James Forsyth

Peace in our time

Peace in our time
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When I first saw the headline Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize, I thought I must have read it wrong. After all, what has Obama actually accomplished in his first nine months in office? (Obviously, that’s not to say he won’t accomplish foreign policy successes in his time in office but he certainly hasn’t yet).  

On the foreign policy front, Obama is not actually having much success. Having announced Afghan strategy months into his presidency, he is now reviewing it and seems intent on second-guessing the new commander he appointed. Also for all the goodwill towards him in Europe, he has not got the Europeans to commit substantially more resources to the conflict. On Iran, the engagement strategy has not born fruit and the United Nations has yet to impose the kind of sanctions on Iran that would make the regime think twice about its nuclear ambitions.  There has also been little progress made on the Middle East peace front. The New York Times, hardly a knee-jerk critic of Obama, summed up his performance on the world stage a few weeks ago with the headline: “Good Will, but Few Foreign Policy Benefits for Obama”.

The award makes both the Nobel committee and Obama look slightly ridiculous. As Alex says, ‘it would have been better for all concerned if Obama had shown the wisdom of Canute and refused this preposterous bauble.’