Just weeks after it stunned the world by giving President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for setting a “new tone” in international relations after only 10 months (or two weeks) in office, the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo honored him once again by giving him yet a new one for the even stronger new tone in his domestic agenda — the Nobel Prize for War.
In an effort to adjust to the sad fact that force has its uses, the committee has decided to honor the cases in which it is justified: While the first prize is given for those who end or avoid existing contentions, the new one is given to those who escalate simmering spats into all-out, no holds barred battles, or better still, create mayhem in places where little ill feeling was known to exist.
And while Obama’s pacific approach has yet to yield much in the way of results from Iran, North Korea, or Russia, there is no doubt his novel approach to domestic contention has achieved new levels of head-banging rancor at home.
In foreign affairs, Obama’s MO is to deploy the fact or the threat of ferocity in inverse proportion to the entity’s goodwill toward himself and his country, or to the threat it presents to the country or world.
His compliant “new tone” is for the unfriendly parts of the universe. He gives his hand to the “clenched fists” of Iran and Korea, and the back of his hand to our friends. He insulted the British, watered-off the French, and terrified the Poles, Czechs and Israelis with his perceived disregard for their imperiled existence.
In domestic affairs, this reversal is amplified: He treats differences with barbarous tyrants as misunderstandings that can be resolved peacefully, while normal domestic political quarrels require the equivalent of armed intervention. He may not want “victory” when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan, but wants his foot on the necks of domestic opponents, who need to be vanquished, never to rise up again.
Unilaterally, disproportionately, before trying diplomacy, and without consulting the French, he has unleashed bombing runs upon his own people, accused physicians of cutting feet off for profit, harassed a policeman for doing his duty, tried to carpet bomb the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for minor dissensions on health care provisions and called Fox News an “illegitimate” news-gathering body, for gathering news that he didn’t want known.
Like Colin Powell, he wants to “cut it off and then kill it,” but he means domestic dissent, and not Saddam’s army. He wants to cut Fox News off from its source of supply, and then watch it perish. Instead of the mullahs, he gets tough with Glenn Beck, and his three million viewers. Saddam he was willing to leave in his place.
George W. Bush, who hailed from Texas, was accused of cowboy diplomacy, as in the Colt 45, “High Noon,” and the shoot’em-up westerns, while Obama practices Urban Cowboy diplomacy, as in the machine gun and massacre in the garage in Chicago that opens the movie “Some Like it Hot.”
Americans like to see him showing some fight, but seem less than enthralled by his choices in targets. They would rather see him bring a gun to a knife fight with Korea, Iran, and/or Russia, than a bat to a spat with professional talkers.
The threat is people with bombs who oppress and kill other people, not domestic opponents who ding his poll ratings. Obama’s emotions seem roused by the latter. He may be pushed by events to make certain foreign commitments, but his visceral rage is for critics at home.
The War Prize Committee thinks this is cool. It perfectly fits with its sense of subjective morality: in making the choice between “peace”, and people in pieces, it depends on which people whose pieces those are.
In the spirit of Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter, who tried to undermine Presidents Bush, Bush, and Clinton while consorting with tyrants, the people in Oslo endorse his priorities.
With Iran, North Korea, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, peace is in order. If it’s Fox News, cops, and doctors, then bring on la guerre.
Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”