Friday, October 9, 2009

Two comment rescues and two observations on the Nobel Peace prize

Because it seems obligatory to have an opinion on President Barack Obamais winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, I will tell you mine: I agree with Malia Obama that the news is slightly less significant than her three-day, school-free weekend.

That said, here's my rather idiosyncratic round-up of the (a) most honest; (b) most Orwellian; (c) most ironically accurate; and (d) most humorously ironically accurate responses to this award from both Delaware and the world.

The first items are comment rescues from Delawareliberal where pretty much everybody has either pointedly ignored Donviti's acid assessment, or--in the case of Delawaredem--engaged in exactly the kind of Orwellian rebranding of President Obama's increasingly militarist foreign policy into an enlightened approach to world peace that explains why very few Democrats have any moral authority of foreign affairs these days.

First, Donviti:

Indefinite detentions.
Wants to extend sunsetting patriot act provisions
Guantanomo still open and no signs of going anywhere
bombing in Pakistan killing civilians
Still in Iraq, with very large footprint.
Afghanistan increase in troops.
Not doing anything about torture

War is Peace

Say what you want about DV (and I have, I have) the man is consistent, refuses to compromise on a key moral issue, and (I'd suspect) drives his co-bloggers crazy enough on occasion that they do what they did today: ignore him.

Now Delawaredem:

Ok, so in Christine’s world, spending taxpayer money for the President to travel overseas for diplomatic summits and multinational conferences is bad, but spending taxpayer money on a war with Iran, on an absurdly wasteful military boondoggle known as the missile shield, and on unnecessary F-22 fighter planes, not to mention escalating the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, well, all of that spending is ok.

Let’s be honest here. Republicans are in full freak mode today over the Nobel Peace Prize because they do not like the Nobel Peace Prize. They do not like diplomacy. They do not like international cooperation. They do not like the pursuit of a real peace. They will say they want peace, but the peace they seek is a Pax Americana, where America achieves peace through the forced subjugation of the entire planet. What they like is bombs, body counts and war. For that is what brings them their peace.

What's Orwellian about this? Let me count the ways:

1) It is President Obama who has escalated the war in Afghanistan and failed to live up to his promises on an Iraqi withdrawal.

2) It is President Obama who has continued the same operational planning for a war with Iran than the Bush administration started.

3) It is President Obama who has increased the Bush-era defense budgets.

4) It is President Obama who has continued drone attacks in Pakistan against the wishes of that government, who has authorized unilateral military intervention in Somalia.

5) It is President Obama who has quietly allowed the role of military contractors to increase in Afghanistan and Iraq.

6) It is President Obama who told the Afghan people the United States was overruling their constitution and that they would get no run-off in the presidential election.

Which is--by Delawaredem's definition--pursuing real peace.

What our friends in the Democratic Party fail to understand is that the most legitimate criticism of this award comes not from the GOP right, but from the anti-war folks who have now been officially gutted and hung out to dry.

Observation the first: Giving the man who has dramatically escalated the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan the Nobel Peace prize is the intellectual equivalent of defining Sharia law as gender justice for the women of the world.

Oh. Wait. One of President Obama's advisors just did that:

Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party....

She said: "I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media.

"The majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance.

"The portrayal of Sharia has been oversimplified in many cases."

Observation the second: The Nobel Prize in Economics cannot be far behind.

To wit, this via Greg Mankiw [h/t Kids Prefer Cheese]:

Pfuffnick's Nobel Economics Prize triumph hailed by many

LONDON — The surprise choice of first-year graduate student Quintus Pfuffnick for the Nobel Prize in Economics drew praise from much of the world Friday even as many pointed out the youthful economist has not yet published anything in scholarly journals.

The new PhD candidate was hailed for his willingness to tackle difficult problems, his commitment to improving the economic system, and his goal of bringing efficiency and equality into harmony.

Professor Paul Krugman of Princeton, who won the prize in 2008, said Pfuffnick's award shows great things are expected from him in the coming years.

"In a way, it's an award coming near the beginning of the first year in grad school of a relatively young economist that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our economy a better place for all," he said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of Mr Pfuffnick's message of hope."

He said the prize is a "wonderful recognition of Pfuffnick's essay in his grad school application."


Miko said...

Re: Sharia

Wow, and here I thought that a(nother) warmonger winning the Nobel Peace Prize would be the weirdest thing I heard today. I mean, I was insulted on behalf of the people who've earned that award when they shoved it at Obama, but at the end of the day it's just a meaningless symbol; calling sharia "gender justice" is downright dangerous.

Nancy Willing said...

Are you people naive? I know you're not. But you must be awfully blinded by something...

One doesn't drop all defenses in this world and walk away. Peace-making in the modern world must be led by the US because of the very nature of the our history and our current, if tenuous, stand as the remaining superpower.

If not us, who?

Steve, I know you have been paying attention to what Obama's broader strategy has been even as you suffer over the discrete aspects of middle east military activity.

The US is definately pushing an agenda of active dialogue and engagement that is the world's only hope for eventually coming into a modern age of grown ups who know how fates are interwoven and that we are all brother and sisters after all.

Nancy Willing said...

I just read you post below and have a comment about this sentence ~

"What's unfortunate, as Liberalgeek cautioned, is that the story is much more complicated and much more tragic than early reports would have indicated."

I followed these links and do not find anything that leads to evidence that five years ago, when she was in the news as the gun-toting soccer mom, she and her husband had domestic issues which forced her to take up arms. It just isn't there.

I don't necessarily buy it. Now, five years later she decides to end her marriage. Would she have lasted those five years if the levels of abuse suggested were in fact a part of their daily life? I wonder. No doubt no one will be able to say either way.

The mom is cited in today's article without reference to particular violence on Scott's part.

I took Melanie to be a 'rugged individualist type' who like her lifestyle and wore her gun as an overt part of that expression of self not as some cowering "fearing for her life and living with it for a decade" situation.

Nancy Willing said...

oops, wrong post.

Steven H. Newton said...

I am hardly one to go around singing kumbayah; I am a military historiana and a 20-year military veteran.

Nowhere have I ever suggested we "drop all defenses in this world and walk away."

BUt to suggest that what we are doing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and in other places is peace-making calls into question your vision, not mine.

There is no extant evidence that President Obama has a broader strategy; like President Clinton, he has an approach, but no discernable strategy.

If he has one that is more sophisticated than talk to everybody before you do anything I have yet so see it. Got a link that actually lays out a strategy rather than a philosophical approach?

Or do people pretending to do analysis these days actually have any idea what the difference is between the two?

Hube said...

Nancy, the only naive folks are the idiots in the Nobel Committee that selected Obama for DOING NOTHING. (And those like you who think his selection was a good thing.) Essentially, they gave him a prize for the speeches he's read that were written by others.

dv said...

are you trying to get me fired again

Steven H. Newton said...

of course