In a controversial and surprising move, the Nobel Peace Committee nominated Barack Obama today for the Nobel Peace Prize. They cited his steps to promote world peace, and especially his efforts to create a nuclear free world.
The nay-sayers are already out in force, citing that there Obama’s presidency is in its infancy (he’s only within the first year of his tenure), that the U.S. is heavily involved in many wars, and there are more deserving candidates.
But despite this almost pavlovian anti-Americanism that is rampant among the world, this signals a fresh break and a signal of change from the Peace Committee. And one that I believe is important to take a closer look at.
Obama does not have an easy road ahead of him, and people tend to forget that he is dealing with a plate full of problems that he did not create. The wars in Iraq (which he was from the get-go against) and Afghanistan; the financial crisis; a plate full of domestic issues including health care reform; and an increasingly global world in need of cooperation on a global scale.
These, like it or not, are some of the main problems that face our generation today. And I cannot think of any figure in the world who has more of an ability to make a positive change on all of these issues.
Political scientists talk about soft power, or the power a person’s personality or reputation can do to move or change politics. By giving Obama this award, it only increases his political clout, and gives him a much needed boost when people are starting to think his vision and ideas are waning.
One of the main reasons for giving Obama the award was to increase his soft power. Increasing and encouraging Obama’s reputation will promote changing these visions and ideals of hope into a reality. Obama is deserving of this award, but with it he gets a greater responsibility to pursue the vision he created when he started on his presidency campaign. Hopefully Obama steps up to the challenge.
What do you think? Was he deserving? What does this decision mean?