Surprising news to wake up to this morning: Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. The panel chose Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
The award comes out of nowhere. Not only is the Obama presidency still in is earliest stages, but in fact the nomination window for the prize closed on February 1, not even two weeks after Obama was inaugurated. Even the most ardent Obama supporter would have to admit that he didn't have time to much Nobel-worthy work in that span.
The award could have more to do with a change in the global mood, and the international perception of the United States, that Obama seems to have heralded. A recent survey indicates that the USA is the most admired country in the world, up from number seven last year. Clearly, the Obama ascendancy has much to do with that.
Still, shouldn't this award have more to do with tangible achievements? The Associated Press article seems to indicate that the selection committee awarded him the prize more on the basis of "initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change." Show me where he's accomplished any of those things. I'd be happy to look.
None of which is intended as a criticism of the President's performance so far. He's got a lot on his plate, especially with the economy and health care reform, and in the eight and a half months he's been in office he's done a pretty good job. But the Nobel Prize? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.