Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama's Coming Ethical Dilemmas

As a professional peacemaker, I found the Nobel Peace Prize  to be an interesting and perhaps strategic move by the Nobel committee. President Obama will be invested as a Nobel Laureate. That award carries a high moral and ethical obligation to advocate for peace throughout the world. In addition, for the time that he is president of the United States, he is under a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to make decisions that serve the best interests of the United States. I can foresee many decisions in which the moral and ethical demands of a Nobel Peace Laureate may conflict with the moral and ethical demands of being president of the United States. The Nobel Peace committee, by making this award, could be said to be influencing U.S. domestic and foreign policy in a subtle, nuanced, yet powerful way. Since President Obama is a principled man, I think the ethical dilemmas he is bound to confront will be even more difficult and stressful as he fits the crown of Nobel Peace Prize winner on himself. Personally, I don't think I would want that burden as a sitting president and would be inclined, despite the honor, to politely refuse it. I will be interested to see if President Obama accepts the award and, if so, how his future decision making in tough situations will be affected by his status as a Nobel Laureate.


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