Archive: October, 2009
The Norwegian Nobel committee has done President Obama no favor by awarding him the 2009 Peace Prize.
The committee clearly bestowed the prize for Obama’s intentions, not his achievements - since nominations were closed on Feb. 1, 2009, 12 days after he took office. At bottom this was an effort to boost Obama’s efforts to promote “a new climate in international politics” and to abandon the unilateralism that characterized the presidency of George W. Bush. The award openly aims at encouraging Obama to live up to his campaign promises to pursue diplomacy and dialogue and a world without nuclear weapons.
Yet nothing more clearly demonstrates the gap between Nobel committee hopes and on-the-ground reality than the fact that the prize was announced on a day when Obama was holding high level White House talks about future strategy in Afghanistan.
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I can't believe he did it.
I can't believe President Obama, who understands the new world in which we live, made the gaffe of going to Denmark - to pitch a Chicago Olympics bid that we were bound to lose. No one should have been surprised that Chicago only got 18 votes and was knocked out in the first round.
I argued against the idea of Obama's going to Denmark with colleagues, who were all convinced it was the right move. After all, other heads of state were going. But any finger on the global pulse made clear that this was not the year for an American bid, irrespective of Obama's international shine.