If it is true that the Nobel committee awarded President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush, they must have been dismayed to discover that Bush’s war on terror remained the framework for Obama’s acceptance speech.
It was a great speech, with its references to Gandhi and King and its emphasis on human rights and economic justice. It was not a speech Bush could or would have given.
But Obama ultimately failed to escape the pull of the GWOT. Accountability is demanded of others but not of the US. No high official will be prosecuted for war crimes in Iraq.
The fringe terrorist group al-Qaeda is depicted as a challenge for the Pentagon, not the Interpol. Then Afghan insurgents are equated to al-Qaeda. Iran, which has no nuclear weapons program, is equated with North Korea.
Obama implied that peaceful conflict resolution is preferable, but that challenges do arise that require a military resolution. But he has unwittingly stacked the deck in favor if the military-industrial complex by adopting Bushian rhetoric at key junctures–speaking of enemies as ‘evil,’ militarizing the response to terrorism, and asserting false equivalences that help make war seem inevitable.
Obama has yet to decide whether he is a visionary or a technocrat. The prize committee hoped for the former. In this speech they got the latter.
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