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Obama Faces Dilemma in Accepting Nobel Prize

Posted December. 10, 2009 09:12,   


Global media say U.S. President Barack Obama is in agony ahead of the day of the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

After Obama was surprisingly named this year’s winner in October, dispute erupted over exactly what he contributed to world peace.

He is reportedly under pressure in writing his acceptance speech. The New York Times said the burden seems even greater than it did two months ago, when the Nobel Prize committee startled the world by naming him the winner.

Since Obama has announced the dispatch of 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan, he must explain this decision amid his acceptance of the award. How he handles this after winning the Nobel Peace Prize despite announcing an escalation in the war in Afghanistan is attracting global attention.

Shortly after deciding on the deployment, Obama summoned his aides in charge of writing presidential speeches and began formulating his acceptance speech. He read the speeches of Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919), who won also the same award while president.

Obama also read the speech of George Marshall, who was awarded the prize in 1953 for proposing the economic aid plan bearing his name. Other Nobel speeches read by Obama included those of former South African President Nelson Mandela (1993) and U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1964).

The lessons of history will not provide much help for Obama, however. His circumstances are totally different from those of Roosevelt, who helped end the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson, who contributed to halting World War I.

On the president’s speech, a source close to Obama said, “Obama will explain why war is necessary to bring peace and emphasize humanitarianism.”

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, said, “How do you reconcile your role as a commander in chief with your aspirations to promote a more peaceful world at a time of war? That’s a question that he’s going to explore in some detail.”

David Frum, who was the speechwriter of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, said, “The fate of the speech depends on whether Obama will be more eloquent when he talks about global peace than calling young Americans into battle.”

The Wall Street Journal said the acceptance speech will test Obama’s ability to articulate a foreign policy vision based on moral leadership while pursuing two wars, and his skills at persuading the world that he will uphold U.S. leadership on human rights amid missed opportunities to press China, Darfur and Iran.