Nobel Peace Prize: There’s Great Big World Out There
President Barack Obama is being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. As surprising as the award of this prestigious award may be, there are many who believe it is deserved. Most notably the selection committee comprised of representatives of nations from around the world.
In spite of the many challenges that President Obama faces here in the United States it is clear that he has an appreciation for international affairs that reflects his new and refreshing world view. Perhaps more importantly, many Americans, particularly conservative Americans, have failed to recognize or acknowledge that America’s Presidential leadership over the eight years preceding the Obama Administration created a climate of separatism, international diplomatic fear and irresponsibility that was globally frightening. Even if we sidestep any discussion of politics or diplomacy as it relates to the previous administration, the fact is that much, if not most of the world, had come to despise America and more specifically, the previous presidential administration. The world is a pretty big place.
In 1982 I stood on the deck of United Ship Independence as she transited the Straights of Messina on route to Naples, Italy. At a particular point the passage for an aircraft carrier is so narrow, that it appears that the deck of the ship actually over hangs land. As I watched with fascination as the Sicilian landscape drifted slowly by, a young boy came running from his small brick home waving an American flag in an excited frenzy. This was among my earliest visions which caused me to begin understanding the importance and significance of international image and diplomacy. My vision was reinforced only two years later as I stood on those same decks as that very same carrier loomed off the coasts of both Grenada and Lebanon and prepared to rain down death.
The image of an aircraft carrier, loaded with nearly one hundred warplanes is a majestic sight to behold. The reaction of that Sicilian child (for me) was emblematic of his fledgling understanding of his country’s admiration of America. I saw no flags in Lebanon or Grenada. I remember imagining the fear and horror that must have gripped those who observed from their home shores as an ominous man-of-war appeared on their horizon. This stark contrast, “the political paradox of reality” is key to the reason why Nobel Prize is being awarded to our President. The world had become uncertain of what America stood for and what she sought to accomplish from a geo-political perspective. More importantly and significantly more troubling, was the fact that America had no intention to seek or scolicit the input, support or approval of the world community on diplomatic matters. And figuratively and litterally there were concerns about when and why nations of the world (without provocation) saw American war machines on their horizons.
To much of the world, America is a beautiful and regal example of what the best of life and government and freedom represents. And our military might is widely acknowledged and respected as a tool of protection and cooperation going back for generations. However, prior to President Obama’s election, much of the world had become concerned, if not convinced, that America had abandoned them. America might be knowingly or unknowingly doing severe damage to the continuity of the global community. And in doing so, placing both herself and other nations in great danger. Greater dangers which included economic, military and social risk. The truth is, much of the world had become horrified, even mortified, at what we had seemed to become. The election of President proved they were wrong, but from where they, the rest of the world, sat at the time, it seems their concerns were justified.
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize is simply a statement of support. This is a grand statement, but simply a statement nonetheless. This statement says: “The rest of the world can now sleep peacefully again at night”. This statement says “We believe in you again America, and we are no longer afraid of what you might do”. This statement says “We trust you President Obama; to make a sincere effort to welcome in, and attempt to unite the world”. Certainly the politics and diplomacy (or lack thereof) which destroyed America’s image around the world are, and will remain, the topic of much analysis and discussion. But there can be no question that much of the advanced world is now relieved that America is under new Presidential leadership. We can only pause to ask ourselves why or how the world began to see America in such a negative light. But what is now undeniable given this Nobel Prize Award, is that much if the world had a very different view of what this nation had become, than many conservative Americans would like to admit.
President Obama is being awarded the Nobel Prize for giving the entire world a good night’s sleep . . . ~ L.A. Walker