President Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo a mere week after announcing a major escalation in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Obama acknowledged the awkward timing in his acceptance speech, saying he respects icons of nonviolence Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., but "as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone." Still, with some Norwegians having second thoughts, and only about a quarter of Americans saying Obama deserved the prize, did the Nobel Committee pick the wrong man? (Watch a CNN panel discuss Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.)
The prize is a little premature: "I think if you are realistic, it may have been a little early" to award Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, said the Dalai Lama, a Nobel laureate, to Sky News. "But it doesn't matter, I know Obama is a very able person ... young and energetic," and the Nobel "gives him more encouragement and also gives him more moral personal responsibility."
"Dalai Lama: Obama's Nobel is 'a little early'"
Obama squared the contradiction well: Obama "clearly understood" he won the prize prematurely, says Newt Gingrich, via the Chicago Tribune. But he took a step toward earning it with his acceptance speech, which was "actually very good." It's "historic" that a "liberal president" reminded Europeans "that there is evil in the world," and that "they would not be free, they wouldn't be able to have a peace prize, without having force."
"Gingrich: Obama's Nobel speech 'historic'"
Oslo has done worse with U.S. presidents: Despite all the "carping" about this "undeserved" Nobel, says James Bradley in The Huffington Post, "it would take a lot for President Obama to do more damage" than Teddy Roosevelt, who was the first American to win the prize, 103 years ago. By encouraging Imperial Japan, and approving its invasion of Korea, Roosevelt did "much to catalyze millions of deaths."
"Obama's Nobel more deserved than Teddy Roosevelt's?"