Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama’s Nobel Prize ‘Premature’: US Press

US President Barack Obama’s surprise win of the Nobel Peace Prize has been met with skepticism from American media, with some condemning the award as deeply ‘politicized’.
"It's an odd Nobel Peace Prize that almost makes you embarrassed for the honoree," the Washington Post said in an editorial on Saturday, October 10.
Obama was granted the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 on Friday for his “extraordinary” efforts in international diplomacy and hastening nuclear disarmament.
"A more suitable time for the prize would have been after those efforts had borne some fruit," the Post commented.
"It is no criticism of Mr Obama to note that, barely nine months into his presidency, his goals are still goals."
The mass-circulation daily noted that the prize came at a time when a hot debate is raging in the US over the Afghan war.
“The Obama administration announced a probable delay in its plan to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Israel's foreign minister told the world that the Middle East peace Mr. Obama has been promoting is not coming soon.
“The Nobel Committee's claim that Mr. Obama has "created a new climate in international politics" is about as realistic as last week's "Saturday Night Live" parody skewering the president for failing to deliver, already, on a series of campaign promises.”
The Los Angeles Times questioned whether Obama deserves the prize.
"Excessive praise can be unwelcome and embarrassing," the daily said.
"We endorsed him for the job, and we greatly prefer him to his predecessor. But it's difficult to see why he deserves the peace prize so soon after taking office.
“The Nobel committee didn't just embarrass Obama, it diminished the credibility of the prize itself."
The Wall Street Journal received the Obama’s Nobel Prize with “bemusement”.
“The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama yesterday was greeted with astonishment as much as any other emotion, even among many of his admirers.
“Our own reaction is bemusement at the Norwegian decision to offer what amounts to the world's first futures prize in diplomacy, with the Nobel Committee anticipating the heroic concessions that it believes Mr. Obama will make to secure treaties that will produce a new era of global serenity.”
The newspaper said Obama himself was amazed with the prize, which came less than ten months in office and having been inaugurated only 12 days before Nobel nominations were due in February.
Describing himself as surprised and deeply humbled, Obama said he would accept the award as a "call to action" to confront the global challenges of the 21st century.
"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," he said.
Obama, the first black president in US history, has been widely credited with improving America’s global image after the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush.
But critics called Obama’s Nobel Prize premature as he has achieved few tangible gains, citing the Afghan war, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea.
The New York Times said the Nobel Prize was an implicit condemnation of Bush's presidency.
"Americans elected Mr. Obama because they wanted him to restore American values and leadership -- and because they believed he could," The Times said.
"The Nobel Prize, and the broad endorsement that followed, shows how many people around the world want the same thing."
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