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The Hawkishness of Obama

The full text of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech is here.

The White House admitted that Obama approached the speech with two particularly troublesome issues in mind. The less interesting was his obvious undeservedness of the award, an issue which Obama swiftly and concisely swept aside - as he had done in his first speech on the topic in America - by simply agreeing with the criticism and promising to attempt to live up to an honor prematurely bestowed upon him. For those who find ample evidence for scrutinizing Obama's narcissism, this was an occasion of public humility which served him well.

The second issue was the seeming paradox of a war-time president, in the midst of a troop build-up, receiving a prize for peace. On this front, Obama was far more surprising. If not downright hawkish, Obama was at least far from pacifistic. Midpoint through the speech, NRO's Daniel Foster noted: "This is starting to sound pretty....neoconservative. With a nod, of course, to multilateralism."

Naturally, Obama's speech was not perfect and provided moments of liberal prejudice. By way of omission, he specifically excluded the present war in Iraq from his list of just wars. And while praising the "great religion" of Islam, he equates Christian crusaders to terrorists and claims that "no Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint - no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or even a person of one's own faith." Rather unwarranted assertions, I think. 

Nevertheless, the substance of the speech was serious and direct. Obama spoke of human nature, Just War Theory, humanitarian intervention, realism vs. idealism, the limits of discourse and his role as a political leader. With a few minor tweaks, this oration could have been spoken by Dick Chaney at a Tea Party rally.

In fact, the speech proved far more aggressive and assertive than has been the actual conduct of this administration. Obama has been criticized even from the left for his docility in foreign policy - until the "surge" in Afghanistan, of course. Perhaps this defining speech provides an insight into a disconnect between Obama's logical thinking and instinctual reflexes on foreign conflicts - as well as which of the two most commonly determines his ultimate course of action.

Discussions - 17 Comments

nice comments. It was a fairly bold speech considering the circumstances.

Having sometimes wondered lately if my judgment in November was right, I found this speech (together with the December 1 decision) heartening.

I'm waiting for an honest conservative to admit that their various paranoid fears about Obama were very wrong. Actually, short of the "independent" Lieberman and a rather small handful of other Dems, he's really about as much as a conservative could hope (or wish) for, unless one fantasizes that the other party simply be an absolute mirror-image of one's own.

I actually can't figure out why the Right is griping so much about Obama's Nobel. It's not as if you don't roll your eyes in disdain and contempt at nearly any mention of the word "peace". Maybe it's just the idea of him getting some award, any award, that bothers you?

Craig is on to something.

I don't think we should rush to conclude that what Obama offered in his speech is something he really believes. It's entirely possible it was a purely calculated move.

Could this be Obama's "Sister Souljah" moment? Could this be his move to "show toughness" where the benefits are mostly upside with little risk of downside cost?

Clinton didn't really mean what he said. It bought him "credibility" without much damage to his standing. Obama "stands up" to Norwegian leftists, gains the applause of many conservatives, and probably buys him just enough time to get his socialist plans installed.

I'm very serious. I have no trust that *anything* Obama says is done for any reason other than his own self-interest. Does anyone seriously believe that after a full year of groveling apologies for America's role in all bad things that he has had a sudden change of heart?

Not me.

It was a fairly bold speech given the circumstances. Maybe the guy is learning what it means to be president of the United States. Being that and appearing to be that is certainly in his best interests. That kind of speech also happens to be in the nation's best interest. I am grateful that he made that speech in that place at this time. No, I do not like his socialist domestic plans, but it took nerve to make that speech in Oslo and I don't see how Americans cannot be happy about it. I hope he keeps it up.

Craig is on to something in that the Nobel Peace Prize is silly. Given who has been awarded in the past, it has not got much to do with peace in any real way.

However, even though I liked the speech, the idea of Obama as a conservative is just laughable. Although paranoid fears are by definition wrong, perhaps we have legitimate fears about him?

Craig is on to something in that the Nobel Peace Prize is silly. Given who has been awarded in the past, it has not got much to do with peace in any real way.

However, even though I liked the speech, the idea of Obama as a conservative is just laughable. Although paranoid fears are by definition wrong, perhaps we have legitimate fears about him?

How did that happen? My post was not accepted; the original text was wrong, even though it was right, as usual. I returned to original entry and when I posted, was accepted, as usual, and now I find two postings. What happened?

Kate, Scanlon didn't say the president is a conservative.

Steve, he did say, " Actually, short of the "independent" Lieberman and a rather small handful of other Dems, he's really about as much as a conservative could hope (or wish) for... "

...and Obama is not as much as this conservative could hope or wish for. I was wishing and hoping for more just a year ago. Craig could probably find me saying something to that effect in the archive. He is simply not any conservative's dream. I still liked the speech he gave in Oslo today and hope for more along those lines in the future.

Yes, about as much as a conservative could hope for from a Democrat. . .in foreign policy, I think he implied. And that, I believe, is true. As many people have noticed, we are seeing the reestablishment of broad agreement in matters of national security policy. This is important.

"The Hawkishness of Obama"?? How about "The Spin of Obama"??

"as much as a conservative could hope for from a Democrat. . .in foreign policy"

Well, considering the he has scared the heebee-jeebees out of most conservatives for the last year, I am left wondering what you and Craig are suggesting that any other Democrat would have done with the office. Given much of what we have seen in the foreign policy realm of the last year, he is bound to get responses liked David Frisk's. If he says or does something sensible it is seen as hype.

For that I think the Hayward post applies and I write further in response to that.

There were coded messages in HUSSEIN Obama's speech letting his Arab buddies know that everything will be okay. Soon he'll be back to bowing before America's enemies and surrendering in the War on Terror.

Consider this a belated gift for Pearl Harbor Day
http://www.vyoos.com/images/obama-bow1.jpg

What would Dick Chaney be doing at a Tea Party rally..... Speaking out against the gobs of tax dollars going to his former employers?

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