To Understand Obama's Nobel, Think Not of America, but of America in the World

Just about the best analysis of Obama’s Nobel that I have yet seen is this op-ed essay by Alon Pinkas, former Israeli consul general in New York and a close ally of Ehud Barak (that’s more a compliment to Barak than to Alon).

His main point is that, as I argued in an earlier blog post, the radically different American presence that Obama brings to the world stage is in itself a substantive achievement. Here’s how Alon puts it:

Alon elaborates on how the Nobel committee treats such “intellectual efforts”:

Peace is mostly a journey, not a destination. The Nobel is memorable in large part because of its naming of the beacons that light the way forward, like the pillar of fire that was placed for us in Sinai.

Also useful reading on the Nobel is this blog post by E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post. He does a good job of going through the various takes (at least the minimally respectable ones) for and against the award and deconstructs them. One of his best points: he “liked Harold Meyerson’s take that the award should have gone to the American electorate for changing our country’s approach to the world.”

Late addition (call it my Monday-morning self-quarterbacking) is this counterpoint by Ross Douthat, the current conservative columnist on the New York Times op-ed page:

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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To Understand Obama's Nobel, Think Not of America, but of America in the World

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