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Friday, October 9, 2009

Flapping mouths won't bring peace

It's times like these that I get pretty fed up with the blogosphere, the punditosphere, and all the other spheres of empty talk. The Nobel committee is not going to take back Obama's Peace Prize no matter what anyone says, so why don't the critics give it a rest and tell us what they are doing for peace themselves. How about a donation to a peace organization or a group working for nuclear disarmament, for starters? There are also organizations working to stop the world-wide arms trade. But perhaps it is easier for those who have never lifted a finger for world peace to question the modest but non-negligible efforts that Obama and his team have actually made.

Update. Despite the cacophony there has been some intelligent comment, and as usual some of the best of it comes from Glenn Greenwald.

Update II: More good sense, even if it doesn't agree with Greenwald's take on things, from Tim Rutten at the Los Angeles Times. I personally tend to agree more with Rutten than with Greenwald, even though both make good and relevant points.

3 comments:

Anne Gilbert said...

I was absolutely flabbergasted to learn that the Nobel Committee had awarded President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. I couldn't figure out quite why. But I was even more amazed and flabbergasted to discover that practically from the moment this was announced, somebody decided to criticize it. Still, I'm most astounded at Obama's response: he's going to travel to Oslo to receive it, and use that platform to urge people to find ways of bringing peace about. He also mentioned that he was humbled by the honor, more or less admitting that he's nowhere near the likes of say, Nelson Mandela. I am humbled too, but the courage it must have taken for him to admit this. Maybe he actually does deserve this honor.
Anne G

Iain Davidson said...

I was surprised, but a moment's reflection shows that I should not have been. How does anyone actually contribute to Peace? What Obama achieved really quickly was a complete reversal in the rhetoric about the role of the US and about the responsibilities of all countries towards others. What the award says is that it is in a rhetorical climate of mutual responsibility rather than competing self-interest that there can be a solution to many of the intractable problems. And there are two ways to get the irresponsible to recognise this: 1) by pointing out for all to see that that is their duty; 2) by quietly telling them that that is what you expect. Without 1) 2) can be ignored. Let us hope that it works. And the speech at the award ceremony will be part of the continuing pressure for civility in international relations. I think he deserved it. Maybe he could be the first to win twice, when his responsibility offensive reaches fruition.

jqb said...

Obama not only said he was humbled and not deserving, but he also said "I will accept this award as a call to action" -- which is exactly what we want.

On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh, the designated leader of the Republican Party (the "loyal opposition", heh heh), said he agrees with Iran and the Taliban that Obama does not deserve the prize.