America's new president Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this morning for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples."
Mr. Obama is the fourth U.S. president to win the peace price but the first to win for - in the words of the Norwegian selection committee - providing "hope for a better future" rather than any particular accomplishment.
I've been quite impressed with Obama since he took office. In particular, the international tone he's set has gone a long way to reversing the anti-Americanism that Bush left as his legacy. However, as the comminique reveals, this award is based on "hope", which is a pretty flimsy rationale. I would argue that deeds are deserving, while possibilities are just that.
For the life of me, I can't think of one area where Obama has distinguished himself, where he's made a difference, to validate his selection. There are plenty of working pieces in play, around the world, but none of Obama's initiatives have borne fruit, so it's far to premature to bestow such an honor.
This award looks to be more a popularity contest, than what I thought it stood for, historically speaking. I agree with past winner Walesa:
“Who? What? So fast?” Mr. Walesa, who eventually become Poland's president, said when told the news.
“There’s hasn’t been any contribution to peace yet. He’s proposing things, he’s initiating things, but he is yet to deliver,” Mr. Walesa said
An award based on hype, which is unfortunate. Again, not a criticism of Obama, just the rationale.