Friday, 9 October 2009

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize: A Victory For Civilisation, Dialogue And Respect

The decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is a very welcomed decision and a development that could only be described as giving an honour to whom honour is due. I therefore wish to state that I am proud of the decision and it could not have come at any other time than this.

In less than one year in the office, Barack Obama has surely infected and transformed the world as well as added a new meaning to politics in particular and democracy in general. His popularity in every part of the world attests to the fact that if the whole world were to decide on who clinches this peace prize, he will still win it.

He came with the message of peace, change and hope and right from the time he took the world by surprise at the Democratic National Convention up till the announcement of this prize, every actions of President Obama has borne testimony to the fact that he is a man of peace, a lover of peace and person who is eager to have that peace disseminated to every part of the world.

His style of politics is an inclusive one and he derives joy in carrying everybody along with him despite fierce oppositions from here and there and yonder. His, is not a politics of vengeance or that of smear campaign and tarnishing of images. Even when he was called ‘that one’ by his Republican opponent John McCain during a televised debate, he remained unruffled and still maintained same decorum even when Sarah Pallin accused him of ‘palling with the terrorists’. Or have we quickly forgotten what he went through in the hands of the Clintons in the name of politics, but instead of vengeance and smear campaigns which are the normal thing in today’s politics, he made her his Secretary of State.

What else do we need to look at before giving him this prize? Obama believes in peace and he preached and practised it to the highest level. His concept of peace is intertwined with egalitarianism hence his decision to give all Americans equal access to health care. He does not believe that people should die if they do not have money for healthcare or go bankrupt simply because they want to access the health care. He is a passionate believer in the concept of health not only as particle of peace but a fundamental human right that must be made available to the entire populace for their enjoyment irrespective of status and income.

Despite all these goodwill, he has been a subject of series of attacks and smear campaigns even to the extent of being called a liar openly by a Republican senator. Interestingly, out of all these opportunities that offered him the prospect to go on revenge politics, he exhibited the highest form of maturity by preferring to carry on with the business of governance and taking us out of this financial mess instead of wasting time on his detractors, because to him peace must be allowed to reign supreme.

Obama is a passionate believer in peace and has said time without number that we cannot have peace unless everybody in the world is assured of one. It has been American foreign policy to protect itself from the outside world by all means in the name of security thinking that it is the way to be secured and in peace amongst themselves. Obama reversed it opining that no matter how high America build a wall around itself, it will never have peace till that peace is taken for granted in all parts of the world. Though this seems a feat impossible to achieve, he has been working towards that with all vigour and passion and we are already seeing the impact.

On many occasions, he extended a hand of fellowship to North Korea and Iran, both rebuffed that hand and to the Muslim world, he promised a new beginning and to carry them along if they denounce terrorism and join the train of civilisation and dialogue. He made his administration very open to all and runs an open door policy to the extent that he has taken the initiative to extend hands of fellowship to countries and groups America as a country would not have thought of doing business with including North Korea and Iran. Even his home country of Kenya was not spared. He threatened to place a travel ban and restrictions on top government officials including the government in power and the opposition if the peace accord is falls apart.

On the perennial issue of Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he demonstrated openness to resolve the problem during his term in the office and to have a Palestinian state realised during his tenure too. In a very strong voice, he condemned as completely unacceptable the expanding of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories and diplomatically threatened Israel with ‘you-would-have-to-be-on-your-own’ warning, if they delay or derail the peace process. He sent same message to all the parties in the Middle East that have the intention of being a cog in the wheel of the peace process.

In less than one year in the office, he promised to conclude the US unfinished business in Iraq as soon as possible even as he set security as his top priority in Afghanistan by committing more troops to stabilise the fragile country and ensure that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are kept at bay.

It is against this background that he sent an olive palm to the state of Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah and actually commenced his first foreign trip In Egypt, a muslin country as a sign of his willingness to bring all the Muslims on board in the attempt to forge a new partnership and beginning built on mutual respect, tolerance and accommodation even as he charged the Muslim world to ensure that the unscrupulous elements amongst them are not allowed to tarnish the image of Islam.

On the Nuclear ambition of the world superpowers, Barack Obama who is not only a lawyer but also a professor of law noted that nuclear power would never bring that peace we are anxious to get but would only contribute immensely to the status quo ante. He promised to reduce the stockpile of the United States nuclear war heads and invited Russia with a visit to the country to do same even as he cancelled the decision of the United States to build and install Missile Shield System in Eastern Europe which had the potential of drawing us back to another cold war. This was a decision any other American president would not have reversed out of ego. To Obama, peace must reign and must reign by all means no matter whose Ox is gored hence the scrapping of the system.

President Barack Obama was able to achieve these entire feats in less than one year in the office and that leads me to question his critics who insinuate that the award is too early or that he did not merit it. The fact is that Obama does not need to procrastinate like his predecessors before he could lay a solid foundation for peace especially in the Middle East. The earlier the better because his predecessors were trickishly fond of commending the whole process at the end of their tenure thereby achieving nothing at the end of the day. He reversed the trend by taking a bold step to step into the territory his predecessors were afraid of stepping into as early as possible. A sign of deep-hearted quest and commitment for peace.

What other presidents were not even able to achieve within their whole tenure, he was able to create impact on in less than one year in the office. That should be the more reason he should be given the prize. He closed the Guantanamo bay detention camp, pushed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change which successive American presidents vehemently refused to negotiate, contributed immensely with his stimulus plans to avoid the worst recession in the history of the world, brought peace between the police man and the Harvard professor and many others too numerous to mention here.

The fact is that no other newly elected US president would have been able to achieve so much in so little a time like Obama due to American ego but Obama shattered that ego opining that international peace is more important than American selfishness.

Barack Obama therefore is highly qualified to be the recipient of this year’s edition of the award and the decision of the Nobel Committee to award it to Obama is something to write home about for he changed the meaning of politics and steered the world out of doom in just less than one year in the office.

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