Friday, October 09, 2009

Wait . . . What?

I think I’m losing my grip on reality.

First, I get home yesterday and find an article at Salon about whether blackface is making a comeback. Then I see a story on CNN about how, for the first time in eons, a sitting President will not meet with the Dalai Lhama while he is in Washington, for fear of honking off our Chinese creditors. Finally, our massively important World Cup Qualifier in Honduras this Saturday is only available to view via closed circuit TV in a handful of big city bars (and then primarily for the benefit of the resident Honduran fans). What the eff? As Cartman might say.

And then I wake up this morning and find this:

President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,' a stunning honor that came less than nine months after he made United States history by becoming the country’s first African-American president.
I guess “confused” is as good a descriptor of my thoughts as anything. Don’t get me wrong, I voted for Obama and generally like him, although he’s got a long way to go before he delivers on the promise of his campaign. And I appreciate that his “talk first, shoot later” mentality in foreign relations is about 180 degrees from the Bush years. But, still, he’s only been around about nine months. What’s more, when the nominations closed in February, he hadn’t been in office long enough to figure out how the White House phones worked! Shouldn’t he at least, I dunno, actually do something first? Words and attitudes are nice, but the only thing that really matters in the end is the result.

And that ignores a couple of large elephants in the room, Iraq and Afghanistan (now with escalation!). As Glenn Greenwald correctly points out:
Through no fault of his own, Obama presides over a massive war-making state that spends on its military close to what the rest of the world spends combined. The U.S. accounts for almost 70% of worldwide arms sales. We're currently occupying and waging wars in two separate Muslim countries and making clear we reserve the 'right' to attack a third. Someone who made meaningful changes to those realities would truly be a man of peace. It's unreasonable to expect that Obama would magically transform all of this in nine months, and he certainly hasn't. Instead, he presides over it and is continuing much of it. One can reasonably debate how much blame he merits for all of that, but there are simply no meaningful 'peace' accomplishment in his record -- at least not yet -- and there's plenty of the opposite. That's what makes this Prize so painfully and self-evidently ludicrous.
Yeah, that.

Oh, and if Glenn is right about the Democratic National Committee response to the critics of the award (“you’re with the terrorists!”) then, well, fuck you. It was a shitty tactic when the GOPers did it and it’s no better now. Yeah, there’s a hunk on the right that will have an instant knee-jerk anti-Obama reaction to anything that happens (witness the petulance at the Olympics fiasco last week), but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Good thing I’ve got a long weekend ahead. I think I need it.

UPDATE: Glenn has a more fleshed out post here laying out his objection to the "they're with the terrorists!" arguments. I agree completely.


Muze Euterpe said...

It's a scary thing when you and I agree on something like this.

If good intentions is all it takes to win one of those then I should have six or seven by now.

JDB said...

Look, we have a bipartisan agreement! :)