Friday, 9 October 2009

Nobel Peace Prize for Obama - A Bit Premature?

I was very surprised to read the news of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. So surprised that I at first thought it was an elaborate April Fool's joke (of course it's October, but still).

Now readers of my blog know that I greatly respect and admire the man, so I don't grudge him the prize at all. I believe that by the time he completes his two terms (which he should if all goes well), he would have achieved enough to deserve the award twice or thrice over.

However, he hasn't really achieved anything yet. All we have so far is hope, because he has made a good start on many fronts. He has adopted a more conciliatory, less arrogant tone in public discourse. He treats even his adversaries with respect and tries to win bipartisan support for his initiatives. US foreign policy has suddenly begun to appear almost benign after decades of being a bag of dirty tricks for the rest of the world. And his personal style is magnetic and charming. No one but the most die-hard Republican/Conservative can fail to be impressed. But it's still only a good start. The results aren't in yet.

I think the Nobel Prize Committee jumped the gun. They really should have waited. This year's prize should have gone to the various relief agencies that pitched in to help victims of natural disasters around the globe. That would have been a more timely recognition of valuable work going on right now. What will the committee do after a few years, when Obama actually achieves some tangible outcomes? Award him a second prize?

In short, I don't think Obama's Nobel is undeserved, just premature.

[The Taliban have criticised the award to Obama. That settles it for me. Now I'm fully convinced he deserves it :-).]

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