Siddharth Varadarajan’s article on Barack Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize (Oct. 10) is incisive. The Nobel Committee’s collective conscience is possibly doing a jig as it realises that by thrusting greatness on unready, unsteady hands it may have permanently stunted the potential of a leader in the making.
F. Shanti Baliah,
The only gratifying thing about the prize is that Mr. Obama has taken it as a call for action — to prove that it is not misplaced. Let us hope for the best. Siddharth Varadarajan has put it in the right perspective.
If the Nobel Peace Prize can be conferred on someone for making promises, then Mr. Obama owes the debt of fulfilment of his promises to the world community.
It clearly demonstrates a shallowness in the thinking of the Swedish Academy. For sure, our planet has many noble souls who are working unheralded for peace and coexistence without expecting any kind of recognition in return.
Conferring the Nobel Peace Prize on Mr. Obama substantiates the opinion that the coveted prize is politicised. It is too premature to judge a person’s accomplishments. All words cannot become deeds. The ideas and principles involved in speeches delivered by President Obama in places like Prague and Cairo are yet to be realised and he has much work to do. This award to the President of a nation where the most lethal of weapons are stockpiled appears to be a paradox.
Just three or four meetings on peace issues cannot be the criterion for the award of Nobel Peace. The committee should have at least waited for the positive results of his meetings. The decision puts a question on the sanctity of the prize.
Syed M. Aman,
Mr. Obama’s success depends on two factors — a total failure of the Bush administration on economic, social and foreign issues and his charisma. Mr. Obama’s promises are ideologically excellent. Still he has not been able to reduce the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, shut down Guantanamo, force Israel to change its policy, or bring down unemployment or even implement his own public health scheme. He did talk with the Islamic countries but to no avail. Nobel has come a bit too early for him.
No doubt Mr. Obama made a promising start. But he can be judged well only by the end of his term. He wanted to end the Iraq war not just to establish peace in the region but because the war was becoming disastrous and eating into the already bruised U.S. economy. We have no reason to think the American President will falter after he made a good beginning. He may complete his term successfully and his quest for peace will not end with the Nobel Prize. Nevertheless, it appears as if the committee awarded the peace prize more for the rhetoric than for the real peace initiatives taken by Mr. Obama.
Though he is engaged in two Vietnam-like wars abroad, Mr. Obama has strengthened peace and cooperation among people, tried to end the misunderstanding between the West and the Islamic countries, brought rays of hope and peace to West Asia, Iran and North Korea and, finally, embarked on a movement for a world free of nuclear arms. His efforts will take time for fruition, but a beginning has been made. The Prize Committee’s significant departure from usual yardsticks will boost his morale to work hard for global peace.
Capt. T. Raju (retd.),
From day one of clearance of his nomination by the Democratic Party, Mr. Obama shot into fame through his well-articulated thoughts, ideas and expressions as an emerging world leader. He also demonstrated his passion for peace initiatives and diplomatic engagements with Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Israel, Pakistan, etc., not to speak of his serious concerns and avid, ardent and categorical postures and commitment toward environmental issues including global warming and climate change. No wonder, he could convince the Nobel Committee. A well-deserved laurel indeed!
Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Obama, from the beginning of his campaign for presidency, gave a new hope that he intends shedding his nation’s aggression and distrust towards the rest of the world without sacrificing national security. It is not clear how far he would succeed in his efforts. But there are good signs: from within his country many campaigns are on against the Iraq war.
The Muslim world is beginning to see him as an angel of world peace. But his country’s stand on Israel’s atrocities towards the Palestinian people is still a handicap in his efforts to gain the trust of the Muslim world.