Obama does deserve his Nobel Peace Price
Many of President Obama’s critics on the Left slam him for not doing more to reverse President George W. Bush’s war policies, but ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says the criticism misses the significance of Obama’s resistance to Bush’s moniker, “war president.”
The extent to which the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Barack Obama has used military force has been the subject of much comment. The actions that elicit such comment are easy to see, from a surge of troops in Afghanistan to the extensive and widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles to kill suspected terrorists.
But the actions disguise the dominant inclinations of Obama. Unlike his predecessor, he has never wanted to be a “war president.” He has resisted the militarization of American policy.
President Barack Obama saluting coffins of dead U.S. soldiers returned from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base. (White House photo by Pete Souza)
The best indication of this is his clear opposition to a provision in a defense-authorization act passed late last year mandating that foreigners suspected of being al-Qaeda members be put in military custody rather than being subjected to the civilian criminal justice system.
The president sharply criticized the provision in a signing statement, indicating that he would interpret a waiver provision in the law to preserve maximum flexibility. This past week he did exactly that, issuing a waiver and associated guidelines effectively to undo as much of the objectionable legislation as is in his power to undo.
Insofar as the administration has seemed to head for a military path, it has been responding to several unavoidable pressures and circumstances. One is the legacy of a couple of ongoing wars that it inherited. Another is the traditional Democratic concern about not appearing to be wimpy on matters of national security.
The largest factor, however, is a pervasive contemporary American habit of thinking about almost anything involving a foreign challenge or security threat in warlike terms, which in turn leads to thinking about military means as the most appropriate tool for dealing with the problem.
In analyzing the considerable continuity between the latter part of the Bush administration and the Obama administration in counterterrorist policy and practices, Marc Lynch has noted how the “media and political class” have “deeply internalized Global War on Terror framing” even though the war-on-terror terminology is no longer in official vogue. That framing severely restricts what any administration can do, even if no one is trying to score a political point or gain an electoral advantage.
The legislation about mandatory military custody for certain terrorism suspects demonstrates how much we are dealing with an attitudinal habit rather than careful consideration about what makes for effective policy. Although supporters of the legislation may have thought of themselves as being tough guys on terrorism, the effect of the law was to reduce the tools and options available in dealing with suspected terrorists.
President Obama is right to use waivers aggressively to resist this aimless bit of machismo.
All of his actions have made the World safer and more peaceful and make Obama deserve
his Nobel Price on Peace achieving peace requires violence and strength!
1. Ending War in Iraq
2. Winning the war on terrorism (killing Bin Laden, killing the American terrorist, other leaders of Al Qaeda i.e., Anwar Al Awlak
He took a brave but long-delayed decision to double down in Afghanistan and has authorized drone attacks on terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen, signing NDAA
3. Mobilized Int'l Coalition to protect the Libyan Pro-Democracy Demonstrators
4. The elimination of Qaddafi
5. Isolated and weakened Iran
In recent days it has become clear that the sanctions against Iran are working vastly better than anyone should have expected. The Europeans are now tightening them further with a planned oil embargo against the Iranians -- a display of unity and shared purpose within the Atlantic Alliance that might at one time have seemed as far-fetched as the idea that sanctions could work in the first place.
Further, the pressure brought on the Iranians has not just been economic. From Stuxnet to covert attacks on their nuclear facilities and personnel, the U.S. and our allies have demonstrated that there are useful forms of pressure that fall between toothless soft power and over-the-top applications of "shock and awe" type force.
6. Halved the number of Russian and American Nuclear launchers
7. Supported Democratic transition in Egypt
8. Strengthened US-ISRAEL relationship
9. Restoring our reputation internationally, resetting our international priorities to better coincide with our long term interests (the "pivot" to a focus on Asia)
10. Plan to reduce wasteful/outoffocus Defense spending