In what some would consider an appropriate headline for The Onion, this morning the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to President Barack Obama. Journalists in the hall were stunned upon the announcement. I know this might come across as an anti-Obama opinion, but I don’t feel anything negative towards Obama for the award. I’m more shocked at how a once illustrious award has been muddied in the politics of today’s world. Obama is third Democrat given the peace prize since 2002 – Carter in ’02 and Gore in ’07 being the others. An award given to such luminaries as Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela for a lifetime of work, was given to President Obama for 9 months of hedging his bet and giving speeches of vast rhetoric and promise without much action to date.
An alternate headline I was considering for this article was “Johnny M. agrees with Hamas”, but I decided against it. Figure I dont want that coming up if someone searches my name. But in actuality I agree with Hamas Official Sami Abu Zuhri when he said after learning of the prize awarded to Obama, “Obama has a long way to go still and lots of work to do before he can deserve a reward. Obama only made promises and did not contribute any substance to world peace. And he has not done anything to ensure justice for the sake of Arab and Muslim causes.”
The thing that boggles the mind is how the committee found achievements worthwhile of this achievement. Even the Left has been writing for months that Obama has done nothing to distance himself from the policies of the Bush Administration. Polls back this up in that foreign policy typically garners Obama his highest popularity from conservatives and lowest number from progressives. The angst among progressives is usually drawn from the fact Obama has done little to change the approach on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from President Bush. So while these policies left Bush with a tranished reputation as a war monger, Obama is acclaimed an agent of peace. Obama has tried opening talks between the Israelis and the Palestianes but has acheived nothing of importance. He has done nothing to draw down nuclear threats from Iran or North Korea. Even when peaceful visitors like the Dalai Lama visit the States as he did this week, Obama cant find the time to meet with him.
From Reuters: Issam al-Khazraji, a day laborer in Baghdad, said: “He doesn’t deserve this prize. All these problems — Iraq, Afghanistan — have not been solved…The man of ‘change’ hasn’t changed anything yet.”
So I wonder again – What has Obama done in 9 months to earn this achievement? Are we so shallow that hope has replaced achievement as an honorable virtue among our world leaders?