Thoughts on the Prize

What with this health care reform business going on, I haven’t had much time to post lately, but I figured I Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize merited some comment. So, a few thoughts.

First, I think there’s some merit to the idea that Obama hasn’t really done much to deserve the award — though he has clearly affected some change with respect to non-proliferation and climate change. And of course, his commitment to peace in the Middle East is nice, but thus far he seems reluctant to really pressure Israel. Anyway, none of these things represent serious, world changing accomplishments — they’re merely progress relative to the Bush Era.

Second, this award clearly comes with expectations. That is, the foreign policy of the United States won’t be set to accord solely with the expectations of international elites, but the award is demonstration of support for certain items on Obama’s agenda that tend to be less popular with neoconservatives at home (i.e., everything but the “Afghanistan Surge”). Accordingly, this crystallization of international sentiment might help build momentum on pressing multilateral projects like Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and climate change.

Most clearly though, this is really all much more entertaining as a matter of watching the right wing cast itself into fits of adolescent smugness and indignant outrage. And then there’s the sort of bizarre: we have Jonah Goldberg arguing that this could have been prevented by Mike Ditka and this hilarious entry by Bill Kirstol hoping for the fall of Communist America:

Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. A year later, he was out of power and the Soviet Union had dissolved.

I don’t mean to compare Barack Obama to Gorbachev, who was, whatever his faults, a truly historic and courageous figure. But let’s hope the parallel extends this far: that a year from now the Democrats suffer a major electoral repudiation, and that the New Liberalism goes the way of Reform Communism. And that, beginning in 2013, Obama will have lots of free time to spend hobnobbing with Gorbachev on the international celebrity circuit.

Lastly, as always, the Chamberlain Watch is on.


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