for cowboys nor Bubbas?

Unlike Henry Kissinger, who believed in, and assiduously practised, hegemony and balance of power, President Obama recognises that "alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War" no longer make any "sense in an interconnected world".

Addressing the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting a few weeks ago, Obama declared: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation," which upset warmongers. This carefully written sentence, with a very loud "can or should" in it, seriously disturbed those who sell hegemony for a living. Even worse, the president quickly altered the industrialised countries strangulation — to use a favourite Kissingerism — of the globe, by upgrading the G8 into a G20. While five countries still sway international power through a largely outdated UN Security Council, the G20 is meant to gradually replace the current Western alliance monopoly, in an increasingly multipolar system where several rather than a few decide.

Norwegian panellists may well have wished to recognise hope and aspiration — two beliefs perfected by Obama — rather than achievements nine months into his presidency. In fact, the recipient accepted his award "as a call to action", which acknowledged his incomplete record. Similar hopeful awardees included the 1991 laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy champion in Myanmar who was elected prime minister in 1990. Her heroism and near-20 years house arrest have not reversed Yangon's repulsive human rights violations. Likewise, the prize to Mohammad Younus from Bangladesh barely solved the problems of world poverty, since he received it in 2006. Aggressive credit mechanisms that take from the poor to give to the rich are still in place, though Younus is held in high esteem because his vision continues to inspire. Even Kissinger and the Vietnamese Communist leader Le Duc Tho, who jointly received the prize in 1973, are not ridiculed for failing to eradicate war. On the contrary, they accelerated it, with Kissinger advising George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to invade, destroy, and kill in two simultaneous campaigns.

Naturally, it may be safe to argue that Norwegians are fed up with these records, and would very much like to empower — perhaps even shame — a recipient to live up to certain standards. If the United States wants to be a world leader, they seem to be saying, then it must take into account the desires, as well as needs, of a planet resigned to Washington's influences. In the post-9/11 world, much is asked from those who can easily condemn millions to their deaths or, at least, to limit killings in the name of security.

Clairvoyant Europeans, who continue to cunningly devise international relations theories that trickle down, are thus hopeful that Obama will stand up to lunatics who mould the views of a large number of poorly educated consumers.

Under the circumstances, will Obama manage to add options to the slew that are presented to him on a daily basis, insisting that no recommendation, no matter how efficiently devised, is so air-tight that it could not be tweaked further? Time will tell, but the American President surely knows that the US is mired in two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), and must avoid a third (Iran) even if a wily ally (Israel) is eager to start it.

That is where the Norwegians come in. They, and billions of others, hope for a peace president rather than one for whom war was a badge of honour.

Obama is of course a pure product of American society though many of his detractors question his citizenship, policies, as well as other alleged shortcomings. The man ran a brilliant campaign and won a majority through sheer talent. He earned many accolades from Wall Street that perceived him as a knight in a shining armour. Remarkably, Obama did not disappoint bankers and other captains of the economic engine, given that the estimated trillion dollars stimulus package rewarded them. Still, even if his beliefs in core US values transformed his nation into the proverbial "beacon on the hill", human rights, freedom, and prosperity were all secondary values to the military-industrial-financial complex that guide Obama's actions. Therefore, how he manoeuvres on home-turf minefields will literally determine whether he will be a John Kennedy, or a Richard Nixon.

Nobel peace prizes are always politicised and seldom deserved as a slew of recent awards amply testify. The mere fact that the world has to recognise such an incentive, when the search for peace, not the promotion of war, should be a given for any self-respecting head-of-state, speaks for itself. Yet, Obama's mere election was a small miracle, some would say a four-year reprieve from mayhem, and that he amply deserved the award on that score alone. He may well earn his prize over time but it is also useful to remind him that it would be so much better if visitors who go to his presidential library will have an opportunity to admire something more than a mere medal.


The Author -- Dr. Joseph A. Kechichian is a commentator and author of several books on Gulf affairs.

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