Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize.

Last night’s earthquake jolt in Wellington followed by a subsequent jolt in Gisborne is a reminder of how vulnerable we are. On top of quakes in Indonesia, Samoa and Vanuatu it makes me wonder if there is interaction along a whole fault line.

A jolt of a different sort was the award of the Nobel Peace prize to Barack Obama. He was as surprised as most of us. It’s normally given for achievement rather than anticipation. We still await delivery. My hunch is that it reflects the distaste of Europeans for the unilateral policies of George W Bush and their delight at the new President’s reversal of them. It concerns me that their expectations of Obama are so high that they are nigh impossible for him to fulfil.

Certainly his actions so far on nuclear proliferation are praiseworthy but it’s early days in his administration. He has inherited two wars and what he does about both theatres is in the seeds of time. The award has aroused the scorn of the American right and has not pleased the left. I hope the award is not premature but I think it reflects a world-wide opinion that while we expect American leadership we expect it to be done with consultation and diplomacy.

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