President Obama had been in office for just 262 days when the Norwegian Nobel Committee singled out his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy” in awarding him the Nobel Prize. Nearly five years to the day later (the Nobel was announced October 9, 2009), it should now be clear that his selection was premature — a check drawn on an account with insufficient funds.
At the time of the announcement in Oslo, President Obama himself said he was “surprised” at being chosen, as well he should have been. He was singled out from among 205 nominees, an illustrious assemblage that included Afghan civil rights activists, Chinese dissidents, and veteran heads of state. Their nominations had been based on years of accomplishment; Obama’s reflected only promise.
The Nobel Committee fairly gushed with excitement over the grand new future that the new American president was about to engineer. Less than nine months into his presidency, the Committee proclaimed, “multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position” and Obama’s “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,” the Committee went on. “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.”
One was almost tempted to see whether lions had already begun bedding down with lambs.
Five years later, the Middle East is in flames. Iran’s Islamic theocracy, its active support of global terror now apparently forgiven, is today looked upon as a stabilizing force in a region tearing itself apart.
In Eastern Europe, a sovereign Ukraine now sits fractured after Vladimir Putin’s troops marched unimpeded into Crimea, seizing the entire peninsula and its people for the greater glory of Mother Russia.
Five years ago, the Nobel Committee lavished praise on Barack Obama for restoring multilateral diplomacy to a “central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”
Today, the UN, deadlocked by Communist Chinese and Russian vetoes, merely provides a global platform for the President to acknowledge American shortcomings before an audience of our enemies.
Where has the President’s much-praised impulse toward multilateral diplomacy gotten him? Our allies distrust the president and our enemies disregard him.
The so-called “coalition of nations to degrade and destroy” ISIS consists of just nine nations, none of them willing to commit more than token military assets to the battlefield.
Five years after Nobel, the president and his remaining supporters would be hard-pressed to cite even a single instance where his diplomatic efforts have enhanced our interests, or those of our allies, on the world stage.
In the five summers since Barack Obama was hailed in Oslo as a shining knight about to reshape the world, his legacy is a doctrine of American withdrawal that has created a vacuum filled by enemy nations and stateless terrorists. All that is left from the heady visions of those early days is a world crying out for American leadership.
More than 250 years ago, Samuel Johnson observed, “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”
When the history of the Obama presidency is written, mankind will be reminded that platitudes are not sufficient to stop dangerous men intent on evil deeds. Like it or not, the United States remains the only nation in the world capable of restoring global stability. Yet in a time when we were called upon to advance the banner of liberty, our president demurred.
On the fifth anniversary of Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize, it should be apparent even to the Nobel Committee that its fondest hopes have been shattered by the reality of a naïve and inexperienced president who, for all his gifts, is singularly unsuited to the role of global leadership.
Obama still has his Nobel Prize, but the world has moved a long distance from peace.