For a domestic audience, President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is arguably awkward. Concern-troll Mickey Kaus is already editorializing that he should turn it down, in a concession that, as Morrissey once crooned, he just hasn’t earned it yet. And I don’t know.
But turning it down would be a slap in the face to an international community that is showing, in the most generous way possible, that it wants the U.S. back as a leading component of the global order. The issue is not Barack Obama. It’s what the president represents internationally: a symbol of an America that is willing, once again, to drive the international system forward, together, toward the humane positive-sum goals of peace and disarmament. The fact that Obama hasn’t gotten the planet there misses the point entirely. It’s that he’s beginning, slowly, to take the world again down the path.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, observes that the award is a “recognition of President Obama’s work to strengthen international cooperation. It validates the president’s approach to tough trans-national challenges such as global warming and the spread of nuclear arms. And it celebrates his steady efforts to improve America’s standing around the world.”