I can’t agree with my colleagues here on CONTENTIONS that a) Barack Obama should reject the Nobel Peace Prize or b) be embarrassed by it. The Nobel Committee chose him wisely because he does, in fact, represent the organization’s highest ideals.
He is an American president queasy about the projection of American power. He is an American president who rejects the notion of American exceptionalism. He is an American president eagerly in pursuit of legitimacy to be granted him not by those who voted for him but by those who do not cast a vote and who chafe at American leadership. It is his devout wish that America become one of many nations, influencing the world indirectly or not influencing it at all, rather than “the indispensable nation,” as Madeleine Albright characterized it. He is the encapsulation, the representative, the wish fulfillment, the very embodiment, of the multilateralist impulse. He is, almost literally, a dream come true for the sorts of people who treasure and value the Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s the most obvious choice, once you think about it, since Michael Moore won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine.