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19.12.2009 Feature Article

President Obama`s Nobel peace prize (2)

President Obama`s Nobel peace prize (2)
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The current controversy on this subject matter - involving claims in many quarters that President Barack Obama of the United States of America (USA), “does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize and should reject it”, or, bluntly, that he was “unworthy of the most prestigious global award” – offers a beautiful opportunity to address the whole issue of world peace and the attributes of any Nobel Peace Laureate. As argued on Monday, some of the reactions had been based on fallacies, misconceptions and assumptions that the man had done nothing so far to merit the award.

Even the usually well - informed Washington Post in one of its comments about him and the Prize, noted “…the idea that Obama is such a beloved figure on the world stage because he has eventually capitulated to the demands of the international community.”

On contended here last week at the beginning of this series that that word “capitulated”, was not only ambiguous but a patently unenlightened way of appraising diplomatic issues in the present world. The reasons are not far to seek, for those who genuinely wish to find them.

To avoid wastage of time and space, it is enough to state that in the true democratic spirit, a positive response to the wishes or demands of the majority, cannot, anywhere, be rightly interpreted to mean capitulation.

Secondly, the question logically arises: Was and is the United States supposed to ignore “the demands of the international community” in the first place?

Would the Washington Post have been happy if President Obama had chosen to continue with the classification of the world into two – “The Axis of Evil”, and what was the other axis now? It has to be the opposite of evil, of course, and the nearest opposites one can think of that have nothing to do with being devilish are “Axis of the good”, and the “Saintly nations.”

That cow-boyish compartmentalization of the globe (into the good and evil), took such weighty decisions out of the hands of the United Nations Organization (UNO) and into the hands of the leader of the USA, whose world –view and personality mix could not always guarantee the sanest decisions and actions on the domestic and global scenes.

That was the dilemma of the USA under President George W. Bush, and nobody can deny today, that America was actually rescued from an imminent fall in political, moral and economic terms by the emergence of a new leader there, on January 20, 2009.

But that is not focus here; it is, rather, that the claims “that the American President has not done enough to deserve the award” (THIS DAY (Sunday), October 18,2009 (page 18), cannot be validated , judging by the available evidence and previous observations.

And that was where most negative commentaries on the awardee's fitness for the prize missed the whole point: The award was not about giving past marks to any incumbent, but determining what he did before his inauguration on January 20 and perhaps after (until the October announcement of the award at least), that made him deserve the honour.

After all, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in 1984, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr. 20 years before him, in 1964, both won the same award, it was the ideals, values and the prospects inherent in their thoughts and actions – not necessarily the immediate materialization of social justice and freedom, or true democracy and egalitarianism in South Africa and the USA respectively – that earned them the award of that prestigious prize.

Therefore, my points are that there are many things about the personality; vision, mission and actions of anybody announced for this prize in particular, that demand the closest attention in the interest of proper understanding , objectivity and even credibility, on the parts of those commenting on winners.

It is against this backdrop that one now wishes to proceed in asserting most unequivocally that President Barack Hussein Obama, by the grace of almighty God and the American electorate President of the United States of America, merits the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, as much as those before him did, and perhaps even more, in some cases.

Not surprisingly and in keeping with the point above, the Norwegian Nobel Committee reportedly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary effort to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.”

That was well put, but does not go far or deep enough to underscore why the man thoroughly deserved the award.

However, before going further, please pardon my immodesty as I refer to my write-up titled “President Obama and world peace” in this column on Monday, May 4, 2009 at page 17. Only two paragraphs will suffice: “….. Other Presidents were and are supposed to be consolidating the prospects of world peace, not aggravating global tension and the separation of nations.

Emphasizing the need for consensus on international development, understanding and co-operation, not digging more trenches for renewed conflicts and hostilities…….

President Obama's smiles and hand -shakes and open declarations of mutual respect and co-operation are the foundations of what we need for world peace today.

He is leading the world away from destruction and making the USA morally richer, stronger, more respectable and appreciated by securing co-operation, not terrorizing nations.”

If, barely five months after that assessment, the man got picked as the Nobel Peace Laureate less than 200 days into his Administration, wetin spoil? Must he have waited another three or seven years before being deemed worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize?

Is it not widely acknowledged that “the morning shows the day”, and that long before his presidential victory, his intellectual endowments, carriage and words of wisdom, had marked him out as “a man most likely to excel” at the national and international levels? Just what those indicators of excellence were, will be the next focus of attention.

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2009

The author has 1023 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GhanaianChronicle

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