“Obama Honors Nobel Winner With Statement About Himself”

The headline on Byron York’s Beltway Confidential post sums it up.  Here is President Obama’s statement.

It actually is not quite as self-referential and adoring as that, but the opening line suggests that Obama now views himself as standing as an equal among those who received it before him:

One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice.

So let’s look at President Obama’s “courageous advoca[cy]” on behalf of Mr. Liu Xiaobo, who is a courageous advocate of liberty that has sacrificed his own freedom in the pursuit of civil justice:

All of us have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes the inherent rights and dignity of human beings – a truth upheld within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress. This past year saw the release of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, even as the Burmese people continue to be denied the democracy that they deserve. Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta has continued his tireless work to build a free and prosperous East Timor, having made the transition from dissident to President. And this past year saw the retirement of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, whose own career demonstrates the universal power of freedom and justice to overcome extraordinary obstacles.

The rights of human beings are universal – they do not belong to one nation, region or faith. America respects the unique culture and traditions of different countries. We respect China’s extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want. But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible. I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year. Today, on what is also International Human Rights Day, we should redouble our efforts to advance universal values for all human beings.

One of the reasons — just one of them, mind you — that the Nobel Prize bestowed on President Obama last years is such a joke is that Obama has been incredibly weak on human rights.   This weak beer of a statement is one more example.

“In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress”?  Nice moral equivalence.  Mr. President, by elevating China to a place it does not deserve and denigrating nations that truly do seek justice and liberty, such as your own, you insult us and give tyrants political cover to continue business as usual. 

“I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year”?  Mr. President, Liu didn’t miss a flight.  He has been imprisoned by the government you are praising for its “extraordinary accomplishment[s]” in a statement that is supposed to be about Mr. Liu’s pursuit of liberty for his people.

Sickening.  Mr. Obama’s statement reminds us that the Nobel Prize has also been claimed by moral midgets who lack the courage  to strongly advocate for the cause of freedom and justice.

UPDATE: Abe Greenwald weighs in nicely:

There was no more conclusive way to erase the significance of the Nobel committee’s choice than for the American president to contort himself into praising the human-rights accomplishments of the regime that imprisoned the absentee winner. It’s bad enough that Obama is scared to lead the world in the promotion of human rights and liberty. It’s worse that he won’t even capitalize on decisions like the one made in Norway and take an unapologetically pro–human rights stand alongside international bodies that are willing to lead.

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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