President Obama’s Nobel Prize address was a paradox perplexing to himself, the Peace Prize, people, and the planet. He justified his war as just, but not that of his opponents. He demanded human rights, but not life and the living of others. He extolled love, but not love of enemies or turning the other cheek. He promised change, but not as people and the Prize committee expected. Did he change himself to a politician simply of self-justification and self-love?
The Noble Prize awarding committee must be perplexed at his stunning surge of 30,000 troops, bringing the total of troops stationed in Afghanistan to combat 100 terrorists against the U.S. to more than 100,000. Someone recommended that the prize now be called “War as Peace Prize.” Are the lives, money, matter, and minds of others expendable? He received only scattered applause throughout his speech. The planet is left unsure about nuclear weapons, the environment, and many other pressing problems.
An Oslo protester’s sign read: “You won it, now you earn it.” President Obama can, only if he changes his ego. Wars against enemy, empire, economy, or ecology come from ego. All wage wars for their justice, but not for the holy (wholesome whole). Partial truth or justice is not wholly truth or justice, as in the story of the blind men who touch only part of an elephant. As Gandhi said, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” Only when one gives up ego and empire, the wholesome whole is earned. So-called terrorism arises from ego and against ego, imperialism, etc.
Some say, “You must fight against Hitler, Al Qaeda, etc. and thus need wars, weapons, bases, nukes.” But this game rule of fighting for empire, essentially of ego, is the root cause of problems, holocaust, terrorists, wars, weapons of mass extinction, nuclear weapons, dictators, refugees, and starvation. Selfishness is the source of suffering, offering no solution to the political, social, economic, and ecological problems that are leading to catastrophe.
President Obama’s popularity rating dropped below 50 percent, reflecting the discouragement of his supporters. In my October 12 piece here, “Nobel Peace Prize for Obama Urges Our Effort,” I wrote that “Abolishing nuclear weapons, wars, violence, and selfishness is the great human responsibility. It is each person’s responsibility.” It is upon us to earn peace or not. Gandhi said that “We must be the change we wish to see,” and Dogen said that “Loving speech has the power to revolutionize the universe.” Genuine love has no ego, enemy, extermination.