Too much ado about Obama’s Peace Prize

To whom much is given, much is expected.” And President Barack Obama is no exception to the rule. After the Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the President with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize last week for what it termed “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” pundits are still abuzz.

On Friday, Rush Limbaugh, in typical fashion, proclaimed “he doesn’t deserve the award.”

But the committee chair responded to naysayers Tuesday saying, “Alfred Nobel wrote that the prize should go to the person who has contributed most to the development of peace in the previous year … Who has done more for that than Barack Obama?”

Former President Jimmy Carter, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, also defended the committee’s decision yesterday, saying “Obama deserves it as much as anyone who’s ever gotten it for his achievement already … If you talk to almost any person in a foreign country, they would tell you their own particular hopes and dreams and aspirations for the future have been enhanced by the vision that Obama has put forward.”

It seems that in an attempt to promote something positive, this award may have actually done Obama a disservice by raising expectations and giving his opponents ammunition to fire if his policies fall short.

Only nine months into his first term, Obama can already add his name to the list of distinguished figures like Elie Wiesel, Al Gore, Mother Teresa, the 14th Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, who have all won the Nobel Peace Prize. But Conservatives have relentlessly bashed Obama, claiming that he has done nothing to deserve the prestigious award that even Ghandi couldn’t achieve in a lifetime.

President Obama graciously responded to critics by saying, “I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

Obama is only the third sitting US president to have earned this award; Woodrow Wilson won in 1919 and Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906.

Although the Nobel Peace Prize may be premature for a president who was nominated less than two weeks after taking office and has yet to end two violent wars overseas, we cannot overlook the accomplishments that Obama has achieved thus far (unless of course your name is Rush Limbaugh).

Obama has made significant headway toward repairing the United US-Russia relationship that the Bush administration demolished. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote in the Washington Post that “relations soured because of the previous U.S. administration’s plans,” but Obama has initiated the necessary steps to work with Russia, though a lot of work still remains.

Obama has also improved relations with Iran; set a timetable for exiting Iraq that even the Iraqi prime minister has praised; issued an executive order to close the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay; and served as the first US president chair of the United Nations Security Council where he led a resolution to globally advance non-proliferation and disarmament.

But more than adding to this laundry list of tasks, he has also lifted the soured image of the United States around the globe and restored pride to our nation.

It’s obvious that Obama is working hard to promote peace and also improve life domestically for Americans; these changes cannot be expected overnight because we did not get into these situations overnight. Improved international relationships, ending an eight-year war in Afghanistan and a six-year war in Iraq, and improving the US economy will take time.

Obama still has much to do, and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize raised already high expectations to ridiculous heights. Now it is up to Obama and his staff to manage these expectations on the world stage; it is also up to us to be realistic about what we expect from Obama when he has inherited years of problems from the Bush administration.

While many hope that the high-profile nature of the award will bolster Obama’s position in the healthcare reform debate, it will also make his position regarding Afghanistan more difficult at a time when his administration is reassessing their strategy in this “war of necessity” and considering sending in more ground troops.

How does a Peace Prize recipient send additional troops into Afghanistan? Or does he? Only time will tell. Until then — despite the volley of criticism from Rush Limbaugh and other skeptics — we wait, hope and continue to support our president. After all, change is an ongoing process.

Nina Tyler is a junior majoring in English.

5 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    The NFL decides who becomes an owner not the other way around.

    All this blowhard (Rush Hudson Limbaugh A.KA. Jeff Christie) has to offer is his money and his opinions, (which in my opinion are on the fringes of racism, one mans opinion). There are many more groups biding for the Rams, not just his group. Lets face it there are more men with money (Marshall Faulk) that will gladly fill the slot and the Rams will win or lose depending on how well they work as a team and not on whether or not Rush is an owner.

    As for Vick, well he is a player (he has talent not like you, Rush or I, unless you are a NFL player?) and he served his time and the NFL decided we live in the land of second chances, so why not (I personally don’t like it but, oh well). Life has never been fair (NEWS FLASH!)

    Now as to the “Free Speech” argument, I guess many of you like myself heard Rush on Thursday “Almost in tears”, priceless. But the last couple of days he now is in his normal ranting and will continue until someone surpasses him, “Free Speech” continues, so what is being stifled, it simply is not true, of course, you may not have a radio, so you might want to get one.

    PS – I am sure someone is working to put the tapes together maybe all you subscribers can help, since you are all about getting to the truth?

    PPS- Beauty Pageant Judge – Now I understand why he lost the weight, to find a new wife, creepy.

  2. Diane
    Diane says:

    What a lot of ignorance and rot from the commenters, and what a load of nonsense from Nina Tyler. Nina, do you read anything other than the Daily Trojan? Because “pundits” from across the political spectrum, and across many international borders, all criticized this award. Rush Limbaugh is the best you can do? Do your homework before you spout opinions based on nothing but kneejerk liberal dogma.

    Jack–uh, I sincerely hope you’re not a student here because that does not speak well for the university. What does Islamic oppression toward women have to do with conservatives in this country? And Reagan did end the Cold War pal. Ever read any history?

    As for our littel friend Paul… ditto on the “I certainly hope you’re not a student here” sentiment, if only because you seem unable to put together a sentence without some type of grammatical error. And here’s a news flash for you buddy — your “prejudices” are EXACTLY the same level of “putridness” as Rush Limbaugh’s. Some people call them opinions, but I know you lefties like to demonize people with whom you disagree. Pathetic.

  3. Paul
    Paul says:

    It seems to me that all the negative vibes this blowhard (Rush Hudson Limbaugh A.KA. Jeff Christie) has been spewing over these many years has come back to blow back on his face (A classic “Blow Back”). He always tries to give off the airs that he can have anything he wants but as we all witness those with more money and more influence tossed him aside like sack of potatoes and the ultimate insult was that it was done in public (money don’t buy you everything butterball).

    Now of course he blames everyone else (Michael J. Fox, Perez Hilton, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Olympia Snowe, ESPN, NFL, the media, basically people of color, the handicapped, women and gays) when of course all you have to do is listen to his show and plainly hear his daily prejudices filled sermons. So NFL, I salute you decision, job well done. And to the whaling cry baby perched on his self made pedestal, quit your whining it was your own fault. Don’t we all feel better?

  4. Jack
    Jack says:

    You really are deluded if you think Reagan ended the Cold War. His ridiculous defense spending and politics helped create the Iraq War, not to mention the shooting of the Iranian civilian airliner and the countless Iranians killed and gassed by Iraqis, all with convenient U.S. funding. Or perhaps Reagan should have been awarded the Peace Prize for funding the Contras in South America.

    Yes and Afghani villagers are being bombed routinely by U.S. predator drones. We have “liberated” them from their oppression as we have limited the oppressed in the Occupied Territories and in pro-Western countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the latter in which women are not allowed to drive.

    I didn’t think this kind of putrid conservatism was still in fashion but I guess I have a lot to learn.

  5. JoSten
    JoSten says:

    Peace Prizes are not awarded based upon future promise but on passed accomplishments and have been for every other Peace Prize awarded. The Nobel Selection Committee was initially 3-2 AGAINST and was arm twisted into decision by their Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.

    Think for a moment about the peoples of central Europe that were liberated by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The conservative drive of Ronald Reagan delivered peace to a region that had been trampled down for centuries between Austrian-Hungarian, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russian occupations. No Nobel prize for that accomplishment was ever awarded and I don’t think you will find a ranking conservative that has been awarded by this liberal European organization.

    Schools are being built in Afghanistan and women can at least come out of their homes without fear of perscution by the medieval Taliban.

    We can only hope progress with Iran. This is a terrible government and Christian based countries cannot afford to be hoodwinked… The life of Israel and stability in the region is in the balance.

    This prize was awarded because Obama had simply been elected and had campaigned on a platform that the Nobel Committee supports (and to acknowledge the hate for Bushie… ). Bush didn’t run for popularity in Europe, he ran to protect the interests of the United States. With respect to the wars, have any of the Euros stepped up their commitment to a war on terror? No. WW2 happened because of appeasement and the USA had to come in and clean up the mess. We are cleaning up the Al Qaeda mess worldwide and the Euros are going to be the major benefactors.

    Obama has a lot to do to earn this award, let us hope the history books written in a generation are able to confirm the decision on the award and not ridicule it.

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