Before you sign your angry letters, let me start by saying this: I am not going to argue that President Barack Obama necessarily earned the prize. Instead, I believe that he rightfully won the award because of what it represents.
The most important thing to note is that nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize have to be in by February 1 – which is a very short time after Obama entered office. This prize, however, was awarded based on the image and the hope that President Obama brings to the table of world diplomacy.
Before he was even elected, President Obama was traveling the world meeting with foreign leaders. He has made a concerted effort to open a dialogue with other countries, hostile or not. Most importantly he represents a paradigm shift in the policies of the United States, arguably the most powerful country in the world. He is the single most important person in uniting the globe as well as ending the development of nuclear weapons, and his efforts are something to be praised.
I am not ignoring the conflict in Afghanistan by taking this stance. However, overall President Obama has made communications between the United States and other countries a much more feasible task, something that would have seemed impossible under former President George W. Bush. His mere willingness to talk to other countries that former President Bush would have put on the “axis of evil” list makes the most stark of a difference.
To quote Spiderman, or rather, Stan Lee, “With great power comes great responsibility.” President Obama has taken his unparalleled amount of responsibility and acted in the most diplomatic way possible – the first step in achieving a unified world. That is what I believe the Nobel Committee recognized in awarding him with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. It is not, as President Obama himself noted in the Wall Street Journal, to be considered a hailing of concrete accomplishments, but instead, as a “call to action.”