This award — and the call to action that comes with it — does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.
What does “hope” mean in this case? The Journal elaborates:
The Norwegians are on to something. In a mere nine months, the President has promulgated a vision for the U.S. role in the world that breaks with both Republican and Democratic predecessors. Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, called America the “indispensable nation” a decade ago. Ronald Reagan called it a “city on the Hill,” an example to the world.
Mr. Obama sees the U.S. differently, as weaker than it was and the rest of the planet as stronger, and so he calls for a humbler America, at best a first among equals, working primarily through the U.N. The world’s challenges, he emphasized yesterday, “can’t be met by any one leader or any one nation.” What this suggests to us—and to the Norwegians—is the end of what has been called “American exceptionalism.” This is the view that U.S. values have universal application and should be promoted without apology, and defended with military force when necessary.
CNN chooses a slightly — but only slightly — different frame of analysis, one that seems to be shared by our new “smart power” State Department: “Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes.” Meanwhile, Politico’s excited to find that three of the five Norwegians on the committee are hard leftists (one of them a bona fide socialist), but does it really matter? European “conservatives” are about as far right as Joe Lieberman; you could have stacked the panel with Norway’s equivalent of Reagan Republicans and still gotten the same unanimous vote for The One that you got this time. The Gipper ended the Cold War and never got a Nobel nod. This is an institutional issue, not a membership one.
Exit question: If Hillary had been elected last year, would she have gotten the prize today?
Update: Via Greg Hengler. Dare.