Friday, 9 October 2009


Today’s news from the Norwegian based Nobel Prize Committee that US President Barrack Obama won the Peace Prize was certainly a surprise to most, probably to Obama most of all. The reasons for giving the Prize for the media even more so, well it must be – simply because as the journalists, pundits, politicians and political commentators are making their views known – they are getting it all wrong. Why?

Some are predictable of course; a Republican Party politician played his rather sleazy hit on one part of the President’s acknowledgement of the honor and carefully avoiding the points given altogether. The President said he did not consider himself deserved of being put amongst the names of other Nobel Laureates - the sleazy comment was that “he acknowledges that he did not deserve it”. What a great example of how low political point-scoring will go.

But what surprises me is how the media is stuck on the word ‘accomplishments’ and ‘achievements’ and cannot accept that the Nobel Committee used the word “vision” and that under the guidelines and aspirations of that Committee, the President deserved and merited the prize.

Readers will know that I stay away from and have no opinion on domestic US politics, and thus am neither pro-Republican nor pro-Democrat. I am after all neither American nor do I live there. I have expressed, though, my support for Obama’s (and his Administration’s) recognition, vision for change and understanding of the correct place that the US and West has in the make up of this world. It is because of this vision for change and the forcing of a great u-turn in returning not only the US but the world back to constructive engagement that the Noble Committee has chosen President Obama as its laureate.

The arrival of Obama on the seen simply altered everything, particularly the eight years of stubborn, hawkish and self-centered Bush doctrine. It is not simply that the US became the obstinate, hard smacking, go-it-alone nation that disregarded the views of others’ during that period; it was that it had cemented a 30-year-long confusion in global-diplomatic-direction that started with the Iranian Revolution, oil crises and a dying cold-war. It needed the single survivor of the Cold-War super-powers to come on board with the desperate and tireless pleadings of professional diplomats everywhere. It certainly is only the beginning, and reform in the way nations deal with each other and the management of international institutions is still very lacking.

Considering that there are two major conflict zones in the world, global economic chaos, wide-spread religious and political radicalism as well as a multitude of other concerns, this change of direction is not only and important beginning, but in fact a globally critical move.
The media, however, is unable to fathom this at this early stage and as I write this note, the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN are still asking “experts” and others what has the Obama Administration “achieved” and “accomplished” to merit this award. I do not understand why is the BBC commentator talking about not having Guantanamo Bay closed as yet being a non-achievement – it is not the point nor is it relevant. Good Morning America and the BBC both started their opening news item as “within only nine months in office”. They also did not get the point. It is the overall vision or should we say recognition - the speech in Cairo, the example of reaching out to the non-Western world as equals, drawing the line between how countries can deal with each other over issues, being united in standards such as non-proliferation, drawing the line with issues like climate change.

Certainly the motive and granting of this prize is both symbolic and as only a few have gathered, it is also there to motivate. As Obama put it, a “call to action”, or better put the Noble Committee said he received it for what he stood for. It is not Obama that won the prize; it is the vision that he and others of his ilk, that won it.

As an American President and his value and success domestically, I know not, that is perhaps something that needs to be judged on achievements and there is something to say about how he deals with the international issue and justifying his leadership as a Commander in Chief, but that is another issue and should never be confused to why he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize.