Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Peace we can believe in?

It's hilarious how the whole Barack Obama - Nobel peace prize thing has gotten knickers in twists from one end of the political washing-line to the other. The Taliban and Rush Limbaugh join forces with career bleeding-hearts to decry the decision. Strange bedfellows!

I personally think it's not that bad an idea. Sure, there may have been others who may have deserved the award relatively more than Obama. But was Obama above the bar in absolute terms? I think he was. Just the fact that he stemmed the Bush Doctrine, I think is a pretty huge achievement. Rachel Maddow, as usual, gets it exactly right:

Critics are saying he hasn't done anything yet. I believe that pulling the world's most powerful and dangerous nation from the ruinous path it had set itself on is plenty achievement enough. People are pointing to everything he hasn't done yet. He wasn't given the prize for those. They are also conflating the timing of the prize (too early in his tenure) with his deeds (or lack thereof). Watch the Maddow clip for the counter to that one.

The joke circulating about giving him the economics prize in the hope that the economy improves is plenty funny (I personally think he deserves one for his amazing chemistry); it would have been funnier if the idea of a Nobel prize for economics wasn't laughable in itself.

But my favorite one is that Obama shouldn't get the prize because Gandhi never did.


Blogger Rahul Siddharthan said...

If Obama has got himself disliked by everyone from the left to the right, surely he must be doing something right? No, I don't think so.

First of all, the left (ie, places like The Nation, Counterpunch, etc) never was very excited about him. That is fine in my opinion.

But his 9 months have been a continuation of Bush policies in nearly everything that matters. The economic team is mostly a carry-over from the Bush admin and mostly consists of Goldman alum and others who have fatted themselves in the corporate world and will, no doubt, return there after their job here is done.

His policies on torture and rendition are no different from the Bush government's. It was particularly disgraceful that his Justice Department chose to defend the torture of a man who, as even the CIA had already concluded, was innocent.

His Afghanistan/Pakistan policy is unlikely to bring peace -- in fact it is not clear what his policy is other than saying that this is the "right" war and Iraq was the "wrong" one. And bombing civilians from the air.

Count me a cynic on Obama. He's a non-Texan, well-spoken Bush.

10/10/2009 5:56 PM  
Blogger Falstaff said...

"it would have been funnier if the idea of a Nobel prize for economics wasn't laughable in itself."

You know, that's exactly how I feel about the Peace prize. I'm generally skeptical of the idea that any political / social achievement is the work of one person. At least with all the other Nobels we can safely attribute the contribution to an individual.

10/10/2009 7:30 PM  
Blogger wildflower seed said...

I think the Egonomics prize will go to a historian this year. Barry Eichengreen? Peter Temin? Someone like that, is my guess. Or my hope, at least.

But as for the Peace Prize, it looks like the Wall Street Kool-aid is popular with the Norwegians. Mr. Summers, please come clean about your role as a principal architect of the CDO binge. Mr. Obama, please fire Larry Summers.

10/10/2009 10:01 PM  
Blogger Rahul Siddharthan said...

TR - it seems MoDo stole your chemistry line. Complain!

10/12/2009 12:07 AM  
Blogger gaddeswarup said...

I would have prefered a prize to Obama and Fidel Castro together; to the second just for surviving.

10/12/2009 7:59 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

He's a non-Texan, well-spoken Bush.
HAHAHAHAHA! that's priceless! i haven't laughed so hard in ages :-D

well at least sometimes they give the peace prize to an organization. maybe they could try the lit prize out on a group blog or chain letter.

in line with falsie's comment, i plump for goldman sachs.

rs again:
i'd noticed it -- low hanging fruit :-)

the possibilities are endless.

10/12/2009 8:21 AM  
Anonymous chandni said...

well said! And I agree with you. Had an hour long debate last night on the same topic!

10/12/2009 2:57 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

this debate can also be endless.

10/13/2009 1:25 PM  
Blogger Ghazal/ 'Leah Karpinski' said...

Great point :)
Gandhi never did..I thought of that too.

10/30/2009 2:15 PM  
Blogger Revealed said...

What's uplifting is how we never disappoint ourselves by not rising to the bait. Whenever there's an issue that's COMPLETELY beside the point, oh! how we humans love getting fussed about it. Warms my cockles, it does. A constant in an ever-changing world.

11/07/2009 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama himself says that he cannot argue if some say that others who've received the prize are more deserving than he is.

So what really is the argument amongst all of us? He himself thinks his achievements are slight and he was himself surprised. He vindicates himself, the arguments of those who think it was too early for him, OR that he doesn't quite deserve it.

Why are you trying to justify the decision of the Swedes when they haven't been able to convince Obama himself?

12/11/2009 8:59 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

ghazal: a belated thanks and welcome :-)
revealed: case in point -- the anonymous comment after yours.
anonymous: thanks for the entertainment.

12/16/2009 12:46 PM  

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