The Nobel Committee on Friday awarded President Obama its annual peace prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." (The New York Times)
What the commentators said
"This is completely bizarre," said Iain Martin in The Wall Street Journal. "Traditionally it has been standard procedure that winners of the prize do their peacemaking first." With whom has Obama made peace—Hillary Clinton? (watch the Obama Nobel Peace Prize announcement; watch Obama give a statement)
What President Obama has done, said Maria Farrell in Crooked Timber, is make peace possible again. The Bush presidency created a "tidal wave of bad faith" that discouraged international cooperation. Obama has "changed how the world feels about America. He’s lifted the planet’s mood. This guy is global Prozac."
Even the president's fans must admit, said Matt Lewis in Townhall.com, that the Obama Nobel peace prize was, "at least, a bit premature." The award couldn't have been based on accomplishments—Obama has "zero"—but on "lots of 'hope' for the future."
The hope is that Obama will advance "diplomacy rather than confrontation around the globe," said Jacob Heilbrunn in The Huffington Post, and he has already done that. He has improved U.S. relations with Europe and the world; focused on global warming; started talks with Iran ... "it would be hard to think of a more electrifying and deserved recipient of this year's Nobel Peace prize."
This kind of puts the whole Chicago Olympics rejection in perspective, said Rachel Sklar in Mediaite, "eh?" The Nobel Committee said it wasn't rewarding Obama for future achievements but trying to enhance his current diplomatic efforts. "No doubt the cries of 'USA! USA!' will be emanating from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show very soon."