The Press Release:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
Wall Street Journal editorial
The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama yesterday was greeted with astonishment as much as any other emotion, even among many of his admirers. Our own reaction is bemusement at the Norwegian decision to offer what amounts to the world's first futures prize in diplomacy, with the Nobel Committee anticipating the heroic concessions that it believes Mr. Obama will make to secure treaties that will produce a new era of global serenity.
Maybe he really is The One.
Mr. Obama seemed more than a little amazed himself, after only nine months on the job and having been inaugurated only 12 days before Nobel nominations were due in February. The prize isn't "a recognition of my own accomplishment," the President said yesterday, adding that "I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize." Humility grace note accepted...
Mr. Obama sees the U.S. differently, as weaker than it was and the rest of the planet as stronger, and so he calls for a humbler America, at best a first among equals, working primarily through the U.N. The world's challenges, he emphasized yesterday, "can't be met by any one leader or any one nation." What this suggests to us—and to the Norwegians—is the end of what has been called "American exceptionalism." This is the view that U.S. values have universal application and should be promoted without apology, and defended with military force when necessary.
The complete abdication by the Obama administration on trade should disqualify him from the Nobel Peace Prize. Free trade has lifted hundred of millions out of poverty worldwide and promoted a closer global society. But the Obama White House has been as protectionist as any in memory. Free trade is that the core of foundation of the post-World War II economic order.
Sheldon Richman on Frederic Passy