Like many of you I woke up this morning looking for the headlines on the “shock and awe” bombing of the moon by NASA. However, the top headline was Obama’s nomination as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Irony in the timing of this award– was that not only is Obama President of a Nation a few hours away from Bombing the moon ( with numerous un-known alien casualties!)—but he is also considering sending more troops to war in Afghanistan. I was ecstatic, as a big Obama fan— and could have uttered a congratulations, if I miraculously ran into Obama in the hall-ways of the White House. But after having my breakfast, I was forced to Google “ Obama’s achievements” to make sure I haven’t missed anything in the last couple years. I don’t want to make this a political attack like many hungry-Obama haters from the Republican/Conservative wing who came out swinging—some of whom stated that Obama should turn down the award. Others suggested that the award should be given to the tea-baggers who paraded Washington speaking out against Obama’s policies (Or race according to former President Jimmy Carter). This is a global award and let’s just step out-side the box and view this event from a global perspective. Do Obama’s achievements “so far” add up to land him the Nobel peace prize?
I understand that Obama’s campaign slogan was “Yes we can” and has been revered as a symbol of “HOPE” and “CHANGE” for America. It never occurred to me that this message would infiltrate the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee. The rationale for the selection according to the committee was that “there is a “CHANGE” in Global mood since the election of Obama. That In fact Obama’s call for peace and cooperation, and his pledge to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease U.S. conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen its role in combating climate change—makes him a good candidate. Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee further defended the decision by stating that “Some people say — and I understand it — ‘isn’t it premature? Too early?’ Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now,” Much as this argument makes some sense—it makes me wonder which candidates were among the 205 nominees who were eliminated. It is like coming second best to a classmate in a final exam who simply showed the professor their strategy for preparing for the test. I lived in Norway for two years and understand how gracious these people are –but if I knew they were this gracious, I never would have left. Obama has a great foreign policy vision and has made some great speeches to rally the international community in Berlin as well as at the United Nations—but we need to see some “Meat” before we start drooling. My grand-mother used to tell me that “a half-done job is like no job done.” Obama’s dream and initiative is a work in progress and I believe initiative alone does not deserve such a prize. One ought to take the step and cross the finishing line.
How about a quick glance at the present state of Obama’s young presidency. He is still deeply buried in the war in Afghanistan. I believe that anyone who believes that ‘ War is the solution to solving global problems is not worthy of the Nobel Peace prize. “War” and “Peace” are words that should not be in the same sentence. Secondly, Obama has continued with the policy of not listening to the enemy. I understand the whole campaign was to change strategy and talk to the enemy—(which could happen in the future—and he still appears open to the idea)—but I will judge him based on what I have seen so far. At the recent United Nations summit in New York—none of the leaders of the so called powerful Nations was present –and many walked out when—“the people they disagreed with were making speeches.” I understand Obama would take a lot of heat from the media and sections of Americans for staying in the room to listen to Ahmadinejad or Ghadaffi speak—but if we are to award him the Nobel Peace Prize, we expect him to be the global leader who brings the “CHANGE” and “PEACE” we expect in the world. With all this criticism, I know that no one is perfect and I understand the complexity of American politics and the delicate balance Obama has to find between his political ground in the United States and his global initiative. But at the same time we are not talking about an American award but rather a global award. When I step outside the box, I argue that we need to see more action and results from Obama before we can crown him global Nobel peace worthy. However, I will not go as far as demanding that he turns down the award—-Obama humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and stated that much as he believes that he does not deserve to be in the company of many transformative figures who have won this prize—he considers this symbolic moment as “a call for action.” This is what makes President Obama “Nobel” but not yet “Nobel Peace”
© Kawuma Daniel Busuulwa