This is great news. Apparently the Nobel people particularly praise Obama for his efforts to reshape global attitudes towards peaceful solutions of conflicts — a radical shift from Bush’s military approach to problem areas.

Obama has been criticized for being too much the community organizer and peace-maker which he certainly was in Chicago — and excellent at it, too. Perhaps the Nobel will give pause to those who criticize Obama for not being tougher and more war oriented in approaching problems such as those raised in the Middle East where he is getting our military out of Iraq, rethinking what we should be doing in Afghanistan, trying whatever to help the Israelis and Palestinians out of their hostility box, and opening a negotiating stance with Iran.

Needless to say negotiations and persuasion do not always work. As as my signature quote of Livy indicates, sometimes war is the only way to go. But as we saw with the Iraq fiasco, it is not to be undertaken lightly — it may cause vastly more harm than good.

I have been particularly appalled by those calling themselves Christians in our country who have so departed from the Beatitudes offered by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. We do not have really clear sources for the specifics of these, as they are variously scattered through the Gospels:

But for sure they call for peaceful solutions to problems and concern for those in need. Michael Moore’s new film is in a way very much a Christian appeal.

Obama is a Christian and by all indications a sincere one – not just promoting Christian attitudes cynically to appease constituents which I suspect is the case with too many of our pols — particularly the radical right wing ones. Needless to say Islam is a religion that has Christian roots and Christianity, itself, has Hebrew ones. Gandhi was reported to have said one time that all three of these were his religions.

I think peace-making is the appeal that Obama has been trying to make to adherents of these three major Western faiths.

At any rate IMHO he very much deserves the Nobel and I hope the award will make some impact on his critics. All those things he is trying to reform are also within the framework of the values I have just outlined.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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