Monday, October 12, 2009

Now Accepting An Award is a "Big Mistake".

There seems to be an never ending line of people saying that Obama should not have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, even though he specifically made it clear that he was accepting it on behalf of American ideals as opposed to anything which he has specifically done up until this point.

Ross Douthat in The New York Times takes it further by arguing that Obama should have actually refused to accept it and thinks that Obama has made a big mistake by not doing so.

Here was a place to draw a clean line between himself and all the overzealous Obamaphiles, at home and abroad, who poured their post-Christian, post-Marxist yearnings into the vessel of his 2008 campaign.

Here was a chance to establish himself, definitively, as an American president — too self-confident to accept an unearned accolade, and too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug.

He didn’t take it. Instead, he took the Nobel Peace Prize.

Big mistake.
One of the things which became very clear during the presidency of Obama's predecessor was that America's position as leader of the free world was one that the world no longer wore with pride. The embrace of torture, at first denied but then explicitly defended under the notion that "it worked", left most of the planet disgusted; as was witnessed by the free fall in America's popularity throughout the globe.

One of the main reasons that Bush was so loathed - apart from his embrace of a practice as hideous as torture and his decision to wage war outside of the UN Charter - was his lack of interest in the opinion of even his strongest allies and his insistence that he was "the decider" and that the world would simply have to accept any action which his administration took, whether it was legal or not.

Obama has reversed world opinion in a remarkably short period of time, I would suggest because he has reversed the neo-con mindset that the US rules the globe and that the rest of us simply have to deal with it.

Douthat's main reason for suggesting that Obama should have refused this award is that, to do so, would have proven that Obama is "too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug."

That reasoning sounds awfully like the way the Bush administration used think. That Europeans were "elitist" and terribly unrealistic with all their talk of compromise and negotiations.

Obama, unlike Bush, is listening to others and, I suspect, is bang on the money when he suggests that this award has been given to him as an encouragement to continue down his chosen path rather than embrace the route of his predecessor. And, as Obama achieved more in one day talking to Iran than Bush achieved through eight years of belligerence, I think Obama's way is promising to be far more fruitful.

I don't know Douthart's work, but I detect more than a whiff of Donald Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" patronisation in his words.

When someone offers you an honour it is rude not to accept. Especially if you are refusing on the grounds that the honour represents "European humbug".

Douthart is asking Obama to undermine the very thing which he has done to reverse his nation's unpopularity. He is asking that Obama needlessly insult people, when they are merely trying to offer him help to complete the task he has set himself.

That was the way of the Bush administration, and we all know how that worked out.

Click title for full article.

No comments: