[Said Obama during his speech:] "Adhering to this law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature. We are fallible. We make mistakes, and fall victim to the temptations of pride, and power, and sometimes evil. Even those of us with the best intentions will at times fail to right the wrongs before us. But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected."
Both the Right and the Left in the United States have joined in disbelief at the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama. For the Right, the decision constitutes further proof of Europe’s moral decadence, for the Left, the award seems premature and complicates Obama’s position on the home front. In fact, the award signals a cry for leadership of a global civil society that is fitfully emerging, and which an American president, precisely because of his own country’s power, is best positioned to take on.
Obama faces the challenge of restoring the United States' credibility at a time when repressive governments -- emboldened by the increasing influence of authoritarian powers such as China and Russia -- seek to undermine the enforcement of international human rights standards. As he put it when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States cannot "insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves." His Nobel speech in Oslo also affirmed the U.S. government's respect for the Geneva Conventions.
The committee commended Obama's push for nuclear disarmament, his outreach to the Muslim world and his turn from the unilateralism that guided George W. Bush, although the former president was not named. Obama, as if acknowledging the unusual nature of the award, accepted it "as a call to action" rather than as a reward for past accomplishments.
President Obama, who has pledged to place diplomacy ahead of confrontation in world affairs, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a remarkable and controversial honor for a leader just nine months in office. The award committee cited Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," and said that he had given the world "hope for a better future."
The chairman of the Republican National Committee would agree [with a former chairman of the judging committee, who wrote in 2001 that the choice of a recipient is always "to put it bluntly, a political act"]. He quickly fired off a fund-raising e-mail headed “Nobel Peace Prize for Awesomeness,” calling the choice proof that “the Democrats and their international leftist allies want America made subservient to the agenda of global redistribution and control.”
We can take it as a sign of what a lucky fellow our President is that winning the Nobel Peace Prize has been widely counted a bad break for him. Barack Obama has come very far very fast. Five years ago, not long after finishing a distant second for a Chicago congressional nomination, he was still one of the hundred and seventy-seven members of the Illinois state legislature. Four years ago, he took his seat in the United States Senate, ushered there not only by his own undoubted talents but also by the serial self-destruction of his opponents.
President Obama didn't say the word "Iraq" once in his lengthy speech in Oslo, Norway, upon accepting his Nobel Peace Prize. Nor was he overtly vindictive toward his predecessor, and nor did he seek to score points for not being President Bush--it was mostly a discussion of war, peace, and how Obama sees international security.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened. 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.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.