President Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize under clouds of controversy. His decision to skip some of the events surrounding his award ceremony offended his Norwegian hosts, and his lack of tangible accomplishments and escalation of the war in Afghanistan led many to question the decision to award Obama the Peace Prize. (Watch a report on international reception to Obama's Nobel Prize.) Not everyone is down on Obama, though. Here's a look at what commentators worldwide are saying:
Obama deserves the prize: "There has been no shortage of critical and sarcastic headlines in the international media" about Obama's Nobel Prize, says Harald Stanghelle in Norway's Aftenposten, via Watching America. But "who has done more to deserve the peace prize"? Obama isn't a "savior," but he's moving at a "frantic pace" to reshape international politics toward cooperation, "brotherhood," and nuclear nonproliferation.
"The great Nobel battle"
War should not merit a peace prize: Accepting the Nobel Prize was "a cynical act" by Obama, says Fidel Castro in Cuba's Granma, via Reuters, after "he'd already decided to fight the Afghanistan war to the last." When Obama was named the Nobel winner, I said it was "a positive development," but that was before I knew his Afghanistan policy is "the same as Bush's."
"Obama wasn't obliged to commit a cynical act"
Give Obama credit for bravery: "Obama clearly longs to be a man of peace," but he has a responsibility to protect America, says Rosie DiManno in The Toronto Star. And I see "no contradiction ... in Obama delivering a treatise on justifiable war while accepting the global community's highest recognition of peace." In fact, his "brave" decision to "speak unpopular truths" made this "Obama's finest rhetorical hour."
"Obama's not afraid to tell ugly truth"
The Nobel is for actions, not words: Obama's acceptance speech was "excellent on all counts," says Gabor Steingart in Germany's Der Spiegel, but "the Nobel is not a prize for speechifying, and it's not a prize for promises." It's a prize for peace, and for past accomplishments. Obama's "just war" strategy might, as he hopes, bring a "just peace," but the Nobel Peace Prize "is no betting game."
"The wrong prize at the wrong time"
Peace prizes are irrelevant to peace: Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize "because his intentions are 'good,'" says Mohammad Salah in Lebanon's Dar Al-Hayat, not because his policies have "achieved any peace on the ground." But that's nothing new. Remember, "dozens of leaders, officials and prominent figures have been awarded peace prizes" for their obviously fruitless efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace.
"Trading in peace"