Those were the words of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. Pretty simple and clear. The American public decides who wins American Idol or Dancing with Disgraced Republicans but Alfred Nobel appointed a committee of scholars to decide the recipient of the Peace Prize. As a friend of mine likes to say, "It's their spoon so they get to stir."
This year they decided to base the award on words, not achievements. Words matter. The committee honored President Obama's willingness to to engage in dialogue and negotiations
"as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts."
World opinion matters. Of course the yokels and the haters believe our country should be the world enforcer because we are the biggest, strongest and richest. Lacking knowledge or understanding of world history they laugh at the idea that there is value in respectful listening and peace making. The truth is that we will not always be the biggest, the strongest or the richest country. Even if our empire were to last longer than the British Empire, (it won't) we would still need more open hands and fewer clenched fists because the world is more crowded and more connected than at any time in history.
So I am delighted that the Nobel Committee honored my country by selecting our President. I understand that it is a symbol given at the beginning of long journey. I also understand that the people who are angry or spiteful about the award care more about petty politics than about the values that make democracy possible.
Jim Inhofe, Rush Limbaugh, Hugo Chavez and Khaled Al-Batsh, a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad in Gaza stand together in disagreement about the award. President Shimon Peres of Israel and Desmond Tutu endorsed the announcement. I know which side I prefer.