Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Belated Thoughts on Obama's Nobel Speech

Here are some belated thoughts with regard to President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

In light of my article from earlier this week which made the case that George W. Bush was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, I found it interesting that Obama should acknowledge "my accomplishments are slight" when compared to Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, George Marshall and Albert Schweitzer. Well, I would add Bush to the list. His PEPFAR (President's Emergency Relief Plan for AIDS Relief) initiative saved over a million lives. How many lives has President Obama saved?

Some conservatives like Michael Ledeen from National Review Online are heartened that President Obama acknowledged there's "evil" in the world. Now if only he could bring himself to describe al Qaeda as terrorists:

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 agree with that paragraph in its entirety. It might very well be the most sensible thing Obama has said in his entire presidency. Of course, George W. Bush described Iran as part of "the axis of evil" and was mocked ceaselessly for it. This begs a question of President Obama. If man is imperfect and there is a limit to reason would he characterize the words and deeds of Iran's regime as evil? If no then why not? If yes then why not say it?:

So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear that these movements -- these movements of hope and history -- they have us on their side.

Well, I suppose better late than never with regard to democracy protesters in Iran. But it is of little consolation. The Iranian people sure could have used President Obama on their side back in June when he said it was not for us to meddle into their affairs. He needs to do a lot more than pay them lip service. President Obama needs to put an end to his naive and silly policy of engagement with Iran once and for all, hit the reset button and call for regime change.

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