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Peace Prize Was A Positive Message

Letter to the editor.

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The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama has caused consternation on both sides of the aisle and amongst our perennially uninspiring TV pundits. They ask, "How can a president who has only been in power for 9 months and who is prosecuting two wars, get the Nobel Prize... for Peace?" The hoards of the perpetually perplexed to whom we seem to spend half our lives patiently explaining the simple things of life ... are, as expected, confused, nonplussed, indignant and angry. Here, again, Obama's detractors miss the point - they fail to grasp the meaning of this particular Nobel Prize, a prize that cannot be understood from the perspective of American politics.

In effect, the Nobel committee has issued a statement of hope on behalf of the rest of the civilized world that the US will finally put an end to the unilateralism and embarrassing "Cowboy Diplomacy" of the Bush years. Obama's prize, awarded before he had actually achieved much by way of peace or diplomacy, is merely an example of positive reinforcement like an enticement given to a delinquent child when he first demonstrates good actions or words. Here a chronically errant world power that has been playing the role of Rogue Super Nation for the last 8 years (or longer, by some estimates!) is being rewarded just for saying it intends to "try harder" in the future. Obama's Nobel Prize rewards statements of intent, subtle diplomatic shifts and nuanced hints that the US will soon be rejoining the community of civilized nations. It is not an award for things already achieved but for things to be achieved and it is a great statement of confidence in the American people.


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