A Change of Tone Garners Nobel Peace Prize


nobel_peacePresident Barack Obama has captured the imagination of the world, and by doing so has earned the world’s most prestigious peace award, The Nobel Peace Prize.  Like millions of Americans I woke up this morning to the stunning news that the President had been awarded the Peace Prize.  I congratulate him because I believe he has elevated America again to a position of leadership in the international community.

My commitment as a follower of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, means that I am theologically predisposed to peace here on God’s good earth.  Jesus’ encouraging words — “Blessed are the peacemakers” — have more than just a spiritual application.  Jesus himself lived in an era in which the Pax Romana came at the end of a Roman spear.  I believe he understood well the need for both political and spiritual peace among humankind.

Of course, there are those who will seek to detract from the award to the President.  For the skeptics, the naysayers, and the cabal of critics, my question is this — “Why wouldn’t we want to be known as a nation of peacemakers?”

I am reading Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and The Path to War in Vietnam.  The thing that strikes me so far in this book is the casual attitude those in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had toward escalating the war there.  If we have learned anything in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan it should be that war does not guarantee peace.   I have long contended that one cannot fight for peace.  You can fight for a host of other issues, but peace is never achieved by fighting.  Peace comes by seeking peace, by peacemaking as the first order of concern.

I realize that many of you may disagree with me, and that is your privilege to do so.  But this morning I am heartened at the news that the world recognizes Americans have the capacity to make peace, as well as wage war.  What do you think?

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7 Comments

  1. Chuck, it is stunning that Pres. Obama was awarded this prize. I too agree that as Christ-followers we should be disposed for seeking peace. My problem with this award being given to Pres. Obama now is that it seems to devalue the actual work of securing efforts of peace and elevate the simple rhetoric of peace & collaboration. If it is solely based on the potential to achieve peace rather than the hard work of collaborating for peace the award is cheapened. The committee’s comment seem to indicate they are asserting a political aspiration rather than acknowledging the accomplishments of a person or group. To that end, it’s no more than a vote of approval than a recognition of accomplishment. You see my issue is not with Obama but with the committee.

  2. Granted this was a stunning, surprising move by the Nobel committee. But my point is, it’s their prize and they can award it to whomever they want for whatever they want to recognize. The committee acknowledges that they are seeking to encourage the world to follow the Obama lead. Nothing wrong with that in my book. I say let’s all enjoy a positive moment for the President and our nation. Of course, it’s already too late for that as the partisans are in full-flower today, which I think is sad for our nation.

  3. Here’s why I think Obama got the award — he changed the tone from confrontation to dialogue.

    He has promised to close Guantanamo, although that is taking longer than he thought; he is wrapping up our involvement in Iraq; he is re-thinking the conventional wisdom on Afghanistan; he has engaged the Iranians, North Koreans, Cubans, Chinese, and others; he has restarted the Mideast peace process; he has reframed our relationship with Russia and their satellite states; he has gone to Cairo to address Muslims in their own country, both engaging and cautioning them on the US role in the world; he has the approval of 77% of Europeans; and, he has restored faith that America can be a moral voice, a reasonable voice in a very unreasonable and immoral world. None of those accomplishments are complete, but the game has changed, and the President led the way.

    Do I like everything he did or does? No, but I like the tone he takes, and his commitment to talk to those who will talk, rather than resorting to military action first and asking questions later. I still think it’s a good day in America today!

  4. President Obama has engaged the Muslims by speaking to them, yet they continue to commit attacks against innocent people.

    He has tried talking to North Korea and Iran about their nuclear aspirations, yet they continue to move forward with their nuclear programs.

    Honestly, what does it matter that he has the approval of 77% of Europeans? He is not President of the world, but is supposed to be President of the United States. He has done nothing except apologize for America and her sins.

    I have gone out of my way to be non-critical of President Obama as I can, but there is no way he deserves this award. The man of change has changed nothing.

  5. LD, these things take time. But I do think Obama has changed the tone of the conversation. Whether all or any of these initiatives will bear fruit remains to be seen. Granted he is not “president of the world.” My point with the European approval thing was to show that America can remake its image in the world community. Bush’s approval rating in Europe was 12%, so a net gain of 65% isn’t bad. Which I hope translates into meaningful dialogue with both our friends and adversaries. Anyway, I sense your frustration, but I beg to differ that nothing has changed. I think the change has been marked and significant. Can it translate into concrete action? I hope so, for all our sakes.

  6. The changes that he may have made are not so good, in my opinion. Our country is well on it’s way to be bankrupt, both morally and financially. He is a very strong supporter of abortion rights and he has voted against the 2nd Amendment time after time. Are these good things? How can they be when he has fought against one of the most basic rights the founding fathers established and has fought for the right of women to murder their unborn children? He is also a very strong supporter of the homosexual movement and thinks they should have the right to intrude upon the sacred institution of marriage.

    I am not sure how much he will move on the three issues I have mentioned, for the time being. The real damage may come if he wins a second term. Give him another four year term where he doesn’t have to run for reelection and I believe the United States will begin to see the real change that he talked about during the campaign. I said it then and I will say it now. The change he says he will bring to America may very well be the change from which our country will never recover.

  7. LD, in this post I’m addressing the Nobel Peace Prize award, which I think is a good thing. I’ll leave it for others to respond to your take on Obama’s agenda. Thanks for taking time to comment.

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