Norman Solomon: After his Inaugural speech in January 2009, Obama has pursued policies that epitomize King’s grim warning in 1967: “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.”
William Lorenz Katz: Was not Martin Luther King, Jr. reaching beyond Vietnam when he warned of “approaching spiritual death” and called for “a significant and profound change in American life and policy” and insisted “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” Was he only speaking of Vietnam when he said, “War is not the answer?”
Gene Rothman: we progressives need to follow King’s advice and not merely listen to, but to learn from others in the world. “Compassion and non-violence help us see the enemies point of view . . . . We may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own . . . [and] may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of our brothers who are called the opposition.” Most significantly, he noted that it is the U.S. that is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Only a few commentators, including the president, seemed to sheepishly realize the irony of his receiving the prize shortly after escalating one war and while continuing to fight another. You would have thought that the escalation alone would have been enough to satisfy all of the warheads at home; but to stanch the domestic fallout from being associated with too much peace, Obama, when accepting the peace award, gave a speech defending war.
President Obama’s Nobel lecture might have showed us that the United States has reached a turning point: either the national security monster we’ve created is going to eat us alive by bankrupting the country or we’re going to have to shift course. We must begin to spin off the 700 or so military bases and installations around the world and focus on building a better life for our own people here at home.
This week’s articles in the LA PROGRESSIVE
Whether President Obama is to be tolerated or followed is still playing out, but what is clear is that the world is ready to follow his lead. The world is also watching to see if Obama’s election was a sincere transition toward a different “change” mindset or a false signal while America ideologically recasts itself.
You should use the clout and credibility from the prize to convene serious, multiparty negotiations aimed at verifiably eliminating nuclear weapons from all arsenals, backed up with cooperative intelligence-gathering to ensure that non-state actors do not acquire or independently develop such weapons.
The spokesperson went on to say that because Obama is contributing to the improvement of the international climate and is working to strengthen international bodies such as the United Nations, they felt it important to endorse and cultivate the principals for which he stands.