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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

    I completely didn't see this coming. Barak Obama has just won the Nobel Peace Prize. From Salon.com:

    President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

    The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president...

    The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage. The plaudit appeared to be a slap at President George W. Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for resorting to largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

    Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

    "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee said. "In the past year Obama has been a key person for important initiatives in the U.N. for nuclear disarmament and to set a completely new agenda for the Muslim world and East-West relations."

    From BBC News:

    Asked why the prize had been awarded to Mr Obama less than a year after he took office, Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve".

    "It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said...

    "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope," said Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a former winner.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the award confirmed "America's return to the hearts of the people of the world".

    Another reactions, also from BBC News:


    I am happy. What Obama did during his presidency is a big signal, he gave hope. In these hard times people who are capable of taking responsibility, who have a vision, commitment and political will should be supported.

    I should note that most of those STRONGLY objecting to this event are American right wing Republicans and jihadist/pro-Taliban Muslims. I kid you not. The wording from both ends is almost identical and once again shows that intolerance looks similar wherever it comes from.

    However, there are some who look at this award to Obama skeptically, wondering if Obama has YET earned it, even though they are happy for the recognition. I hate to say this, but I have to join with those who feel it is too early for Obama to be honored in this way. I have little doubt that he will earn it in the long run and I think the right wing Republicans and fundamentalist Muslims are idiots in their criticisms of Obama. But I don't see that Obama's accomplishments to date warrant such a high honor. Considerable honor, yes. But not YET the Nobel prize. That said, it is an amazing turnaround in global opinion of America and our leadership. And again, I am sure that Obama will rise to the honor.

    Other American Presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize were Theodore Roosevelt (for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese war), Woodrow Wilson (for his efforts to create the League of Nations) and Jimmy Carter (for many of his efforts during and after his Presidency). Al Gore, who was likely the real winner of the 2000 election, Supreme Court aside, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight global warming.


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