So, the Nobel Committee has sprung a surprise -- or, as one might say, sprung a rabbit out of the hat.
And the deabte is raging in full bloom!
My first reaction was one of happiness as I have no qualms admitting that I'm an Obama fan.
Is this premature?
Perhaps as the Nobel Committee has said this is a recognition of the window of opportunity that Obama has been able to open by the very fact of his being President.
Whether these opportunities turn into real victories ... only time will tell.
Often, or usually, that depends on many players ... in complex international affairs.
If one were to debate the deservedness of Nobel winners, one might debate whether Peres, Rabin and Arafat were deserving winners ... did they manage to carve out some sort of enduring peace deal out of their efforts?
I guess these are often open-ended questions with no definitiveness about them.
I have a feeling that Bill Clinton might have reacted with a lot of surprise ... I would love to see his public reaction. Being a smart guy that he is, I'm sure he'd give an appropriate reaction. Inside, he might be feeling that he has had more influence on people's lives through what he did during his years as President and through the work of his AIDS initiatives as well as the Clinton Global Initiative.
Really, it's an interesting point to think about -- how much of what happens can be credited to leaders and how much is a happenstance of history.
If one were to look at the golden run of the U.S. economy during the 90's, how much of the credit should go to the Administration and how much to the beneficial impact of technology and the transformative powers that it engendered.
I think a substantial portion of the credit for the U.S. economy's continuous growth goes to the initiative and innovative spirit of enterpreneurs.
When a crisis is 'man-made,' the role of leadership becomes more critical.
When one talks about the Second World War, for example, the role of leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill as inspirational figures was important. But then, Stalin provided the bullwork on the Eastern front and that was a critical factor which is not to be forgotten. And Stalin was no saint -- no nation has sacrificed so much as the Russians in terms of human lives.
Churchill -- such a thoughtful thinker -- was an obstinate colonialist who wanted to perpetuate the British Empire.