Editorials and Opinions

Opposing Viewpoints: Barack Obama’s recent Nobel Peace Prize win is an undeserved mistake

By Aron Milberg
Published: December 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has chosen to award President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at international diplomacy. In my opinion, Obama has made a fool of himself by flying around the world to receive it. Not only is his very winning of the prize a flawed judgment, but it reflects poorly on his moral fiber for him to accept it. There is a certain level of bad faith required to justify such an action, to be an open man of war and accept a prize for peace.
Obama’s win indicates a growing trend of pragmatism’€that is to say, a growing emphasis on practicality over truth or reason. The Nobel Committee’s willingness to so easily hand out a prize that once stood for the highest honor in left and liberal circles, illustrates that they are beginning to diverge from those people who are actually actively against war, exploitation, killing, and imperialism.

Moreover, much to my dismay, Obama is not a friend of the peace movement. He has created too many issues for himself with healthcare and other such problems, and has not turned his attention to the wars in which America, the country he is supposed to manage, is engaged.

It is true that he started to withdraw troops from Iraq, but to be truly considered anti-war, a candidate should necessarily take a “troops out now stance and recognize that the act of militarily occupying a sovereign nation is a crime. He must realize that it is our nation’s responsibility to leave a country to its own devices while still supporting them in efforts to rebuild.

When it comes to Afghanistan, however, there is no redeeming gray area to Obama’s policy. Not only did he not make an effort to reduce troops in the nation, he has now licensed 30,000 troops to further occupy its territory.

The justification is, ostensibly, that these troops are necessary to root out terrorist forces in Afghanistan that could pose a danger to America. Let us not forget, however, that recent military reports have shown that Americans in Afghanistan are, for the most part, fighting not members of terrorist cells, but poor farmers who want to defend their right to their own land.

The Taliban has relocated, in fact, to Pakistan, which is in a state of disarray trying to stabilize itself. If Obama really wanted to strike a blow against the Taliban, he would have to invade Pakistan and consequently completely destroy civil order in the tenuous area of the Asian subcontinent.

I cannot say that Obama can be called a true man of peace. He has increased war efforts in Afghanistan, he has not pulled enough troops out of Iraq, and he has not taken a firm stance on the actions of Israel.

Though he may not necessarily be characterized as a war-hawk, by any means, based on those decisions he can neither be characterized as the kind of peace-driven revolutionary that he has been made out to be. And that being said, Obama should at least have been honest with himself and with the world and declined to receive the unwarranted honor bestowed upon him.

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