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War and Peace, Do you agree with Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize?

Much has been written about the rights and wrongs of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and the contradiction of giving a President at War and Peace advocate this award.

This is not the first controversial award of this prize, previous winners have included Yasser Arafat, but not Mahatma Gandhi (despite being nominated 5 times!).

I also find it a little ironic that the man who gives his name to this “Peace Prize” – Alfred Nobel invented Dynamite and owned the Bofors Armaments Company! To be fair to Mr Nobel, Dynamite was invented as a safer more stable industrial explosive, but Bofors was originally an old established Swedish Iron Company which he turned into a Cannon Maker! Bofors Guns were later used by both sides in the Second World War – not then a major contributor to World peace?

So back to Obama. It seems the majority of Americans feel he should not have won this award while fighting 2 Wars and in his Oslo speech he addressed this directly. It’s also fair to say that he inherited both Wars, and incidentally the tab for paying them. So he’s forced to continue with fights he didn’t start or to withdraw? Then he is offered an award that he recognizes is probably unwarranted or at least premature? Sounds like the classic “Rock and a hard place” to me!

One thing we know for sure about this President is that he can deliver a speech (they haven’t all been so good!) and it came across as a sincere attempt to strike a balance between wanting peace, but sometimes having to fight to win it. The “Idealism vs Realism” quote.

There were several historical references and quotes from MLK and JFK, but for me justifying long term commitment of Men and resources in Iraq and Afghanistan is not the same as say WW2. WW2 was seen by most Americans as a “just cause”, fought for a very clear reason.

The War in Iraq has been justified at different times as – Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction, War on Terrorism, Overcoming a Tyrant, Protecting Oil Supply, Finishing off what Daddy started! Setting up Democracy? Supposedly we are over the worst there, but Americans are still getting blown up by IEDs.

The situation in Afghanistan is different, but no better. Here the reasons for being there are clearer. Stop the Taliban returning to significant level of strength and creating a safe haven for Al Qaeda. So the plan is put in another 30,000 Men for the big push and then hand over to the Afghan Government at an agreed date and/or when the right conditions exist?!

Now here is the real problem. If you look back at recent history Afghanistan’s people and terrain have proved almost impossible to control for Foreign Armies – just ask the British and Russians. It is a fiercly Tribal area with constantly changing alliances, once the bad guys see they are outgunned they will melt into the Mountains wait for the Foreigners to leave and re-emerge with their AK47’s and RPGs.

For me the bigger question is not does Obama deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, rather does he want to become (continue to be?) The World’s Policeman?

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