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Peacemaker in Chief: Will the Nobel Prize Change Obama’s Presidency

MostMostSafeSqaureFriday President Barrack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize – while there is already a great deal in the blogosphere on if Obama deserves or does not deserve (another does not) this recognition both in the United States and abroad, , this post is focused on in a different direction – how will this affect Obama’s decision making moving forward? It’s an impossible question to know the answer for, but it’s also one that I think everyone is going to be asking over the next few days.

Love him or hate him (personally I like him), most Americans woke up Friday morning with a big surprise as this was very unexpected (I run a news blog and I wasn’t even aware that Obama was on the list) which seems to be the sentiment around the globe including by those that were in the room when the award was announced where an audible gasp could be heard.

In an interview of Geir Lundestad, the Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, following the announcement he explained that the decision making process on Obama was more forward thinking than necessary based on actual achievement with the idea being that the Nobel Committee wants to give him everything necessary to deliver on the ideals that Obama has campaigned on and to a great extent spoken publicly about since assuming the role of President of the United States. The Calgary Herald has a good headline on this – its’ akin to awarding a novelist the award for a book that has yet to be written.

With this unorthodox selection The Nobel Committee to some extent has also acknowledged America’s role as THE super-power, particularly as this president has not even been in office for one year, and in so doing they effectively have put Obama in a corner where before he was unquestionably the President of the United States, today he might have also assumed a role not as the world’s police chief, but rather the world’s peacemaker. How this role reconciles with the role he was voted in for by the American people remains to be seen.

Unquestionably receiving a Nobel Peace Prize is a tremendous honor, but in so receiving such an honor is there an added responsibility to uphold a global view that might not fit exactly in line with Americas view? This is not the sort of award that you put in a closet and let dust collect on it, and so one can only imagine that at crucial times in the Oval Office when confronted with some of these hard decisions such as today when he held an internal meeting on Afghanistan, having been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize might encourage a different response than the response Obama would be inclined to give pre-award all other things being equal.

A few places around the globe that might require a “peacekeeping” effort in the next five years that that leap to mind:

• Afghanistan (currently there are US troops here)
• Iraq (currently there are US troops here)
• Iran
• N. Korea
• Israel/Palestinian Territory
• Saudi Arabia – don’t kid yourselves, the existing government there could easily falter
• Syria
• Somalia
• India – they got the bomb
• Pakistan – and so do they (re: the bomb)
• Guinea – this place is falling apart
• Nigeria – too much oil here combined with too much instability – not a good recipe for tranquility
• Jordan – long live the King, otherwise…
• A number of other nations in Africa
• Russia
• China – plenty of regional confrontations ready to boil up to the surface
• Ukraine – just had a pretty bloody confrontation with Russia
• This list is starting to get pretty long…
• France dealing with their own Muslim population
• Spain/ETA
• Serbia – Times are tight
• Venezuela – Hugo Chavez is certainly an interesting fellow
• Honduras – recently exiled their president
• Turkey – the US has a considerable military presence in this nation, but there is major tension between the government and the military – they’ve had military coups here before
• Indonesia – a radicalized element is gaining steam there
• Philippines – government is currently engaged in a brutal battle with Muslim fundamentalist
• USA – yes, there is always the possibility that something could happen here, even a natural disaster like “Katrina”

And while it might feel premature, this is another in a series of global recognitions of hope and aspirations that people both here in America and across the world have for Obama. For my money it does seem too soon to be giving Obama this award and even more so it seems like an awfully brutal head trip to be “saddled” with a Nobel Peace Prize so early in his presidency, especially considering all the existing and potential quagmires that America faces. Let’s just hope Obama doesn’t blink at the wrong time.

Posted on Saturday, October 10th, 2009 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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