Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Prize-Obama 09-10-08

Nobel for Obama - Perhaps Premature, But Good

Mirza A. Beg

Friday, August 9 2009

The American Muslim, Friday October 9, 2009

Tuscaloosa News, Tuesday October 13, 2009

President Obama was awakened by his press secretary to an announcement from the Nobel committee that 2009 Peace Prize goes to President Obama. Perhaps no one was more surprised than the recipient. Those who have supported Mr. Obama’s ideas, ideals and style are also pleasantly surprised, but some wonder if the recognition is not a bit premature.

In the nine months he has been in office, Mr. Obama has put in motion a very ambitious and much needed plan of action to achieve not only the objectives, spelled out during the presidential campaign, but also had to save the economy from the abyss of depression. He knows that taking on one problem at a time, as the experts would have it, may be seasoned advice, but considering the gravity of challenges he does not have the luxury of putting any of the pressing problems on the back burner.

Perhaps no world leader had inherited so many problems on the first day in office. Even Franklin Roosevelt did not have to contend with what came to be known as the Second World War until late in his second term. President Roosevelt’s main problem on entering the office was the economic depression.

Mr. Obama had to contend with two wars of hubris that his predecessors unleashed and conducted them with such incompetence and ferocity that it has not only killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, but has left the US bleeding in an expensive quagmire from which extrication appears to be elusive. It has weakened American power and prestige around the world and an impression has taken hold that United States knows only the language of bullying, not of cooperation.

Even before taking the office of the president Mr. Obama had to face a complete economic melt down of US economy, with the possibility of a world wide depression, because of decades of irresponsible deregulations allowing the Wall Street gurus to turn it into a gambling casino. He took swift actions that appear to have stemmed the looming tide of economic disaster, but the road to recovery will be long and full of pitfalls.

He has not yet been able to put forward a clear policy to bring peace to Afghanistan and extricate the United States with honor. The Iraq war is still simmering and Israel has cavalierly defied his very modest request to halt the settlement activity and to engage in honest dialogue with the Palestinians.

So none of the pressing problems have been solved yet, but by virtue of his stance and thoughtful policies, the world has again started to put faith in the words of an American President and has taken his extended hand of peace and friendship. The decades of war of words with North Korea and Iran, after an initial flare-up in early 2009, have simmered down leading to initial constructive dialogues.

The Nobel committee recognized this sea-change in American policies and the concurrent change in the attitudes of other countries to award the peace prize to President Obama.

The Nobel citation reads, “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.

“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 United States 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.”

Even if the Peace Prize is premature, Mr. Obama certainly deserves admiration and support for all he has accomplished so far, with much more heavy lifting to be done for the fruition of his efforts. We have yet to leave the wars and famines of the 20th century behind to usher a new century of peace and justice. One can not but admire the way President Obama has conducted himself with elegance and grace in the rough and tumble of the political process.

Mirza A. Beg can be contacted at, and at

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