Debate over Obama's Nobel Peace Prize has centered on whether he should accept it and whether he deserves it.
Much of the discussion has been political, with commentators evaluating
Obama's accomplishments and the impact of Bush's legacy. But The New
Republic's Michael Crowley looks beyond to anticipate what the
long-term effect of this prestigious
global award will be. The president's award is making news across the globe, reverberating
through America's allies and rivals alike. Crowley predicts:
Overseas, the Nobel might help marginally--although in some ways not at all. It's impossible to imagine the news from Stockholm moving either the Israelis or the Arabs to make peace-process concessions. (Neither Bibi Netanyahu nor King Abdullah are great sentimentalists.) The award is a useful affirmation to Obama's faith in internationalism on issues like global warming and nuclear disarmament. And it's likely to re-energize his standing in Europe, from whence it comes, and where such honorifics carry the most currency.
But there's an irony here: Obama doesn't need Europe's help primarily for achieving world peace. He needs NATO support for putting a lid on Afghanistan, and Germany and France's backing for tough economic sanctions on Iran should diplomacy fail to defang its nuclear program. The most important impact of this prize may be a slight boost in Obama's ability to pursue a war and confront his Persian rivals.
Crowley, rather than joining the dozens of pundits cheerleading Obama's win or deriding its prematurity, Crowley applied geopolitical calculus to analyze the Nobel's impact outside the Beltway news cycle. Regardless of whether his predictions come true, he zeroed in on a real and serious implication of the heavily political news.