Saturday, December 12, 2009

Obama's Nobel Acceptance Speech

The majority of the Nobel Jury objected to Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess that means they disagreed with the notion that the Peace Prize was not about peace but about about making 'less tension'. Of course Obama did win, so they must have been brought around. And he went to Norway to accept the prize. He is the first sitting president to accept the prize personally, but while he was their some people felt he snubbed the king.

It was a close competition between which was funnier, the stream of jokes (see Steven Crowder's, Saturday Night Live's (SNL), Reason TV's and Perfunction's jokes) over the choice or the way they the Nobel Jury had been handling the situation since the announcement. Obama's acceptance of the prize brings this chapter almost to a close.

It was a good speech, great even. It may be my favorite speech he has given outside the United States thus far. There were good and bad parts, but the good outweighed the bad.

My favorite part of his speech was; "as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower.

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions -- not just treaties and declarations -- that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.

So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace.
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The bold part is what I am zeroing in on. This may be the first time Obama has forcefully justified American military prowess and military action.

My least favorite part of his speech was; "America's commitment to global security will never waver. But in a world in which threats are more diffuse, and missions more complex, America cannot act alone. America alone cannot secure the peace. This is true in Afghanistan. This is true in failed states like Somalia, where terrorism and piracy is joined by famine and human suffering. And sadly, it will continue to be true in unstable regions for years to come."

Once again, the bold is the part I am really zeroing in on. American can act alone and should if it needs to. We should not be beholden to getting help from the international community if they are dragging their feet and our national security is at stake. While it is usually better to act with help, the lack of help should not be a veto on us doing what is necessary.

You can read the whole speech at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize.

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