Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama's Nobel "Not Bush" Prize: The Pretty American

In the attached Cato Institute podcast by Ted Galen Carpenter he comments and provides insights on President Obama's award of the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Carpenter provokes curious thought as to why Mr. Obama was awarded this prize. He advances the notion that the Nobel committee awarded the President this 'love letter' more as a measurement of how Europeans were upset with former President Bush's international defense polices vs. the substance of President Obama's current policies, as such.

Mr. Carpenter states that President Obama has represented to the international community a change in the "tone and image" of U.S. foreign policy, but questions if that is more perception over reality. By way of example Mr. Obama, in one of his first major decisions on trade policy, imposed a 35% tariff on tires from China. Reaction from China's Ministry of Commerce was that the move violated WTO rules by saying, "China strongly opposes this serious act of trade protectionism by the U.S.".

In addition the President's strong sanctions against N.Korea and Iran, the escalation of troops in Afghanistan and his promised, but yet to be seen, withdrawal of troops in Iraq, although all justified defense measures, are hardly examples of a "peaceful" approach to international relations warranting a Nobel Peace prize.

President Obama's rhetoric to the international community as the "pretty American" may smack of being the anti-Bush as far as the world's view of the new President is concerned, but his examples as such do not appear to meet the Peace Prize criteria. The Nobel committee may very well have bought hook, line and sinker into the "hope and change" hype of the Obama presidential campaign machine . Only time will tell if they regret their, at best, premature decision.
Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of eight and the editor of 10 books on international affairs. Carpenter is contributing editor to the National Interest and serves on the editorial boards of Mediterranean Quarterly and the Journal of Strategic Studies, and is the author of more than 350 articles and policy studies. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the National Interest, World Policy Journal, and many other publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs in the United States, Latin America, Europe, East Asia, and other regions. Carpenter received his Ph.D. in U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Texas.

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