But what is that change? I guess that Obama has made clear that he would not have wanted to waterboard those three Al Qaeda operatives. He has given some speeches that, depending on your perspective, present either a "kinder and gentler" America or a weaker one unwilling to assert its moral authority and military power in service of its own interests or those of democracy - at least in a way that is not endorsed by an international "consensus."
It is possible, I suppose, that this approach might lead to a greater degree of world peace. But there is not much historical reason to think so. And there is reason to believe that it will lead much injustice to go undeterred. As Jonah Goldberg observes, there is an irony to today's announcement:
The only thing that really bothers me is that this comes just days after
the Obama administration turned a blind eye to the Dalai Lama and told the world
that it's at least considering a separate peace with the Taliban. That's
grotesque. Meanwhile, there are real peace activists and dissidents out there
whose dungeons will stay just as cold and dark for another year because of this.
Indeed, this news comes during a year when the Iranian people rose up against
tyranny and were crushed. Surely someone in Iran — or maybe the Iranian
protesters generally — could have benefited more from receiving the prize than
a president who, so far, has done virtually nothing concrete for world
And what is - precisely - that this "response" or statement of support is supposed to accomplish? Is the President supposed to be guided by the sentiments of those who honored him? Are world leaders supposed to be more favorably disposed to Obama initiatives (if there any) as if Iran would have developed a nuclear weapon but, since a Nobel laureate asked it not to ....