President Obama travels to Oslo, Norway to accept his
Nobel Peace Prize and give a speech to an audience of one thousand. The
October 9 announcement of the award was met with shock, and commentators reached a quick consensus
that he had not, after only a few months in office, "earned" the prize
. Obama has a serious political challenge in accepting the
prize gracefully without appearing oblivious to this skepticism, and more importantly, to criticism of his recent escalation of the war
in Afghanistan--a policy move at odds with being a peace prize laureate.
- Arguing For Peace Through War The New York Times's Jeff Zeleny explains "the paradox of this moment." President Obama "faces a far different challenge than those who have gone before him: He
is a wartime leader, accepting a medal that is a commendation to peace,
which even he insists he does not yet deserve. [...] If the trajectory of the president’s political career can be measured,
at least in part, through his speeches, the remarks he will give on
Thursday about the United States’ place in the world provide one of the
most pronounced tests of his rhetoric." Zeleny says Obama will have to explain "why war is necessary to bring peace."
- Obama Must Preach Cooperation World Politics Review's Michael Cohen argues
that Obama should treat the prize as a mandate for America to lead, but
not dictate to, the world. "If the Bush years were a lesson in the
limitations of U.S. power, the
world's reaction to the election of Barack Obama was a reminder of
America's powerful global image. For all its faults, America still
possesses the unique ability to take the lead in shaping the new
international system. But America cannot lead if others won't follow."
Cohen explains, "The days when America could dictate to the world are
gone. Indeed, they
never truly existed."
- Americans Want War Or Peace? Politics Daily's Bruce Drake reads
the polls. "Obama's Afghan speech drove up the percentage who support
the war, but
only about a quarter believe he has earned the prestigious Nobel
award." Drake quotes Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown, "It's probably a
good thing for
President Obama that the time difference from Norway means the Nobel
presentation will occur while most Americans are sleeping and might get
less coverage in the United States."
- Give Obama A Break Foreign Policy's Johan Bergenas insists we're too hard on him. "Can
you think of any other nation that would have responded in such a negative
manner to the announcement that its leader had received the Nobel Peace
Prize?" he asks. "Fortunately,
it's not too late for Americans to accept Obama's Nobel Peace Prize as the
national treasure it is."
Who Did Obama Beat Out? NBC's Domenico Montanaro digs up
rumors and official nominations, finding many possible candidates.
Highlights include French President Nicolas Sarkozy, American author
and activist Gregg Mortenson, American musician Pete Seeger, and a host
of humanitarian heroes from Africa, East Asia, and especially the
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