According to Reuters:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," citing his fledgling push for nuclear disarmament and his outreach to the Muslim world.And here the article points us to the real reason: the Nobel Committee is saying 9 months of President Obama have been better than 8 years of President George W. Bush.
Obama has been widely credited with improving America's global image after the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, who alienated both friends and foes with go-it-alone policies like the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
I am more than willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt, but every award I know honors people for their body of work, not the environment of hope they create. Think of all the awards we could give ourselves based on great expectations. Imagine all the prizes the George W. Bush Administration would have won in the months after 9/11 based on the sympathy the world had for us. Bono of U2 has done more than Obama over the course of his career, if your only criteria is setting an atmosphere of good feelings.
At least President Obama recognizes the stakes just got higher:
"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership," he said in the White House Rose Garden. "I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century."Just to remind you, he's still got Iraq on his plate, along with troop-strength decisions in Afghanistan, a nuclear crisis in Iran and North Korea, nuttiness from Venezuela, and whatever Russia's doing these days.
My friend Peter says this about Obama's Prize: "I compare it to giving Lindsey Lohan an Oscar in anticipation of some future comeback."
A lot of us don't really care who wins an Oscar anymore, as evidenced by declining ratings for the Academy Awards. The Nobel Peace Prize is now losing that luster. The awards for medicine still have some of my personal respect, and hopefully that will continue.