I told a friend that he had won.
He said, with a brightness in his voice, “cool. What for?”
I said, “Yeah, exactly.” In fact, that’s kind of what Obama said.
A few think that this shows how meaningless the prize is. After all, the prize survived Arafat and Kissenger. Other conservatives are infuriated. If Obama were walking on water, Michelle Malkin would complain that he couldn’t swim. She suggests that he refuse the prize. Why? He can use the money for some good, and it shows respect the Nobel Committee. Further, that he won is a source of pride for all American Citizens. Besides, if he refused he’d be accused of being a pacifist.
I was also perplexed. Contrary to what most conservatives think, Obama’s not exactly a peace-nik. He’s not taken on the Military-Industrial complex, except in its most egregious forms. He hasn’t pulled out of Iraq, and is probably going to increase troops in Afghanistan.
What he has done is move from an ideological liberalism/neoconservatism that framed Bush’s foreign policy to a pragmatic realist position. Ironically, what Bush showed the world is that a liberal world order can not be achieved through military force.
Winning the Nobel Peace Prize does not mean Obama has been anointed to solve the world’s problems. It says more about how the committee has reflected the world’s optimism now that he is president. We should congratulate him.