It’s safe to say that the Nobel committee is betting on America to help lead on a number of issues. The award this morning of President Barack Obama for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is more an affirmation of the hope and diplomacy such a person can bring to the world, and less a pat on the back for his past achievements. Whether or not this complicates Obama’s agenda is an entirely different matter. One thing we do know is that committee also recognized the President for his position on climate change. “Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting,” they stated.
Of course, the Copenhagen climate talks haven’t even started yet — but as the Wall Street Journal points out, “Europeans, like the Nobel committee, put more weight on intentions. Americans tend to focus on achievements.” Even the best intentions mean “jack squat” if nothing comes out of them — but as Obama said this morning in reaction to winning, he would accept the award as a “call to action” for all nations to address global challenges.
“They include peace in the Middle East, the threat from nuclear weapons, global warming, and the battles against poverty, disease, and injustice,” he added.
Only time and action will show how prescient the Nobel committee’s decision truly was.