Friday, October 9, 2009

Cudos to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee

As the subtitle of this space above suggests, commentary in these pages will be focusing on the "economy, markets, and more". It is in that context that I am presenting the following thoughts, in the wake of the announcement that President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. (Fair warning: this post is not for everyone).



As the high-decibel media pundit machine is already going on overdrive over the surprise announcement that President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the vitriolic attacks against that decision are already piling up quickly, and predictably, by a segment of the political spectrum, it is important to realize a simple fact that often goes painfully unrecognized in this country.

The decision reflects the, at times, vastly different view that people outside this country have of the U.S. than many Americans do.

It is a brave decision that, on the face of it, goes against the conventional wisdom that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to someone as recognition of that person's achievement in bringing about peace in a troubled part of the world. By that criterion, Obama was not eligible for that honor. But his being awarded the Prize reflects an incredibly intense appreciation by the Nobel Committee and a large part of the international community, that the U.S. is now turning the page on its recent history of war-mongering around the globe and unconditional bullying and intimidation of other countries that happen to have a different perspective on a certain issue.

It is a decision that expresses the thirst that the rest of the world has to see the U.S. play a constructive and inspiring role in helping resolve the numerous, complex, and often menacing, issues around the globe. It is a decision that shows a deep appreciation for an emerging process of deliberate and rational decision-making on critical global problems, as opposed to impulsive, ill-informed and ideologically-driven decisions by leaders who had shown in recent years a scary and embarrassing inability to grasp- let alone articulate any thinking about anything.

Yes, it is a decision about rewarding hope- the hope the Obama's still young presidency is projecting to many around the globe that the U.S. has a new face and is ushering in a new way of engaging the world.

Rewarding and nurturing that hope, in such a high profile manner, is at least as important, and perhaps more so, than rewarding someone who has already made a tangible contribution toward a peace agreement in a troubled spot of the world. That was the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee's decision and no one can personify it more than President Obama in these unsettled times.

Anthony Karydakis

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