This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



October 2009

Peace Prize? Really?

OK, I generally like the guy and think he is doing a decent job (mostly, with some major exceptions)… but isn’t this more than a little premature? Has he actually done anything yet that really deserves that? I see a lot of potential for the future, but no actual real notable results yet that would be worthy. Perhaps that is just me.

(Just got a text message with a CNN News Alert that Obama just won the Nobel Peace Prize.)

17 comments to Peace Prize? Really?

  • Reb

    I agree, he hasn’t even closed Guantanamo yet.

    I assume this is international encouragement (perhaps some gentle pressure) for him to make good on the US’s change of course. I’m not sure if this will help make that happen or not, but I sure hope so.

  • brandy

    I don’t know… maybe he hasn’t done much, but he HAS caused positive changes to the global opinion of the US. Now granted, not bombing everyone who pisses you off is one hell of a change from the previous administration, but still, it IS something. We’ve gone from being viewed as a solitary tyrant to a nation other nations want to communicate ad work with.
    In the beginning Obama got crap for being willing to talk to just about anyone in order to improve relations, maybe that is what this is about.

  • I think the thing here is that while there have been some immediate changes in PERCEPTION internationally and while there has certainly started to be movement in some areas that have been stalled for many years, this has basically just opened up new possibilities… very few of those possibilities have yet been realized. It may well be that lots of good things do end up coming out of the changes Obama has started in his first 9 months… but it just seems premature to be giving awards about it already. In a few years we will have a much better idea of what has worked out and what has not worked out, and what the ACTUAL results of Obama’s approach will have been… rather than just an optimistic appraisal of what might yet be to come.

    Having said that, I understand the argument that the change in international attitudes toward the US might be “enough” without needing other “results”. It just seems that is pretty slim by itself.

    OH, and of course I must add, that the Nobel committee is of course a private group, and are perfectly entitled to give their prize to whoever they want. And they certainly haven’t had a perfect track record there anyway. I just think this one would perhaps have made more sense being given to a post-Presidential Obama years from know when we will know what his full impact was or was not.

  • From VH via Facebook:

    The only thing he has accomplished in that vein is getting elected, which salved a lot of racial wounds in this country, although it has unfortunately created opportunities to gouge open many others. I don’t know who else was considered, but perhaps it says more about what other people haven’t done, than about what he has?

    (7 hours ago)

  • From JH via Facebook:

    Sam, I was about the post pretty much the same message as you. My guess is that is has to do with his policies to reverse a lot of the extremely destructive trends in US foreign policy (ending torture, reestablishing rule of law, promoting nuclear disarmament, reengaging diplomatic channels, etc), as opposed to any result from the above. Regardless, it is a bit weird.

    (4 hours ago)

  • From RK via Facebook:

    Without GWB preceding him there is no way he would have gotten this prize. Bush had to set up a situation so bad that all you needed was a little reasonableness to seem, well …. worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. I am more or less an Obama supporter but even I think there might have been more deserving less famous people out there.

    (4 hours ago)

  • From BF via Facebook:

    Hm. So he has done nothing? Only 9 months? How about very courageous and lonely stance against the Iraq war three years ago, then a 24 month backbreaking campaign with peace at the center of it? It’s not as if he just showed up as the “not Bush.”

    (3 hours ago)

  • From RK via Facebook:

    I wouldn’t say he’s done nothing, I am an Obama supporter. I am saying he hasn’t done enough to deserve Nobel Peace Prize. I hope and suspect he will be deserving in about 7 years. But 2009? Many commentators are throwing around Morgan Tsvangirai as an example of someone who more fits the profile, I would agree with that. I think without Bush’s set up there is no way Obama would have been nominated. I think he should respectfully decline.

    (3 hours ago)

  • From JS via Facebook:

    Didn’t they give Yasser Arafat one of those things?

    (2 hours ago)

  • From RA via Facebook:

    With a war criminal like Henry Kissinger as a predecessor winner, it’s hard to be too critical of the choice of somebody who’s begun the hard slog toward peace.

    (57 minutes ago)

  • From BF via Facebook:

    “Without Bushe’s set up there is no way Obama would have been nominated….” Hmmm. Got to think about that one. Isn’t that a little like saying “without the whole slave thing, Abe would not have amounted to much”? Gotta think that changing the foreign and military policy of the most powerful nation on earth from a stance of war to one of peace, as a candidate and government official is, well, not too shabby. Winning the nomination and the election is not exactly one of those “particpant” awards where you get a white ribbon for showing up.

    (56 minutes ago)

  • From BF via Facebook:

    Rich, I think you are wrong on the whole war criminal thing. I think Kissinger is more a domestic traitor for short ciruiting the whole LBJ peace process with Madame Cheung. Don’t want to seem an apologist for the man, but those are my thoughts.

    (44 minutes ago)

  • From SM via Facebook:

    I take the point that suddenly changing things in such a way that international opinion and willingness to work with us changed significantly almost overnight is indeed something significant in and of itself. I just think something like this would make more sense after the man is no longer in the White House, when we’ll be able to look back and evaluate not just these initial changes that perhaps open new possibilities, but when we’ll be able to see how those possibilities actually worked out. It just seems early.

    (2 seconds ago)

  • From SM via Facebook:

    Note for those following this back and forth only on Facebook… there have been additional comments beyond the ones above on the actual blog post that was mirrored as a Facebook note. You can see that at if you are so inclined.

    (2 seconds ago)

  • October 9, 2009 — 12:15 p.m. Obama: Peace Prize Is ‘Call to Action’
    President Barack Obama said Friday that he is honored to win the Nobel Peace Prize and will accept it as a “call to action” to solve the problems of the 21st century.

    Appearing in the Rose Garden Friday, Mr. Obama acknowledged he was “both surprised and deeply humbled” to win the award. In a surprise pick, the Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the president’s creation of a “new climate in international politics” and his work on nuclear disarmament.

    Mr. Obama said he doesn’t view the award “as a recognition of my own accomplishments,” but rather as a recognition of goals he has set for the U.S. and the world. Mr. Obama said, “I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize.”

  • Rob Drysdale

    Let me start by saying that I don’t live in the US and don’t think the US foreign policy has been well thought out for the eight years previous to Obama taking office but I’m not a USA hater or an Obama lover. Having said that, the tone of communication coming from Washington since Obama took office has been a rational calming one. Whereas the communication of the previous at least eight years felt more like that of a dictator that did not control your country… yet!

    Obama’s actions have had a soothing affect on the world at a very dangerous time when previous US governments in attempt to look strong have fanned the flames of anti-US and anti-western culture sentiment.

    For the sudden change in global tension he has brought, Obama deserves recognition. A nobel prize… well, I think Sam is right, it’s a bit early for that.

  • I got excited for a bit by that Obama comment, thinking the White House had some bot out there replying to every blog post mentioning the Nobel Prize, but then I saw it was one of my regular readers. Still cool, but not AS cool.

    Anyway, I think Obama responded appropriately, doing the “I’ll interpret this as a call to action” sort of thing. The Nobel committee implied as much. But still… I think this kind of thing is always better as a cap to recognize lifetime achievement or whatnot, rather for someone who, hopefully, is just getting started. Maybe what he has already done is positive enough for some recognition, but I do hope that when look back many years from now, there will be a lot more positive stuff to look at. Or, on the flip side, if there isn’t, then we will KNOW that this award was premature. :-)

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