In all frankness, this is undeserved. Most charitably, Mr. Obama has yet to achieve much on the international front, save substantive re-engagement with North Korea and some good atmospherics with much of the rest of the world. These are good things, maybe great things compared to the Bush legacy, but not worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Less charitably, while the US is partially withdrawing from Iraq — but only partially — there are no signs of withdrawal in Afghanistan, Predator drones are still shooting people, Guantanamo is still open, what appear to be war crimes by people in high places are not being investigated.
Here is the full text of the citation,
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to 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.
Nuclear weapons? I don't see much progress there, did I miss something? At first blush this seems the least defensible choice since 1994, or maybe 1973. (Full list of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates — make your own nomination for 'least defensible choice since….')
I hope some good comes of it, somehow.
Best case for the award I can come up: Obama has moved away from the Bush administration policy of pre-emptive self defense. That indeed does contribute significantly to world peace. But it's not noted in the citation, except maybe by implication. Plus, have we officially repudiated the unilateralist elements of the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States yet?