In what is bound to be the most controversial handing out of a coveted prize since Zoilo Versalles was named the American League MVP in 1965, President Obama, the man at the helm of two wars that few would argue are going well, awoke yesterday to learn that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Sure beats me waking up to learn I still had a bite of pizza in my mouth.
I haven't read up on this yet, and I'm going merely by gut reaction, but I have a feeling this may just have something to do with the way this country conducted itself from 2000-2008. Having spent a decent amount of time in Europe during those eight years, we had the chance to talk to a lot of people and gather their impressions about the US and its president. Their collective opinion was one of almost unqualified disdain. You think a 30% approval rating was low? Try asking the French.
So, is the giant sigh of relief that the world exhaled when the Bush regime finally rolled over and died enough for his successor to claim an award that has been given to the likes of Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela? I don't know. Elie Wiesel commented that this Nobel Prize was based on a beginning. In other words, the award is based on what Obama is trying to do--fix the economy, reform healthcare, end two wars, reduce carbon emissions and resuscitate our standing in the world--rather than what he's done. Does that make the decision controversial? Considering that the Bush presidency wasn't very interested in most of the stuff listed above, stuff that much of the developed world considers vital, and considering that a great deal of what Obama is trying to accomplish amounts to bringing the most powerful nation in the world up to speed, maybe it's not as crazy as it seems.
Still, I'm going to withhold the McBone Seal of Approval on this one.
Incidentally, I would also argue that Obama may be slightly more deserving than some of the other past winners.
PS--Check out West Lawn Park's more thoughtful take on this subject.