9 Oct 2009

Obama's nobel prize

Reactions to Obama's nobel peace prize have been largely welcoming but there is also some serious criticisms - see Gary Ruskin's views below - he is Co-founder of the relatively new Green Change.

It is true Obama has appealed for reductions in nuclear arsenals and is seeking to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. I also believe there is a genuine change in the international climate but I was disappointed to hear he has just rebuffed calls for a commission to investigate alleged abuses under the Bush administration in fighting terrorism. That aside the following piece shows he has lots of work to do - no that should read we all have lots to do! It is perhaps not surprising that some commentators are saying it is about what people hope he will bring....

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said: "In a way, it's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all. It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope." Anyway now to that Green Change comment:

This morning, President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Nobel Committee said. Why?
Did Obama bring peace to Iraq?

No. He has retained 124,000 U.S. troops there, with tens of thousands deployed perhaps indefinitely.

Did he bring peace to Afghanistan?

No. He has escalated the Afghan war, and is part responsible for the scores of civilian deaths that have occurred there. He has done this despite that most Americans believe that the war is "not worth fighting."

Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee said in an interview that “Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics.” Has Obama done anything singular to stop the worldwide crisis of climate change?

No. He has spent little or no political capital on the climate crisis, and still refuses to commit the U.S. to strong actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And there are widespread reports that he is trying to weaken the Copenhagen global climate treaty.

Jagland said that “The Nobel Committee has in particular looked at Obama’s vision and work toward a world without atomic weapons.” But on this issue, Obama is merely implementing the ideas of the more conservative foreign policy minds of our nation, including Henry Kissinger.

Did he beat the swords of the giant U.S. defense budget into plowshares of peace?

No. In fact, he will soon sign into law the largest defense bill in our nation's history.

Has he brought home the troops scattered across the world stationed to maintain our empire?

No. We still have an estimated 1,000 military bases in foreign lands worldwide.

Has he stopped our nation's scandalous weapons trade?

No. The U.S. has expanded its weapons trade. We now supply 2/3rds of the world's foreign armaments.

Did Obama sign the cluster munitions treaty to ban cluster bombs, because 98% of cluster bomb casualties are children?

No. The U.S. has not signed the cluster munitions treaty.

Has Obama brought home the army of mercenaries we have stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

No. He has expanded the ranks of these mercenaries to 250,000.

There are millions of people across our world who spend their blood and sweat every day for peace -- real peace. Every one of them deserves the Nobel Peace Prize far more than Barack Obama.


Philip Booth said...

From Avaaz:

Obama himself says he's "surprised, humbled" and doesn't yet deserve it -- but he's accepted the Prize as a call to action, "to confront the common challenges of the 21st century" together. On too many pressing issues, the US President seems boxed-in by stubborn interests and has not yet taken courageous action. He deserves to hear our congratulations -- and our message to be bolder.

Let's do our part to define the challenge this Prize poses to Obama and us all -- let’s flood Obama with a million messages of encouragement and urgency, pressing him to turn hope into action in the coming months on nuclear disarmament, climate, and desperately-needed peace in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Sign the Obama Peace Petition now and we’ll deliver it directly to the White House -- then forward this email to all your friends:


Mike Grenville said...

I agree with all the points noted of what has not yet been done and yes I know words and deeds are not the same but to hear a president say 'that as the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war it has a moral responsibility to disarm them' is a huge step forward.