By ARNOLD A. AUGUSTE
After eight years of the George W. Bush administration, the world had become wary of the United States.
This leader of the free world had become a bully, invading countries under false pretext, and daring anyone to stand in its way.
While the U.S. has never been universally loved and admired, it has always been held in high esteem by the many who saw it as a bastion of freedom, justice and hope.
There was always the sense that when the chips were down, the U.S. could be depended upon to step to the plate on the side of what was right.
But, with Bush, that all changed. A palpable hopelessness had set in. Most observers would see the challenge of regaining the world’s trust as one that would take years, decades, even if that was ever possible.
Then came Barack Obama.
As his numbers during the campaign for the presidency began to rise, so did the hopes, not just of the American people, but of the world.
Average Americans knew that the status of their country had been seriously eroded by their then outgoing president’s administration and some even dared to believe that the change that was being offered to them would also help to reverse world opinion.
The night of Obama’s victory was a night of euphoria, and not just in America. It was as though we had all awakened to a brand new day. Change had come.
Change had indeed come, for one, to the way the world would view America and the way the world would feel it was being viewed by America.
Obama would soon reach out to the Europeans and to the Arab-Muslim world. He would reassure them that America was ready to work with them in the search for peace and that his country would welcome with open arms all who would seek to make this world a better place.
And so, what seemed not too long ago a distant dream had, in a matter of a few short weeks, become a wonderful reality. America was back.
So, what has Barack Obama done to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize? He has done what no other living human being could have done, and in such a short time – he has made the world see itself through a different set of lenses; he has inspired people everywhere to believe that change is possible; he has engendered a sense of hope where just a short while ago there was only despair.
What has Barack Obama done to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize? He has reached out to Russia and helped to repair the damaged relationship between both countries. He has stood up to Iran, but in a way that could allow that country to step back from the brink of a catastrophic result for itself without losing face. He has already begun talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. He has done so early in his mandate to afford him, hopefully, enough time to work towards some sort of compromise, if one is at all possible. He can bring the parties together, but he can’t force peace upon them. Bush didn’t begin to pay serious attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict until late in his second term.
In his few months in office, Obama has already done much more than anyone else in so short a space of time. If he doesn’t allow himself to be sidetracked by the racists in the outreaches of the conservative movement who just can’t stand to see this Black man as the leader of their country, we could expect a lot more from him. One comic late night host suggested that the conservatives hate Barack Obama more than they love America. Hopefully, not all of them.
Media reports have speculated on the names of some of the other possible nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. No one is quite sure since the committee doesn’t announce its nominees. Those named are all deserving. However, in spite of how much they have done and for how long, not one has had the impact on the world as has the current president of the U.S.
President Obama was an excellent choice.