Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obama and Realpolitik- A Peacemaker's Perspective

The challenge we face in being outside the confidential circle of President Obama is that it seems difficult to discern what is happening privately and quietly and what is for public consumption. Middle East historian Mark Levine seems to suggest that we measure the effect of the Nobel Peace Prize on President Obama's observable actions and policies. I think Obama will be smarter and more nuanced in his approach. I doubt we will see huge policy shifts overnight as Levine suggests would be consistent with the Peace Prize and inconsistent with American domestic and foreign policy. Instead, over the months and years of the Obama administration, I suspect we will subtle changes, adjustments, and policies that can influence and steer rather than dictate and control. Obama will face his ethical dilemmas of being a Nobel Peace Laureate and being president of the United States. Those dilemmas will be challenging, and I suspect he will manage them quietly and deftly. Mostly, we will not know about them or how they are resolved. I think historians will have a lot more to say in ten years than they can say today.

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