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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize: Open Thread

In an unexpected move, the Nobel Committee have awarded President Obama the Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”.

The Five member committee highlighted Mr Obama’s efforts to strengthen international bodies and promote nuclear disarmament.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future…. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

This year there were a record 205 nominations for this year’s prize (Zimbabwe’s prime minister and a Chinese dissident had been among the favourites) but apart from a gold medal, a diploma and 10m Swedish kronor, this kind of international recognition is a useful reminder

After all the smears, tears and madness of the last few months, let’s not forget that, while a symbol of everything some people hate (and others love) Obama has already started implementing policy, and making a difference.

But you may have a different point of view. To quote the tweet of a British friend of mine:

Obama wins nobel peace prize. That’s torn it. The American right are never going to talk to Europe ever again.


  1. …in less than a year, you and your administration have already made the world a safer place. Of course, the expectations were unreasonably high, and some people will say everything is wrong because not everything is right. But hey, kind of makes up a bit for not winning the Olympic bid for Chicago (which you would have never have won anyway).

  2. Tell me again, why do you hate the troops?

    Not to hero-worship the guy too much, but aside from the expected tactical wobbles and screwups I think the man in the boring suits is right on track in regards to managing the much over-obsessed Bipartisan Debate.  While what passes in public for “the Right” (Beck, Rush et al) has made much noise about The Coming Stalinist State, to the vocal Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth of what passes in public for “the Left” (MSNBC [less the morning crew], the liberal blogosphere) the skinny guy with the tie has been plodding ahead largely undistracted, apparently focused on some point over the horizon from the immediate-gratification distances the rest us aren’t looking past.

    I have been spending most of my time in recent months talking with my more conservative friends (folks who are at least as far to the right of me as I am to the right of many of the Moose regulars).  While there aren’t more “Hallelujah!” moments than should be expected, there is considerably more tolerance – and to some level, often even respect – than the tenor of the political-junkie conversation would indicate.  One of my more cognizant conservative friends recently said:

    Obama’s pretty much doing what he said he’d do.  If not exactly, it’s what a reasonable person should have known he’d do based on his record of voting, statements, associations, and actions.  

    While I vehemently disagree with much of what he’s trying to do and why, there are some nuggets, and the jury’s still out.  He’s still got ~3.25 years left to do his thing…

    …which is more logical and understanding than watching cable news would lead to you anticipate.  I’m even with him on some things – and always have been – not being a huge fan of bigger government as a whole but willing to give the smart Dem president a chance.   I’m no more worried about any Dem president actually turning American into East Germany than I am any GOP president turning America into fascist Italy and, like most folks I think, willing to see how it works out once one or the other takes the reins.

    Conservatives aren’t about to become Liberals any more than Liberals are about to become Conservatives, but it seems that most of the “controversy” of recent months has been ginned up by the tiny majority who pay enormous amounts of attention to politics (mea culpa).  Pretty well everyone else is already getting pretty tired of it and are making the reasonable choices we all make when listening to two people disagree: deciding which one is being rational and which one is yelling at a fire hydrant.  While the fringe Right has been shouting fire in a theater for most of the year and the visible GOP politicians have mostly been trying to be seen to not disagree with them, Obama has been doing his Bob Newhart impression and just trying to keep the office running.  In fact, in the first year of his administration may in retrospect remind most people of one long therapy session with Bob as the shrink and Glen Beck as the patient.

  3. DTOzone

    was “for what?”

    and then when I realized the rationale, I smiled.

    This sorta reminded me of when I won this leadership award in high school, it was a major prestigious award and I felt as though maybe I wasn’t fully deserving of it.

    I had won “for his remarkably ability to bring students together for a common cause”

    I disagreed, but I realized that I had gotten the award as much for my potential as for my deeds. I decided to make myself agree and spent the next two years living up to the award.

    I suspect President Obama will do the same thing. Perhaps he will put himself front and center in the movement for nuclear disarmament, perhaps he will figure out the Israel/Palestine fracas. What this does is show that the world thinks this man has so much potential…and that they’re thankfull that us Americans have given him to them.

    This is a honor not only for the man, but for the country he leads.  

  4. fogiv

    The sound of right-wing bloviards will be heard from coast to coast.  Already, it has begun with everyone’s favorite, Erick “Shoot First” Erickson:

    I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.

    Way to bring race into it, d-bag.

  5. creamer

     I’m just gonna go with the feeling. The right will be upset, but generaly they don’t concern themselves with peace anyway.

  6. NavyBlueWife

    But who the fuck cares what the crazy right wing thinks anymore?

    They are not part of any REAL and REASONABLE DISSENT.  They hate for hate’s sake.  They would throw shit on Jesus if he DID come back and sided with Obama.

    Obama HAS DONE remarkable things on the world stage.  Bush, Cheney, and his cronies not only screwed over our country for the past 8 years, but they brought that insanity to the world stage.  Obama has started since Day ONE to reset the tone on the world stage.  He has reached out to be diplomatic, as he said he would do.  The fucking right can hate all they want, and all that hate is going to do is make those who hate us dig their heels in and want to pull the trigger on massive destruction even more.  They are the ones making the world more unsafe.

    And somehow, we keep giving these major asshats a voice…which makes me…


    Let them rant and rave in their padded rooms.  Thank god we live in a country where they can say the dumb shit that they do…but that freedom doesn’t guarantee them a voice on the national stage.  And that’s where the press, Congress, the blogosphere, etc. are really fucking it up.  The lunatic fringe can say whatever they want, but WE DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN or give it a national stage or especially give some sort of credibility to it.  Now, I wish that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would get this message and start being LEADERS as they are supposed to be.  The time for reasoning with those who would yell at fire hydrants is over.

    I say this is AWESOME for our President and for our country.  The vast majority of the people in the world and in our country will agree that it is awesome.  And that’s good enough for me.  Those who would applaud the failure of our country and boo any victory can STFU; their hate is predictable, and they aren’t getting any more of my time for their manufactured bullshit.

  7. louisprandtl

    and actually understandable. Obama made a great change in the World of international polity. By cooling down the heated rhetoric that was synonymous with the Bush administration, bringing back America to the multi-lateralism and international cooperation table, recognizing the ills of global climate change and America’s role in it et al. America carries a big stick in the World, it is not apparent to us, but the rest of World can be both amazed or terrified by what we do sometimes..Obama’s greatest contribution thus far is reaching out to the Muslim World, restarting Israel-Palestinian peace process, starting back channel talks with Cuba and Iran, making sure the multilateral cooperation energized to take care of North Korea’s nuclear proliferation problem et al.

    While this was a surprise, I think Obama fully deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.It is very appropriate to read what Shimon Peres said

    “Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact,” President Shimon Peres of Israel said in a congratulatory letter to Mr. Obama. “You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a lord in heaven and believers on earth.”

    I think he summed it up very well.



  8. alyssa chaos

    Im proud of Obama and think its awesome but confused…

    my first reaction: why?

    I need time to think this over

    [im late for work!]

  9. is disarmament. This is also one of Obama’s main issues. Talks have already been started with Russia to reduce nuclear arsenals and he defused a tense situation with Russia by redeploying the missile shield. In addition, Obama has changed the tenor of international dialogue. This started before he was elected with his world tour last fall. The U.S. had dropped to 7th on the world’s most respected country list. It has regained the top spot since Obama’s election. This is a rather amazing turn-around. It speaks as much to the world’s view of the American electorate as it does to Obama.

    What I find amazing are the complaints that Obama is nothing more than an empty suit with lots of words. Are people blind to the world we live in? Words matter. After all, the Bible and Koran are nothing more than a collection of words.

    I also see a change on the Right because of this award. They are all saying things like, “Well, he gives great speeches and he is an amazing orator, but what has he done? What happened to the teleprompter meme? Is it dead?

  10. Shaun Appleby

    I think we may be missing the point of the award somewhat:

    Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and a former prime minister of Norway, said the president had already contributed enough to world diplomacy and international understanding to earn the award.

    “We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future, but for what he has done in the previous year,” Mr. Jagland said. “We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.”

    Sheryl Gay Stolberg – Obama Says He’s ‘Surprised’ and ‘Humbled’ by Nobel Prize NYT 9 Oct 09

    For those of us overseas it is hard to explain to our Stateside brethren the significance of the change which has already occurred.  Over the past decade the sense of alienation, dread and mistrust created by the perception of an increasingly arrogant and selfish Imperial America loose on the world stage has been clearly discernable among even those who would be considered former well-wishers and potential allies.  Obama’s candidacy undermined this view, his electoral victory clearly altered it.  Whatever his achievements to date if you take this subtle but intrinsic change and multiply it by the billions of people whom it affects it becomes something very, very tangible indeed.

    That this award would be immediately seen as a political ‘liability’ to the President domestically is just an indication of how astute the world had been in its apprehensions and how much work is left to be accomplished.

  11. spacemanspiff

    Holy shit.

    Your are reading me reacting to this in real time.

    So has the whole world drunk the Kool Aide?

    (has this joke been said already in various other forms?)

    Ok. Since this is so fucking crazy and I’m just writing whatever the fuck comes

    to my mind.

    Before I find out how “corrupt” the organization is or before I read about past

    Nobel Peace Prize winners who later fucked up.


    more importantly ….


    Seriously. I’m just reading this and haven’t even stopped laughing yet.

    Are they that fucking predictable?

    As a average informed person on this prize I think it is very cool. This is of course before I become a fucking expert. I’m going to find out shit about the Prize I never knew or cared about. Thanks blogs!

    This is AWESOME.

    I’ve been laughing uncontrollably since I read this.

    Yes. Right now I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe.

    Can’t wait to hit up the freeper sites with Barack Obonga by my side.

    Epic Obama Pictures, Images and Photos

  12. NavyBlueWife

    This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I’d been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

    To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

    But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

    That is why I’ve said that 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. These challenges won’t all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it’s recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

    This award — and the call to action that comes with it — does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

    So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we’ve begun together. I’m grateful that you’ve stood with me thus far, and I’m honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

    Thank you,

    President Barack Obama

  13. fogiv

    …the more I think about this, the more clear it becomes.  This award for Obama signals that the international community recognizes that the country driven into a ditch by an arrogant and dangerous frat boy has been extricated, and with a new dude behind the wheel, is finally motoring down the road in the right direction.  Also, we’re far less likely to bomb the shit out of random countries for no reason whatsoever.  That alone is worth the friggin’ prize.

  14. HappyinVT

    The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee – four of whom spoke to The Associated Press, said awarding Obama the peace prize could be seen as an early vote of confidence intended to build global support for the policies of his young administration.

    They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama’s calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease U.S. conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen its role in combating climate change.

    “Some people say – and I understand it – ‘Isn’t it premature? Too early?’ Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now,” Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told the AP. “It is now that we have the opportunity to respond – all of us.”

    Has a slight ring of “the fierce urgency of now” to it.

  15. From: Carol

    Sent on: Friday, October 9, 2009 7:56 PM

    The Nobel Prize is awarded in Norway, not Switzerland.

    From: Tara

    Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 7:29 PM

    Subject: Re: [The-Sarasota-Glenn-Beck-Meetup-Group] E-mail the Norwegian Nobel Committee

    isn’t that the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard?  bono who’s done all the things he’s done got passed over again for this scumbag??  while I don’t agree with him politically he’s done waaay more than obama for years!!  obama gets in office and 10 months later gets a nobel peace prize???  are they nuts!!??  however, it’s switzerland, who are communists anyway so we can’t be really suprised, can we?

    God bless you, Carol.

    The conversation sorta died out there.  

    I was going to add that Switzerland has been practicing one form of Democracy or another since 1515 and Norway’s US-inspired Constitution has been referred to as “the most radically democratic of it’s time”, but I think there are enough people over there smacking their foreheads at the moment…  

  16. rfahey22

    I can’t in good conscience say that he “deserves” the award for anything that has been accomplished this year (other than perhaps altering the world’s perceptions of the U.S., but that work was half accomplished when it was revealed that he was not, in fact, George Bush), and certainly not more than any number of peace activists throughout the world.  That said, I can understand a strategy of rewarding the administration for adopting a more inclusive foreign policy. It has ticked off a number of my family members, though, who subscribe to the belief that Obama hasn’t accomplished much in life and has been disproportionately rewarded.      

  17. creamer

    They never miss a chance to proclaim their disdain for anything foreign, so why do they care? Oh, asked and answered.

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