President Obama delivers many speeches. Through his speeches, he communicates with Americans and with world citizens and conveys his messages. Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize he did it again: Instead of making do with routine words of gratitude, the US president delivered a deep ideological-philosophical speech that laid the basis for his foreign and defense policy.
His words shocked his listeners, that is, northern Europe’s satiated and pacifist elite. He said exactly what they did not expect or want to hear from him, the New York Times wrote. Obama slammed the truth in their face, commentator Thomas Friedman said in a television interview.
The Obama doctrine that was revealed in his Nobel speech again designated the US as the global policeman; a considerate cop (who does not give up his mission,) a law-abiding police officer (as much as is possible under war conditions,) and a policeman with a conscience (but also one who tightly holds on to his gun and is willing to shoot and kill anyone who hinders his mission – the protection of America and democracy.)
“Make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world,” Obama reprimanded his European listeners. “A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms…The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea.”
The Norwegians and Swedes responded to his words the way the Egyptian invitees responded when Obama delivered his June 4 speech in Cairo: They cheered him on only when he criticized what they like to criticize. Yet when the US president demanded Arab world democratization, full rights to women, freedom of religion, condemnation of terror, and the opening of markets to globalization, the audience facing him remained silent and stunned.
Just military intervention
Ever since Obama’s Cairo speech, his prestige among the Arab world’s subjugated elite had been declining rapidly. It continued to plummet following the “Oslo Speech,” where he went further and presented the doctrine of just military intervention by the US.
We are required to “think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace,” Obama said. “I - like any head of state - reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation…I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds…I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear…Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.”
“If human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise,” Obama concluded. He even refrained from condemning the war in Iraq, and instead chose to condemn jihadist holy wars.
The reactions to Obama’s “Oslo Speech” are flooding the public arena in America. The battle lines have been redrawn: The radical Left is harshly condemning the president and accuses him of adopting the “Bush Doctrine” (“A crusade against the axis of evil”) to the point of making it the most fundamental basis of America’s policy; a binding bipartisan norm.
Meanwhile, Obama supporters on the center of the political spectrum says that in practice, any American Democratic president, ranging from Truman to Kennedy and from Carter to Clinton, adopted Obama’s universal principles on the international stage. And so, Obama’s fans are referring to him as a “fighting idealist,” while his objectors see him as a “phony liberal.”
As Obama’s first term in office advances, it turns out that this president cannot be classified according to pre-determined categories or definitions. And this is what makes him great.