Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama's Nobel Prize? (and an honor for Bill Clinton too)

I'll admit, I was pretty surprised to wake up this morning to hear that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. It's nice to know that he was pretty surprised himself.

Don't get me wrong, I think Obama, in broad terms, is on the right path in International Affairs: his multilateral approach to world affairs is correct - no single power dominates the world and future cooperation will depend on building coalitions to tackle global problems; I agree with his calls in Ghana and at the United Nations for countries to work together on common problems and for people around the world to hold their governments accountable fpr their actions (or inactions); he's right to try to "reset" relations with Russia; and while I think trying to rid the world of nuclear weapons is a pipe-dream, the goal at least is a nice one.

But I have to wonder what the Nobel Committee was thinking - Obama has great promise (their rationale in giving him the Prize), but little concrete success so far. Historically the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to people or groups in recognition of a past success, like when Menachem Begin and Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat won in 1978 for signing the historic peace deal between Israel and Egypt, not to people for what they may do in the future.

And as Obama was getting his Nobel Peace Prize, former President Bill Clinton was getting an award of his own - a giant statue of himself to be unveiled in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. The Kosovars hail Clinton as the man who convinced NATO to launch an aerial bombing campaign against Serbia, bringing to an end what the Kosovars say was a Serbian genocide against them and eventually setting the stage for them to declare independence from Serbia.

No word yet on whether Clinton will travel to Kosovo to see his likeness unveiled.
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