President Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in what the Associated Press is calling a "stunning decision" that was designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world, and stress diplomacy. Obama is only the third sitting president to win the prize, with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson coming before him. (Former president Jimmy Carter won in 2002, long after he left office. )
While the award is an honor for the president and America, some Nobel observers say it comes too early in his presidency. The deadline for nominations was February 1, which was less than two weeks after he took office.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood brought about by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, but also recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit, such as reducing the stockpile of nuclear arms, easing tensions with the Muslim world, and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change. Former Polish President Lech Walesa, himself a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, said President Obama hasn't had enough time to act on many of these issues and he felt that he should have been given time to act and perservere before winning the award.
What do you think? Is it too soon? The award is no doubt an honor, and the president is to be commended for being in the elite club of three. I only hope that the prize encourages him to do a better job of making better decisions for America in a more timely fashion. The recent discussion surrounding the controversy over Obama's relationship with General McChrystal and the action that is desparately needed in regards to more troops for Afghanistan is the perfect example of how his past indecision has hurt America. Hopefully, the "peace prize" won't encourage him to take even longer to decide on the important issues facing this country.
No matter what your politics or opinion of the president, today is a day of honor for him, and he should be allowed to savor it. His efforts should be applauded by all of us as he reaches out to the international community in the hopes of making the world a safer place. But it is also critical that he remember the 300-million people that need him here in the U.S., and our own security, economy, and healthcare concerns must come before all of his international efforts.
While it is great to have a president who is a Nobel Peace Prize Winner , it is even better to have a president who remembers that service and dedication begin at home.
Congratulations, Sir, and be sure to enjoy your award today, because the hard work resumes tomorrow.