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The only thing that pops up in my mind is: "War is Peace"

It is truly pathetic. Preemptive peace prize from now on?

I am Norwegian, and I think it is really sad that such an important part of our "image" is ridiculed because of an attention seeking Nobel Prize Committee.

But hey, we will have the Obama family and Will Smith visiting Oslo - AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

beyond parody. And kinda patronising - Obama hasn't done anything to merit this award, which makes it look like it's less about him and more about who he isn't

As a friend recently asked, "Where's Kanye when you need him?"

A friend of mine had a great line: "And next week, the Economics Nobel will go to Bernie Madoff."

One outlet is linking it to his anti-nuclear speech in Prague. That doesn't make a lot of sense timing wise, but even if we accept it, it seems like the peace prize is about _doing_ something which accomplishes peace, particularly peace where there was previously conflict. His speech has not accomplished anything. Wanting peace shouldn't win you the prize, IMO, making peace should.

Yo Obama, I'm happy for you. I'm gonna let you finish, but Yasser Arafat was the most controversial Nobel prize winner.

I would say that Henry Kissenger was the most controversial. Some would say that both Arafat and Kissenger were terrorists and ironically both got nobel prize for peace.

They gave the Nobel to Obama for the same reason they gave it to Krugman ...

Both of them have been leading attackers of Bush and American policy and America power. They love that in Leftist Europ.

It doesn't hurt that Obama has a hard left history, and an life time spend among communists and Marxists and America haters (Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, etc., etc.)

Leftist Europe loves that too.

The Nobel committee likes Obama for the same reason Castro and Chavez are praising Obama.

Pathetic.

It could have been worse. They could have given Obama the Nobel prize in literature ...

no... ECONOMICS!

Um, well, he did give an anti-nuclear weapons
speech at the UN as well as in Prague.

More recently, he has gotten Iran to agree to send most of its enriched uranium to Russia to be processed for use in a reactor being used for medical purposes. He also appears to be on track to reduce the military footprint of the US in Iraq, as he promised to do. Furthermore, while Bush's policy of ending the policy set up by Clinton to deal with North Korea led to that country removing itself from the NNPT and building and testing nuclear weapons, Obama has since sent Clinton back and it appears that North Korea may be ready to return to serious negotiations (although I am not going to bet the mortgage on that one going too far).

I do not know what the committee claimed were the reasons for the award (and just giving it for speeches or popularity polls is pretty empty), and he has not been able to move towards peaceful solutions in a numbers of areas of the world, such as Israel-Palestine and Afghanistan. But, it would seem that he has actually made some moves towards greater peace in at least a few hot spots around the world, more so than most of the commentators here seem to be willing to admit or even notice.

A grad student hopes to finish his dissertation. He's written and delivered the proposal, maybe even started the first chapter. Time to give him the PhD?

Once again, we see that good intentions are all that matter to some people.

They gave every kid in my sons soccer league a trophy -- why not a Nobel prize for Obama?

I gotta say, Barkley, you are waaaay too kind to Obama. At Salon, Glenn Greenwald mentions the Iran thing, which is real, though he missed the Korea angle you rightly note:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/10/09/obama/index.html

But Greenwald ends up saying, "One can reasonably debate how much blame he merits for all of that, but there are simply no meaningful "peace" accomplishment in his record -- at least not yet -- and there's plenty of the opposite. That's what makes this Prize so painfully and self-evidently ludicrous." Right on.

This from the Toronto Star nicely summarizes what wrong with Obama on civil rights:http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/694586
You could say peace is a different issue, but how can you give a guy like *that* the Peace Prize when his substantive pro-peace accomplishments are arbitrarily close to zero? Obama got the He's-not-Bush Prize, but he has pretty much become Bush! AND, the Prize will free him to be even more Bushian in the future. The Nobel committee did a genuine disservice to humanity today.

The announcement, BTW, focussed on his supposed vision of a nukes-free world.


I thought it was for decreasing school violence in Chicago.

Rather than what will most likely be sheer irony on this day, wouldn't it nice -- I surely think it would -- if Obama pauses and seriously challenges this whole proposal that he faces today:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125504448324674693.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_news

I was shocked and appalled.

I mean, secret President Cheney was already leaving office and didn't need to be defeated.

He did save the world from President McCain. (McCain did a town hall at The Citadel with Lindsey Graham. Not bad on out of control entitlements and debt, but if we had President McCain, there would not be even a review about sending troops to Afghanistan. According to McCain and Graham, _nothing_ is more important.)

Come to think about it, President Clinton would have been even worse than Secretary of State Clinton. So, Obama saved us from that as well.

So, in a way, Obama deserves this prize.


"I truly thought it was a joke."

Oh, it's definitely a joke but it has been for awhile.

Let's not forget Obama's protectionism, which hardly promotes peaceful international cooperation among nations.

There could be other interesting decisions to come

http://fountain.blogspot.com/2009/10/exclusive-barack-obama-wins-fhms-worlds.html

Theodore Roosevelt got the prize even though he genuinely liked war -- it made men of us. But even he brokered the Russo-Japanese peace.

Well, for all of you who think that this prize is some sort of outrage, let me ask the following: name one individual in the world who has not already won the prize who has done more for peace in the last year than Obama's agreement with Iran? In all the outraged commentary on this, I have yet to see anybody offer up another person as the "ah ha, it should have been the president of Sri Lanka for defeating the Tamil Tigers!!!" or anybody.

Actually, Greenwald's second paragraph pretty much makes the case. There is a lot. Yes, much of that could come apart or go nowhere, but most of it is a move in the right direction, and most of the criticism has come from war hawks who wish he did not do these things, with many of those people blocking the implementation of some of these things.

So, he is to be held responsible because the Israelis have not responded favorably to his policy of more vigorously opposing their settlements policy?

Oh, given that almost no government in the world is willing to take any of those Gitmo prisoners, and an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Congress is loudly screaming about not taking any of them in their states, is Obama to blame that he has not yet been able to shut down Gitmo, although it is clear that he is trying to (and probably will eventually succeed, if not within the one year time horizon he set)?

I saw Greenwald and somebody claiming he is not removing troops from Iraq, but he is. I will grant that this is basically a continuation of a policy set by Bush, but he is doing it.

Regarding Afghanistan, well, I do not like what is going on there, and he did put more troops in at first. But right now the big debate seems to be around his resisting putting any more in as General McChrystal wants, with the usual crowd all in a fit that he is resisting, with many of these people being the most outraged about his getting the prize, hack, cough.

And, for all the ridicule of his speeches about a nuclear free world, some of his moves, such as the one on Iran, have actually moved in that direction.

So, folks, I suggest you all get a bit real here and stop just engaging in some sort of mindless knee jerk reaction. I suggest you look at what he has actually achieved rather than noting that he has not managed to solve all the world's problems, and, again, if you cannot come up with an alternative choice who has not already gotten it, then your alternative is no prize this year.

Not awarding a prize would have said more than giving an undeserving one.

Your challenge, Barkley, is unfair in at least two ways. First, there is a nomination process for a reason. Why should any of the gripers be expected to have a plausible list ready to hand? I understand they had something like 205 nominations this year. I'll bet one or two were plausible candidates. Second, why are you restricting it to the last year?? I don't think that's a criterion is it? Anyway, it's not in Nobel's will:
http://nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/short_testamente.html

Your injustices notwithstanding, I will take up your challenge.

I'll take most people on Wiki's list of billionaires, Barkley.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_billionaires_(2009)
The heirs to Bill Walton promote fraternity among nations. They are responsible for knitting the world economy together and tying potential enemies together through the web of commerce. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others have brought the web to billions. By making it increasingly difficult for oppressive governments to control information, they have promoted peaceful cooperation and frustrated tyrants, thus promoting fraternity between nations and the reduction of standing armies. Similar comments would apply to others on the list, though not, presumably all others.

The best Nobel Prize so far that I can judge (physics, chemistry etc excluded) is the Nobel Prize for literature received by Herta Mueller. This is actually a surprise, because the Nobel Prize in literature never had any standing and has become form very early on a political affair more than anything else.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2009/

Herta Mueller is a Romanian Schwab and her novels depict the crazy live under communism in Romania, for Romanian, Schwabs, Saxons, and other minorities. She was actually a dissident under communism and was persecuted by the political police.

This is another great way of exposing the absurdity of the cult of Obama worshippers demonstrate by awarding the nobel peace prize to a guy who served just 10 days. People are catching on to and not liking the socialist direction that P. Obama is taking the USA. The more absurd the act P. Obama and cult members perform the more people are disgusted. If any President deserved the nobel peace prize it was President Ronald Reagan. He liberated Eastern Europe without a war. Somehow the brilliant minds in Oslo overlooked this truly great fete.

Roger,

Interesting comeback. Maybe, although certainly some are not deserving.

Bob,

Huh? The nominations closed after ten days, but I believe the decision was made much more recently, certainly since the agreement with Iran was made.

Barkley,

I'm not sure how the agreement with Iran supports your case that Obama has done anything remotely significant on behalf of peace. I think you've got things backwards, in fact. Here in the reality-based community, it is openly acknowledged that Iran's nuclear ambitions are not a threat to the people of the United States, nor are they a general threat to world peace. They are signatories to the NPT, after all, and they are in full compliance, if that's any consolation. But if you have evidence that Iran has plans for war, nuclear or otherwise, I suggest you share this with the State Department because they have no such evidence. The very fact that our govt has engaged in saber-rattling with Iran (Bush style or Obama style) is itself the proximate threat to world peace. Remember, unlike the leaders of Iran, Obama has plans for war. Wars, I should say.

As for Iraq, Obama has promised that we will NEVER leave. Period. Yes, he will remove a few token units to satisfy some critics, but you do know that these units are being replaced with mercenaries. Whatever he promised about Iraq (and he promised a whole range of things at different times, to suit different voters), the fact is that he is continuing the bloody occupation. If one is interested in peace in Iraq, as I'm sure all of us are, moving in the right direction means ending the occupation, not simply moving a few units to Afghanistan or to the US. That's the criterion, it would seem to me. Ending the occupation, not simply conforming to the narrow sense of "removing troops."

On Afghanistan, the Peace Candidate (now the Peace Prize winner) has promised that he will not withdraw our troops from there, either. The only question he's willing to think about now is how many more troops to add, as you pointed out. As with Iraq, moving in the direction of peace would mean ending the occupation, not worrying about domestic politics. I understand that he's afraid of what leaving Afghanistan would mean domestically here in the US, but is that a viable excuse for a Peace Prize winner?

And I don't believe you mentioned Pakistan, but even Bush was less bloody in regard to Pakistan. How many innocents have our drones blown to smithereens with Hellfire missiles since Obama the Mild took office? I don't know. But you can bet that the anti-American militants created thereby have some idea.

So I honestly don't know what you mean by your injunction to "get a bit real." Usually that phrase is meant to alert someone to the fact that they are ignoring clear and obvious realities, or that the person is simply being unrealistic in their claims or demands. I don't see how that applies here. Obama is the commander in chief of the armed forces. Especially since we haven't declared war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, he could end the occupation and the death and destruction by American military machinery tomorrow -- if he so chose. He hasn't so chosen. He is afraid, though perhaps a little confused as well.

So I take up your challenge. Who would I nominate? Easy. My wife. She's smarter, braver and more peaceful by far than Barack Obama. She has transgressed not a single soul in the last year and helped many. But she would certainly be brave enough to stand up to Gen Mc Crystal, to the Republican hacks, and more than brave enough to stand up to the chickenhawks at the Brookings and American Enterprise Institutes. I imagine that there are thousands of people like her who have NOT ordered the murder of another human being in the last year, or ever. Those are realities. The notion that a warmonger like Barack Obama has done more for peace than anyone else on this planet is nothing short of absurd. (I assume you said that out of frustration, and not because you objectively believe it.)

How can you give a peace prize to someone who started a trade war with China?

Peace is sustained through slowing building cooperation based on mutual self-interest. This requires the patience to slowly build the cooperation through repeated interaction which is backed by a willingness to walk away.

Economic integration such as the common market in Europe, have been central to peace in Europe. Peace with China and Russia is built on their rapidly growing economic integration with the rest of the world.

The Nobel committee also overlooked Tyler Cowen's paper in Public Choice on 'Why Only Nixon Could Go to China'.

Right-wing politicians sometimes can implement policies that left-wing politicians cannot, and vice versa. This is why nearly all arms control treaties were negotiated and ratified by Republican presidents.

Only a right-wing president can credibly signal the desirability of a left-wing course of action. The Nixon paradox can hold then if citizens vote retrospectively on the issue.

By the way, if one were to choose another celebrity candidate, like Obama, for the Peace Prize (I freely grant that most of you have never met my wife), why not Cindy Sheehan? On the public stage, I can't think of anyone who has agitated more tirelessly -- for years -- for the the cause of peace. I know she has some socialist views on economics, which is unfortunate, but when it comes to war and peace she's been right on target.

Less well known, you could also consider Dahr Jamail. He's the independent journalist who was so disgusted with the "embedded" reporting on the war in Iraq that he left Alaska where he lived at the time, paid his own way, and went to report and take photographs in Iraq (starting in 2003 I believe). His express purpose all along has been to give faithful, "unembedded" reports from beyond the greenzone, in the hope that this would help turn public opinion against the war and occupation. Many of you have probably read his dispatches over the past 6 or 7 years.

Either of these two would be a better choice, by far, than Obama.

To those who have replied most recently, let me congratulate all of you on focusing on real issues rather than simply making silly and dismissive wisecracks. Go back and look at the comments before I commented here. They were pretty much pathetically juvenile.

James H.,

Your alternative suggestions are reasonable and serious. Good.

Again, I am not happy with what he is doing in Afghanistan, but it looks like he is reversing course. As for troops in Iraq, well, they are being removed, but it is unclear how low we'll go. I would prefer to lower, however, it should be noted that various amounts of troops are in many countries. If he can get a stabilized situation there without people killing US troops or each other, I would accept some smallish amount of troops hanging on there in some limited supporting role.

This point that actually Iran is not going after nuclear weapons, despite the massive propaganda to the contrary in the US media (and widespread public belief they are) is a more subtle point. My real bottom line view on this is that indeed there was no real danger of them going for nukes. The real danger has been Israel bombing them, even though Iran has not invaded a neighbor since the late 1700s. I think the real bottom line is that by bringing the whole program in from the cold (and I do not mind at all seeing domestic nukes given global warming), this puts serious pressure on Israel not to attack. This is where there is a move towards a more peaceful world due to this.

Jim Rose (and others, Steve et al),

This is definitely worrisome. However, it looks like there will not be a full blown trade war here. I suspect some sort of understanding between the two, with the Chinese in effect agreeing to keeping this limited in face of the political pressures that Obama faces and his efforts to hold off the pressure. Of course, this could yet go really sour. I do not like it.

BTW, I am just watching BBC and see that Turkey and Armenia are about to sign a peace agreement, a huge breakthrough. I have read in recent months that Obama has played an important behind the scenes in engineering this reconciliation. Indeed, he can be criticized for much, but he is managing to pull of some things.

Oh, and as for the old "Nixon goes to China" bit, there is something to that, although I did not see Bush "go to Iran," much less North Korea, where he blew off an ongoing peace negotiation (and let us stay away from Iraq). As it is, FDR recognized the USSR after more than a decade of GOPsters refusing to do so, and Carter recognized China (yes, Nixon did the heavy lifting on that one) and also offloading the Panama Canal to Panama, something vigorously opposed by people who forecast all kinds of horrors, with none of those people to my knowledge recognizing that they were full of it. In any case, that theory is overblown.

Barkley,

You've cleared some things up for me. Indeed I hadn't understood exactly where you were coming from, or where you stood. I read the blog here often and your comments, as most are, are serious and thoughtful. It seemed you were "going soft" on Obama for no reason. I concede the point about Israel attacking Iran, but I hope this apparent commitment on Obama's part to stand firm is genuine and lasting. Of course Israel's concerns and objections are driving much that has to do with the Iran issue in the first place. Still, we can recognize domestic political realities without capitulating to them. He could be more forceful with Isarael on this if he didn't mind being a one-term president.

If Obama was interested in peace he should pay more attention to the writings of Thomas Schelling. Schelling has pointed out that Iran will get the bomb and it is therefore important to have sophisticated enemies.

Schelling pointed out that it took the U.S. 15 years after World War II to learn to think seriously about the security of its nuclear weapons.

Before that, U.S. nuclear weapons did not even have combination locks, let alone complex electronic security codes! Now, most nuclear weapons will not detonate even if given the right codes unless they are at their designated targets.

The Soviet Union always had civilian officials in charge of the weapons, and never let an aircraft carrying nuclear weapons out of Soviet airspace. China has a separate army unit for this purpose too. What are the safeguards against theft, sabotage or unauthorised use, and how will the weapons be protected? Iran must learn this.

The ayatollahs do not want their own nation wiped off the map. They know that Israel has enough nuclear weapons and delivery systems to destroy Iran in retaliation for any attack. This would deter them. To hit Israel would be suicide.

The United States managed to deter some unpleasant and unpredictable people, including Stalin and Mao Zedong, from using nuclear weapons during the Cold War despite the USA’s own best efforts to provoke them from time to time. Israel and Iran may have noticed the success of that strategy too.

Like the Dear Leader, the mullahs take full political advantage of appearing to be mad and unpredictable. Iran's leaders have nonetheless exhibited remarkably well timed moments of prudence and pragmatism. They have even fully reversed course when confronted with defeat such as when they started to really lose their war with Iraq.

No communications should be sent to the Iran, there should be no informal dialogues, and, above all, no attempt should be made to negotiate in any format. Wait for them to come to you because you have something they want. Schelling defined diplomacy as being based on having some control over something that the other country wants. Everything else is cheap talk. Obama appears to specialise in cheap talk.

According to the Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125507885722575625.html

"Mr. Obama's win includes a cash award equal to $1.4 million. The White House said he plans to give the money to charity."

Charity? Why give your money to charity? If the Messiah himself really believed in his own handy work every penny of his beneficence would be going straight to the federal government. Not some wasteful, spendthrift private charity. Shows you exactly what he thinks of the effectiveness of his own government in the only way that matters; action, not words, action!

Or conversely, to act consistently with this magnanimity, he could dismantle every government welfare office in operation and use the savings to finance corresponding private charities.

Somehow I think the "Great Leader's" internal contradictions will remain...

Roger - re "Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others have brought the web to billions." Slightly off topic, but I couldn't resist:

If the web was developed by any one person, it was British physicist Tim Berners Lee, who developed the underlying code and protocols, made them freely available to the world, and has worked ever since to keep it open and accessible. Not Bill's style at all.

Let's be a bit more careful with those Nobel nominations.

Stephanie,
Hey no fair! I said they "*and others* have *brought* the web to billions." I didn't say they "created" the web. >:-(

Levity aside, I should indeed have mentioned him with Gates and Jobs. He is also a great candidate. Good point!

Barkley,
Maybe I'm missing something here, but it sure seems you're growling up the wrong tree. I took up your invitation to review the comments prior to your own and found that they were not "simply making silly and dismissive wisecracks" and "pretty much pathetically juvenile." Genuinely thoughtful, if not expansive, remarks were made by ThomasL, Sriram, and Greg Ransom. Now, I don't quite share the spirit of at least one of those three commenters (doesn't matter which) but all were making genuine points. Only one comment (doesn't matter which) strikes me as juvenile. Could it be that you are really reacting to the evidence glee of some in the broadcast media who have turned this award -- which was not Obabma's doing -- into an opportunity for more Obama bashing? (Sorry I don't have time to parse that question better!)


Let's stop being naive people:

"Active for decades in the Socialist International, a collectivist who navigated a long series of embarrassing moments in Norwegian politics to become current Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Jagland now heads the Norwegian Nobel Committee."

If Krugman can win one, anyone can.

Roger,

OK, fair enough. The three you mention are not "juvenile," although Greg's claim that Obama got it for opposing American power or that it is for the same reason Chavez and Castro are praising Obama seems extreme. And, Greg, the committee does include Kullciman, a businessman from the conservative wing of Norwegian politics.

I would note two final points. One is that indeed Nobel's will emphasizes intentions and talk. Some have been noting that this award actually conforms much better to his will than many given out in recent years. A very credible alternative might have been the Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng. However, much as I am for supporting human rights activists, it must be admitted that the link of their activities to world peace is more indirect.

Finally, another outcome reportedly due to Obama's interventions and coming since the prize was announced has been the agreement between Turkey and Armenia to open diplomatic relations. While not on the verge of war in the way that Israel has been threatening Iran militariliy, these countries have been serious enemies since at least 1915. Not too shabby.

Barkley,

I rechecked Nobel's will. Somehow I had missed the part about achievements in the previous year, but it's there:
http://nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/short_testamente.html

I suppose that would be a point in Obama's favor if you construe "preceding year" to mean "year before the prize is awarded" rather than "year before the nomination." That latter construal would pretty much exclude Obama, I think. Even if we construe it in his favor, however, it seems more like a fig leaf covering a relatively narrow political decision than a substantive point tipping the scales against the other nominees.

I think you raise genuine considerations in favor of the award, but I confess it still seems unambiguous to me that that it was the thank-God-you're-your-not-Bush award, which seems pretty pathetic to me. In this interview on the prize, Geir Lundestad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, takes a view more or less like yours, I think:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooqkvd8JPfU

Check out Greg Mankiw --- http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2009/10/first-year-grad-student-wins-nobel.html

A recent Nobel Peace Prize winner was well known for advocating the assassination of George Bush.

The Nobel committee has been a disgrace for a long time.

And in the midst of a more than decade long global cooling cycle and the wide spread scientific debunking of the carbon center theory of "global warming" -- what's up with an oil producing, ice bound country lecturing the rest of the world about carbon caused "global warming"?

Roger,

Well, certainly the specific items mentioned by the committee, Obama's speeches in Prague and Cairo, came after the nominations were closed. Offhand it seems silly to declare that events or actions between the closing of the nominations and the decision well over a half a year later should somehow not enter into the decisionmaking.

Pete,

Well, others have made similar "satires," ha ha, but in fact both the speeches and the unmentioned actions by Obama such as the Iranian nuclear deal, are of considerably greater significance and impact than the high school essay of an unknown econ grad student would be, ha ha. In short, the joke is only mildly amusing at best.

Greg,

Even the awards that have been seen later as being relatively unpolitical, or at least widely accepted, were generally political to some degree when they were given, as almost all recipients were focused on opposing some group or entity or practice, with I suppose the only exceptions to this being ones where people from opposite sides of a conflict were both awarded the prize, with some of these ending up being the most criticized, such as the award for Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, or the later one for Arafat and Rabin.

I am not sure which recipient advocated the assassination of "George Bush," and does this refer to the father or the son?

In my earlier comments, I would replace the word "extreme" with "overly based on guilt by association." So, saying Obama is a "Marxist socialist" because of some people he has associated with does not cut it. One may think that Obama's health care proposals are socialistic, but they are so mild that at most if they pass we'll have a system like that in Switzerland, still less "socialistic" than in Canada or Germany or Britain, or most others. Do you really think that the Obamas sit around in the privacy of their bedroom reading The Communist Manifesto or The State and Revolution to each other before they go to bed at night?

Regarding this matter of being "anti-Bush," well without question there is some truth to this. However, this does not necessarily mean that this is "anti-American power." After all, while fans of Bush in the US do not like hearing such things, after 9/11 the US had great popularity and sympathy around the world, with even such figures as Castro and Chavez and the leaders of Iran supporting our invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and root out al Qaeda.

Somehow between that time and the invasion of Iraq, Bush managed to turn that widespread support into widespread enmity and opposition through speeches that expressed contempt for other countries and essentially presented them with a "you are with us or against us" view. Unsurprisingly, the personal popularity of Bush collapsed (or maybe this is surprising only to people who believed such things as "Saddam was linked to 9/11," which was believed in by 62% of those who voted for Bush's reelection in 2004). This collapse of his personal popularity was accompanied by a collapse of the popularity of the United States itself to levels lower than ever recorded, including even at the worst moments of the Vietnam War period. Ssome may think that this is a partisan point, but in fact Republican presidents prior to George W. Bush were respected in other countries and reasonably popular, with them often being viewed as able to push through real peace agreements (in the "Nixon goes to China" mode) in ways that the wimpier looking Dem presidents could not do. The commie Soviets in particular tended to prefer dealing with GOP presidents than the unreliable Dems. Nixon was a man you could count on, unlike that flakey Jimmy Carter, in their eyes.

Now, Greg, you may not think that what the rest of the world thinks of the US or its president has anything to do with America's ability to project its power in the rest of the world. But, governments that see their populations as being favorably disposed towards the US will be more willing to go along with things that our leaders want them to do, which is non-trivial given that we are not in general able to force other countries to do much of anything and must have them willingly go along with our desires, although that does not mean that they will necessarily go along with things that their populations oppose specifically, with Obama's inability to get more European troops into Afghanistan an example.

So, yes, it may be political, just as are all of the prizes ultimately, going back to the beginning of the prize (please, name one recipient who was not "political" at some level or other), but indeed to the extent that Bush's actions angered a majority of the world's population, or at least majorities in a majority of countries, he damaged US power in the world. This constant complaining by Bush supporters about prizes being "anti-Bush" ends up looking pretty silly, frankly, given the low repute into which he brought the US globally.

BTW, some observers have argued that those who are most opposed to this award (and other recent ones) in fact do not accept the basic premise of the prize. Some of these folks are just warmongers who do not value in peace at all. American power is to be extended by the barrel of a gun, as Chairman Mao put it, and anyone disagreeing is to be ridiculed and sneered at.

I think Greg may have been referring to remarks made by Betty Williams:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Williams_(Nobel_laureate)

The Secret Service did not investigate these comments, perhaps because they did not seem to the relevant officials to be genuine threats or instigations to violence against then President Bush.

It is probably true that many critics of the Nobel nod to Obama are pretty much just war mongers, but that description hardly fits anyone on the masthead of *this* blog! I figure most regular commenters are rather pacific too.

"saying Obama is a "Marxist socialist" because of some people he has associated with does not cut it"

Obama tells us he was a big into Marxism and socialism -- and he thought working as a editor for an economic analysis firm was "working for the enemy."

And all of these things aren't "associations", they are his chosen life.

I was unaware of Williams's comments, and for what it is worth, they were made long after she got the prize, so it was not a matter of evidence of "anti-Bushism" by the committee, which seemed to be implied by Greg's misleading comment, as in the committee going out and giving the prize to someone who had been going around threatening Bush's life. Actually, her award is one that has been given as an example of a "hope" award that eventually worked out, as indeed we do seem to have finally achieved a reasonable semblance of peace in Northern Ireland.

Greg,

I am not going to respond to any further comments by you on this, but this is just getting sillier by the minute. Perhaps somewhere in his writings one can find that Obama was curious about or interested in various views more leftist than his later ones. I have not read his books, so I do not know the extent of his comments about how he "tells us [present tense?] he was big into Marxism and socialism." Really? And he did not work very long in that job that he thought of as "working for the enemy," did he? So, what is with all this silly stuff about all this being "his chosen life"?

There are certainly grounds for criticizing Obama on many things, and the prize may yet actually lead him to be less peaceful, as Tyler Cowen suggested over on Marginal Revolution. But this sort of Sean Hannity kind of ranting about how Marxist-socialist he is really does not cut it, to repeat myself, whether by association, or some scattered comments from his much earlier days. Big deal. He is a left-centrist, not anywhere near being a "Marxist-socialist." Get over it.

Oh yes, Roger, for the record, I certainly did not mean to imply anybody on the masthead here of being a "war monger." I know that most were quite unhappy about the invasion of Iraq, even if it seems that Greg thinks it was wonderful (or maybe only that people criticizing Bush for doing it are wickedly "political").

Barkley writes:

" I have not read his books"

Well, obviously.

You're telling me the what for about a subject you know little about.

What's up with that?

Barkley,

Google this:

Obama occidental marxist

Obama bill ayres share office building

obama little red church Ann dunham

Obama socialist conferences Columbia Cooper union

Obama critical race studies harvard

Obama father Kenya our socialism economist

Obama rev. Wright hope white greed

Obama redistributive change

Obama Edward Said

Greg,

Ah ha! I have studied and now know that Obama is a full-bore Marxist-Leninist! So, his health care plan is motivated by hoping to overcome the contradiction between exchange value and use value as discussed by Marx in the first chapter of Volume I of Capital. His protectionist policies are definitely driven by an effort to overcome the transformation problem between values and prices as recognized by Marx in Volume III of Capital. And, finally, his cap and trade bill on global warming is inspired by the critique of the tektology theory of Bogdanov made by Lenin in his Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. How could I have not realized this? I would have known it for sure if I had just read his books!

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