Commentary Magazine


Contentions

President Obama Deserves the Nobel Prize After All

Let’s face it—President Obama is starting to deserve the Nobel Prize he received in December 2009, although it is unlikely that this is what the mild-mannered Norwegians had in mind in awarding it to him.

Obama promised to close Guantanamo—no doubt a factor for the Nobel Committee. Yet Guantanamo is still there, and we now know that it was intelligence dug up at Guantanamo that led to Osama bin Laden’s liquidation.

Before becoming president, Obama was an anti-war candidate—yet he ordered the surge in Afghanistan, expanded the aggressive use of predator-drone strikes on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border, and endorsed the Libya no-fly zone. Again, probably not what the Committee had in mind.

Speaking of which—the killing of Osama bin Laden is the kind of extrajudicial killings (I prefer the more sanguine “targeted assassinations”) that invariably secures condemnation for Israel at the UN Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, and other august institutions whose mind-set is on the same wavelength as the Nobel Committee. Can you imagine Ariel Sharon’s winning the Nobel Prize for having Sheikh Ahmed Yassin eliminated? Obama’s dispatching of Osama bin Laden to the flaming depths of hell is not the first instance of this president ordering the termination of a jihadist (see under: drones, above). With any luck, it will not be the last time either.

Finally, Obama was the multilateralist president—respectful of international law, keen on the UN, open to dialogue, ready for negotiation, mindful of the sensitivities of other cultures and countries. One more reason for the Nobel Peace Prize. How does his reputation for multilateralism square with conducting such a daring military operation without even asking permission to Pakistan—the fugitive’s host country?

Obama’s first, magnificent foreign-policy success resulted from going against all the reasons that probably brought him the Prize in the first place. Good on him—and a vote of thanks to America and its firepower, still the best guarantees for making the world a safer place.