Friday, October 09, 2009

How's this for timely posting?

So the president won the Nobel Peace Prize. Nominations had to be in scant days after his election, so I can't help but think he really got the award for becoming president. From the official press release:

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics....

Has he? I see some shift in attitudes, but not anything substantial. At least Clinton got the Israelis and the Palestinians to talk--not that it lasted longer than anybody had that "Wow, he did it" feeling. I suppose having people feel optimistic when they see or hear you is a decent passive superpower, though.

Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.

Yeah, because in the past we had leaders who gleefully bathed in the blood of innocent soldiers, and now we're enlightened enough to realize we can talk and listen to each other and resolve things. Or give ourselves a nice civilized feeling while slowing the fuse on historical conflicts that would take more than a week-long summit to assuage. Or something.

The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations

What is this, 1985?

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

He's captured the world's attention, all right, or at least that of Europe and a few major American metropoli. I'm skeptical that the hope everyone in the world seems to be feeling about times to come was derived from any particular positive action on the part of our president.

You know how the routine goes. Democrat gets elected, the talking heads breathe a sigh of relief about getting back to their agenda of Progress and Getting Alongness. At least, that's how it was this time and last time. I don't have a meaningful recollection of Carter's election, so maybe this is one of those new traditions people keep starting.

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.

I can't tell if this is about who has the largest intellectual market share or if it's really an attempt to cultivate a sort of republican milieu. Fine, if the values of the majority are what you want to perpetuate.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman.

When most businesses and sweepstakes organizations list the prizes for their contests, they exclude their own employees and their family members from participating because it's a conflict of interest. Organizations with mascots usually pay them hourly.

I was disinclined to comment on international politics after Yasser Arafat won back in the 90s, but when I see something like this, I have to ask if anyone else notices the emperor's absence of clothing.

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