This is a short post to celebrate the award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to our American President, Barack Obama.
The award of the prize to him seems to have taken everyone by surprise, even the White House itself. The President says he was humbled by the committee's vote. Responses to this announcement from around the world have been largely positive.
Negative comments have come from the predictable places. The Taliban, through a spokesman, said that President Obama had done nothing to bring peace to Afghanistan. Considering that they're at war with NATO troops and Afghan army and police forces in various parts of that country, that's not too surprising. The only way that they would say that peace had been brought to that country would be by the Allied forces laying down their arms and surrendering. I don't see that happening. Sorry, mullahs.
Yes, negative comments came from the predictable places. That includes many members of the Republican Party. What they had to say sounded more like sour grapes than anything, since the words of the Nobel Committee announcement sounded like a pretty direct slap at the last American President in the White House. The most responsible thing that I heard any member of the GOP say was from Mike Huckabee, who said that conservative politicians need to moderate their criticism of the decision, because it will sound like "right-wing whining."
All in all, this honor is as much for the attitude change that the Obama administration has brought about in our relationship to the rest of the world as it is about the agenda that the President has set out. We here in the United States seem to be oblivious to how much of the world sees us. We need to realize that too often we view the world through a set of very provincial lenses, lenses that don't serve us well to see the world as it really is in all its complexity and variety.
Congratulations, Mr. President. You've done us proud!