Aaron David Miller, a fellow of the Wilson Center in Washington and a Middle East negotiator in the administrations of four Chief Executives, writes about President Obama’s Nobel Prize for Peace at CNN.com:
A young president, barely in the 10th month of his first year in office, is receiving an internationally sanctioned peace prize when the vast majority of his predecessors, some of whom actually achieved extraordinary success in foreign policy (Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush), did not[…]
Obama is the Energizer Bunny of American foreign policy, even overshadowing a very talented secretary of state. He’s everywhere, in Cairo making nice to the Arabs and Muslims; in Buchenwald and Normandy wrapping himself (quite appropriately for a president) in history; at the G8 and G20 massaging the allies; negotiating arms control with the Russians; and trying to get the Iranians off of a nuclear weapons program.
All of this is good and may prove consequential. But it is hardly determinative, particularly in a world in which diplomatic achievement will be extremely difficult to attain. To pronounce and hail the president as a peacemaker based on process, effort and a change of tone is a stretch.
Maybe Obama will emerge as a consequential foreign policy president. But raising the bar on his accomplishments now actually lowers it for all of us, diminishes what he’s actually accomplished and undermines the concept of excellence.