A video companion to his print piece in Newsweek this weekend sneering righteously at the committee for misunderstanding what peace requires:

We thus find ourselves in a rather peculiar universe where good intentions are rewarded before they have undergone the strenuous metamorphosis of being translated into good deeds, or hard facts. And it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid entertaining the suspicion that there is something explicitly political in the underlying process of Nobelista decision making. I do not think that I am shying at shadows here, either. Especially of late, the literature awards, on which I am more qualified to pronounce, have reflected the same or a similar mentality. The choices of an Italian anarchist, an Austrian Stalinist, a Portuguese Stalinist, and the hysterical anti-American Harold Pinter are or should be fresh in our minds, and we might remember that this is a Nobel committee that let Vladimir Nabokov and Jorge Luis Borges go to their graves -unrecognized…

[T]he task of the chief executive of the United States is more complicated than manifesting a vague and general sympathy for the oppressed. It is, in the last resort, to be a commander in chief, and to consult closely with an elected Congress on the grave matters of war and peace and security. If he manages to get any of this right—if, for a pregnant instance, he manages to negotiate a nonviolent transition to an Iran that has nuclear power but not nuclear weapons (and that perhaps allows its own people to intervene in their own internal affairs)—then he will have done very well, and will deserve much more than a medal and a large check. He is, however, unlikely even to get a hearing on these serious questions without the believable threat of American power and force, economic and diplomatic as well as military. Something in the mental universe of the Nobel committee is palpably hostile to the facts that underpin that consideration.

Picking up on that same point, he gets off a good, stinging line at the very end here about the North Korean contribution to the tone of the “international conversation.” Exit question: Should Obama have taken his advice and refused the prize? I see the argument for it, but there’s a lot of good he can do with the Nobel imprimatur if — if — he’s so inclined. For one thing, he’s got a stage in Oslo next month that’ll draw global media. If — if — he’s up to it, he could use his speech as an opportunity to salute peacemakers who deserve more recognition like Sima Samar, Iran’s green revolution, or of course the United States military. Beyond that, now that he’s wearing a peace crown, he’s got tons of political cover to escalate in Afghanistan or get tough with sanctions on Iran. The committee gave him the award to “geld” him, in Frum’s words, but he could just as easily turn that back on them by being aggressive with Islamist fascists in the name, quite rightly, of peace. If, that is, he’s willing to be aggressive. Anyone think so?

Tags: Barack Obama