Archive for October 10th, 2009
It’s been some time since I’ve posted a song of the day. Today’s song is “The Mountain” by Heartless Bastards. “The Mountain” is the title track from their newest album and was recommended to me by my friend, Cameron. I’ve been digging it pretty hard, especially Erika Wennerstrom’s voice. There’s something mystifying about it.
Enjoy Heartless Bastards.
From the Nobel Prize website:
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009
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 USA 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.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”
He is winning this prize for the change he has brought to our relationship with the world. His speech to the Muslim world in Cairo was amazing. No longer will it be us versus them. No longer will it be framed as a religious “crusade” (one of the worst things Bush ever said). We will engage others to avoid many of the problems of the past. His decisions and actions have paved a path for a more peaceful world. He also changed our path by instantly attempting to close Guantanamo, banning torture, and banning CIA black sites. Then there is the reengagement with the United Nations.
This is why I think he got it, but I’m not totally convinced he deserved it. This is obviously controversial for a reason. My reasons might be a little different than others. He has changed the way the world looks at us and our interactions with the world. While he hasn’t accomplished much in the way of domestic policy (though not for lack of trying) he has changed our world image. I accept these things, but I’m also not sure he’s done as much as he could. I’m not sure if he deserves the prize (partially because I’m not sure who else was a candidate).
He has continued rendition. Though he inherited them, he is presiding over wars (or at least a war and an occupation). The administration is making demands that would undermine the Kyoto Protocol.
The bottom line is that many liberals are as upset about this as conservatives. There is some speculation that perhaps this was given in the hope that it would inspire Obama to peaceful actions, but I’m not sure I believe that. Many liberals think he needs to now earn the award he won.
It is sort of odd that conservatives are upset about this. If he would actually do things that would make him very worthy of the award, they would disagree with most of them. He hasn’t reduced the scale of the war in Afghanistan, stop Israeli expansion, truly fight global warming, and so on. Conservatives would probably hate these things.
I don’t like that some Democrats and progressive groups are framing conservative outrage as them siding with terrorists. That is the exact same BS we had to deal with when we opposed Bush’s policies, and we are supposed to be better than that. I can’t stand that stupid kind of rhetoric.
But let’s also not say he’s done nothing to deserve this. I think there probably were more deserving people, but it’s not as though Obama hasn’t done anything.
Also, here is a video with Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee:
It can sort of be summed up by the statement, “We feel that he has basically produced a new international climate.”
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