Nobel Prize Committee
Maybe they got it right.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
Oslo, October 9, 2009
How different is President Obama from President Bush whose "march to war" was far more like Hitler than any action taken by President Obama to date.
Perhaps President Obama has already made a positive difference. From the American Enterprise Institute in 2003.
In other words, the fundamental premise of the Bush Doctrine is true: The United States possesses the means--economic, military, diplomatic--to realize its expansive geopolitical purposes. Further, and especially in light of the domestic political reaction to the attacks of September 11, the victory in Afghanistan and the remarkable skill demonstrated by President Bush in focusing national attention, it is equally true that Americans possess the requisite political willpower to pursue an expansive strategy.
Second, the description of the threats to U.S. interests advanced in the National Security Strategy is also an accurate one. America faces no immediate great-power threat, no superpower doppelgŠnger to replace the Soviet Union. The Russian empire has contracted to a 400-year "low," and Moscow has proven militarily incapable of subduing a single insurrectionist province. More importantly, Russia seems to have lost the appetite for empire, as it has become increasingly democratic and geopolitically inclined toward the West and the United States. The immediate post-cold-war fears of Russian revanche have not been realized.
The two other candidates as great-power balancers to American primacy, the People's Republic of China and the European Union, likewise are not immediately up to the challenge. A few observers believe that, as Europe becomes more politically integrated, it will take issue with American geopolitical leadership. "It is now Europe's turn to ascend and break away from an America that refuses to surrender its privileges of primacy," writes Charles Kupchan, a former Clinton administration official now at Georgetown University. "Europe will inevitably rise up as America's principal competitor." Some regard the defiance of France and Germany over Iraq as an occasion of "soft balancing"--the use of so-called "soft power" to offset American military might, diplomatic determination, and ideological motivation. Yet it does not seem as if
the Europeans will be successful in thwarting the Bush administration's march to war. It is far more likely that Europe will remain essentially content with its status as a junior partner in the current Pax Americana, demanding a certain amount of deference--and, after Iraq, perhaps very little deference--but still fundamentally unwilling to forge or employ the tools of "hard power" needed to create a genuinely multipolar international order.