Pieces of the Prize

At the apparent expense of peace in his own country, President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

The basically “left wing” Norwegian Parliamentary Committee that made the selection cited the President’s efforts at urging cooperation and diplomacy in international relations, making rhetorical overtures to the “Muslim” world, and taking initiatives in calling for reductions in nuclear proliferation.

It is rather ironic given those criteria, that Obama consciously chose, insisted actually, to omit reference to Iran’s newly revealed nuclear weapon capability in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, thereby passing up a rare opportunity to showcase the Muslim nation as the war-mongering terror state it is in reality. It was particularly reprehensible for Obama to take this path given the theme of his address: reducing nuclear proliferation. To tag such unprincipled action as the political policy of appeasement is, I guess, just “so last century”.

Norway, according to the United Nations, is the best place in the world to live based on various standards it uses in its annual ranking of nations. That of course does not mean it is free of stupidity. Peace does not necessarily mean political freedom, given the record of the Nobel committees in making such awards. To them it means hope, which Obama has in ample supply. On that basis he deserves the Nobel prize, and the institution granting it deserves ridicule for playing such blatant politics.

In the United States of America there has been a deepening of the divide between political parties. The Democrats and Obama have succeeded in drawing to attention the rift that exists between the so-called left and the so-called right. It was there in the Bush years as well, but the Democrats in almost total power have illustrated the consequences of the combination of political power and a vaguely defined agenda of change. The left sees utopia. The right sees socialism. The reality is a country divided.

Clearly, the Nobel prize committee didn’t consider the domestic problems in the US in making this award. It is more concerned in seeing the US join the world community of utopian idealists. Unfortunately, that world community includes newly emboldened Muslim fundamentalists in Iran on the verge of launching nuclear weapons on that same community.

Obama’s choices in the weeks ahead will determine just how appropriate this prize might be.  He can do nothing about Iran, which is a choice that will make his weakness more apparent to the Russians and other imperial posers. This result can also be accomplished by “tough diplomacy” which achieves the same thing: nothing.

Sanctions may be imposed on Iran, but the chances of that yielding much depends on the cooperation of Russia and China, both of which are facing difficult uphill economic battles. Both nations are significant trading partners with Iran. A weak US President is unlikely to prevail amidst these more experienced political despots.

The only option that President Obama can rationally execute with regard to Iran is to take out the nuclear weapons projects by force. This must be done in the name of defending the west (which includes the expressly targeted Israel) against this rogue regime, the centre of the Muslim world. This would have the collateral and beneficial effect of protecting the rest of the Middle East and Europe, though existing Iranian weaponry finds Norway and others slightly out of range.

How any of Obama’s choices will be received in Oslo remains to be seen. Can they take back the prize if the US President decides that defending Americans is the proper choice?

©Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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