i must confess that my first reaction upon hearing that president obama won the nobel peace prize is that this is great news, if only because it will drive the obama-haters completely bonkers. (i suspect the main reason gary welsh doesn't have a seething rant up about this is because he's too enraged to form sentences.) but on reflection, the decision makes a lot of sense.
the US is the most powerful country in the world (militarily if not economically), and less than a year ago our president was a narcissistic warmonger who continuously thumbed his nose at the rest of the world because he believed he was personally chosen by god. president obama has made a point of turning things around, of re-engaging with the rest of the world. this, in and of itself, is no small accomplishment.
but, as obama himself noted in his remarks this morning, this nobel prize isn't so much about what he's accomplished, but about what he—and the world—hopes to accomplish. it's about hope—hope that, under obama's leadership, we can turn things around after eight long years in the wilderness. yes, the award is a repudiation of bush's policies, but it's more than that—it's the world's way of saying, "we're with you, obama! don't let us down!"
obama's challenge now is to live up to the honor, to prove that he deserves it. in his first months in office, he's made some strong steps in the right direction, but also some missteps. the challenges he faces are extremely difficult, but i hope he can live up to them over the next three-to-seven years. ¶