Friday, October 09, 2009

Guaranteed to Make the Right's Wing-Nuts' Heads Explode

From the New York Times:
President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced in Oslo that it has awarded the annual prize to the president “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” The award cited in particular Mr. Obama’s effort to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenal.

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said.

The announcement, coming extraordinarily early in Mr. Obama’s presidency — less than nine months after he took office as the first African American president — shocked people from Norway to Washington.
Anyone want to get in on a poll as to how many right-wing blogs will quip: "Well, sure, we've always said he's in a class with Arafat."?

The truth of the matter is, Obama has achieved something else in a remarkably short period of time. Something that I had considered perhaps lost for my lifetime. From yahoo news:
The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.

It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).

"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009," said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

He believes that during the previous administration of George W. Bush the United States suffered in the world ranking with its unpopular foreign policies but since Obama was elected, and despite the recent economic turmoil, the country's status has risen globally.

"There is no other explanation," Anholt said in an interview, referring to the impact of Obama.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not signing onto to the "Obama walks on water" bandwagon.... As Andrew Sullivan has called it, his "urgency of whenever" on certain issues is far too political to be let off the hook.

Still, if the President of the United States is the symbol of who we are and what we stand for to the rest of the world, and we all grow up and realize that how the rest of the world views us is indeed tied to our collective fortunes and that we, as a super power, have responsibilities to the rest of the world, it's nothing short of miraculous that one person has so turned the tide in perceptions.

Congratulations Mr. President. Just don't let it go to your head and make sure you do something good with the platform it gives you.

Labels: politics


Blogger nathaniel said...

I agree on both points. I've been a bit disappointed in Obama (and found myself nodding at the recent SNL skit here), but still believe that even language and images alone (and they are not alone in this case - he has done a bit more than simply talk) have the power to change everything. (I suppose this is what I am an artist and writer). Obama signifies something amazing about us now, and for our future.

10/09/2009 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

Peace prize? When we're still in Iraq, and Obama wants to increase troops in Afghanistan - with no real end in sight for either war? Hope trumps reality.

10/09/2009 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Gam said...


That Nobel can go from a weapons manufacturer to doing something as fabulous as recognizing such contributions to humanity is amazing. I applaud them as much as their recipients.

I am curious, though. Thinking of the arts and the vitality of cosmopolitan cities, and evolution in the zones where two biospheres meet, it is always apparent that the more diverse the options, the greater the potential for sustained success.

So what of this polarization in American politics? This seemingly Jekyll and Hyde dynamic (you choose whom is whom)- is that one of the sources of American ingenuity and leadership?

Do arts thrive only in controversy?
Am I confounding diversity with choice?

bravo again to President Obama, but that sudden swing in the worlds perception raises many " I wonder" questions for me.

10/09/2009 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Do you realize how many women already love this guy and have pictures and hand puppets (really) of him. Do realize what I'm listening to this morning..ooohhh Baarrraaaccck, sigh.

But, it is a great day for America!

10/09/2009 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Brent said...

I am not a partisan warrior, and generally Left-of-center, and to me this is a head scratcher. Usually I can agree to their nominations, and most of the time the winner can point to something specific and say "there, I did THAT." To me, this is like awarding the Nobel Prize for Physics to a promising grad student who is currently working on his Thesis.

The above is a list of winners, and if you go down the list and look at typical winners, they either have a long track record of success in this, or a specific achievement if you dig a little deeper.

Barack Obama is *potentially* a great President and a great man, but he hasn't yet established enough of a track record, or a series of achievements in the region in which he was nominated to make this a rather weak appointment.

I can see why the "Wing Nuts" might explode, but I expect a lot of people all over the spectrum will be wondering as well.

10/09/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger tony said...

I have the feeling the awarding of the Peace Prize to President Obama is more by way of encouragement than recognition of what he has so far achieved in international relations as well as symbolising a global heart-felt sigh of relief at the departure of that abomination G.W.Bush.

For all that, well-done Mr.President -the future, for good or bad, is in large part with you.

10/09/2009 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger CAP said...

What a joke.

So what does this make the threatened attack on Iran? A vigorous new peace initiative?

All those troops that invaded Afghanistan and support a corrupt regime, routinely commit atrocities and violate the Genva Convention. That's all about 'peace' right?

The atrocities in Iraq, the unprosecuted crimes by Blackwater and torturers at Gitmo and elsewhere, that Oh-Bah....Mah...
has seen fit to sweep under the carpet - this warrants a prize? Takes a prize?

That would be The Piss Prize.

The Nobel Prize for Hypocrisy - that's reserved for the self-appointed judges of international 'prizes'.


10/09/2009 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

i <3 right wing wing-nuts!

10/09/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Heart As Arena said...

I just wanted to say I'm not Brent.

10/09/2009 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I just wanted to say I'm not Brent.

It was the full sentences, I knew it!

10/09/2009 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

I've changed my mind.

According to, Obama received the 2009 Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Which means this prize had everything to do with the difference between the way Bush treated other nations for eight years, and the way Obama treats them now. For those other nations - especially our European allies - greater cooperation on the part of the world's most powerful nation is a real contribution to peace among nations.

Now, let's end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

10/09/2009 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right Tom, if he wins the Nobel prize while Iraq and Afghanistan are at war, what would he win if he stopped those wars?

10/10/2009 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger C. L. DeMedeiros said...

I never knew those guys from the Nobel Prize like a little conflict...
this whole thing is almost like south american novela...
there's an image that Obama project in European countries and all over the world, a little different than the one we see here in America.
I called my sister and we talk about this. The consensus is ????? a big question mark... Can a patronizer of wars deserve a Nobel Prize?
Anyway, so far Barrack still in his campain mode... kind of " we will repeal don't ask don't tell"
for cry out loud. He's already the man. Can the man do or deliver something?


10/10/2009 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

"... what would he win if he stopped those wars?"

Sometimes you just have to stop what you're doing - even if you're not sure what else to do, yet. Because you're just digging the hole you're stuck in deeper, which makes you less able to try something else - something better.

By stopping, you win the chance to win by other means.

10/11/2009 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger tony said...

I flick back to this piece because I have been troubled by words & associations which have continued to turn over in my mind.

heads explode
right's wing-nuts

What is it in your society that forever associates a more reasoned & equitable political standpoint to the threat of death by violence ?

I do not thank you, Edward,for the words you have used in the title but at the same time you have brought towards the light, for me at least, those thoughts which should ideally remain hidden but which nonetheless, in the American context, travel just below the surface of awareness like the dark silhouette of a hungry shark.

10/11/2009 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Peace is a tricky process, I don't think anyone who has recieved the award actually achieved Peace, it more an "A" for effort type of thing, and In the nine months Obama has been president he has had to overcome the devastating result of thirty years of neo-conservatism, and anti government sentiment. While attempting to clean up the resulting mess with the only thing that can solve the problems, Goverment. Not to mention launching a successful world wide publicity campaign. For Obama to stand before the world U.N. and say

it is my honor to address you for the first time as the forty-fourth President of the United States. I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me.

but the huge thing is, that after the fear mongering and paranoia over other nations nuclear programs, Obama said this:

I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and Russia announced that we would pursue substantial reductions in our strategic warheads and launchers. At the Conference on Disarmament, we agreed on a work plan to negotiate an end to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of State will become the first senior American representative to the annual Members Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Some are saying it is just that he is not dubya, fair enough, he is trying to take the country in a vastly different direction, but remember he is only the president, not a monarch, dictator, or a god, as president he really can only propose legislation or approve legislation, he alone can't make law, and is forced to deal with an opposition party in congress who are acting like two year olds throwing tantrums because they can't have what they want, so as much as I am not 100% thrilled at his appeasement of the right wing war mongers, I have a feeling he is pushing as forward as hard as and as fast as the country can handle, he has very intelligent people around him, remember how people would complain during the primaries about how he was campaigning, well he won the primary, then there were complaints about the general election, then he won, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and hold of on criticism.

I would add that people like to compare him to Lincoln because of the culture wars today and the abolitionist battle that would come to a head and and result in secession, and civil war. If Obama want to learn anything about Lincoln and his era I would have to say let it be that Lincoln's biggest mistakes were made trying to govern down the middle, Lincoln didn't set out to abolish slavery at first, nor was it his objective at first then he left General McClellan in charge of the Union Army despite his reluctance to commit his troops to the defeat of the confederate army and repeated battle retreats. Is it a coincidence that when Lincoln decided to get on the right side of history, Abolish Slavery, then let Grant and Sherman loose with the Union Army, that he was able to win re-election against all odds.

It is getting to be time for Obama to stop Governing from the middle, get on the right side of history, and govern according to his conscience.

10/12/2009 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger The Reader said...

Speaking of how the US government is perceived by the rest of the world, very little has changed, at least in Latin America. The way the Obama administration has handled the coup in Honduras is a flash back to the bad old days of the CIA installing fascist dictators all over Latin America.

So Obama could start to live up to this premature award with a full condemnation of the Coup that overthrew a democratically elected government in Honduras. This would include the withdrawal of all economic support for the illegitimate government currently under control of Roberto Micheletti.

En solidaridad con el pueblo de Honduras.

10/13/2009 06:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world loves Obama. The world loves McDonalds and speeding through art museums. So what.

10/13/2009 05:33:00 PM  

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