Obama Win Mystifies Both Admirers and Detractors

What was the committee thinking, given the challenges in Afghanistan and Iraq?
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2009 6:29 AM CDT
Chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland, announces in Oslo, Friday Oct. 9, 2009, that the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 will be awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Torbjorn Gronning)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama was in office for just two weeks when the deadline for this year's Nobel Peace Prize passed, yet the first-term president has already got himself the world's most famous award. Detractors and admirers are both scratching their heads.

  • "This is completely bizarre," writes Wall Street Journal editor Iain Martin. Obama has not made peace with anyone, except possibly Hillary Clinton. It's a "post-modern" award: "He doesn’t actually have to do it, he just has to have aspirations."

  • Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman calls himself "a genuine admirer of Obama," but even he thinks the award is premature. Not only that, it's "very odd timing"—in a few weeks he'll probably be sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan, which could still end up as "Obama's Vietnam."
  • On the National Review's blog, John J. Miller says the Nobel committee is guilty of "wishful thinking." His predecessors Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both led major, successful diplomatic efforts and were both in their second terms. As for Obama, he's the first president to win "without having accomplished anything."