What.

October 9th, 2009at 07:16am Posted by Eli

I’m still kinda half-asleep, so maybe I’m just imagining this…

In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” less than nine months after he took office.

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. With American forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.

Reporters at a news conference to announce the prize pressed the committee’s chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, to explain the reasons Mr. Obama had prevailed over other candidates who included human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

Specifically, reporters asked whether Mr. Obama might not become mired in a war in Afghanistan as Lyndon B. Johnson was in Vietnam.

But the committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts so far rather than anticipate events in the future.

Mr. Jagland, a former prime minister of Norway, said that Mr. Obama had already contributed enough to world diplomacy and understanding to deserve the prize.

As to whether the prize was given too early in Mr. Obama’s presidency, he said: “We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.”

(…)

Looking back on the Obama presidency so far, Mr. Jagland said: “One of the first things he did was to go to Cairo to try to reach out to the Muslim world, then to restart the Mideast negotiations and then he reached out to the rest of the world through international institutions. “

He mentioned in particular the recent United Nations Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament and the announcement of the prize noted the special importance the Nobel committee attached to President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

“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,” the committee said.

That’s all well and good, but it still seems a little thin to be grounds for a Nobel Peace Prize, especially for someone who’s dragging his feet about withdrawing from Iraq, looking at escalating in Afghanistan, and appears to be in no hurry at all to close Gitmo.  Maybe all the other candidates totally suck this year?

Entry Filed under: Foreign Policy,Obama,Weirdness


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