I woke up this morning surprised, like every other American, that Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I can't say that I'm really happy for him, nor I am I angry that he received it. When I had mentioned this to some coworkers who hadn't heard the news, the first question they asked was, "For what?" Considering that nominations had to be proposed by early February, Obama would have only been in office a few weeks before someone put his name in for consideration. The media were abuzz about this same question and apologists were quick to respond how much better the U.S. is perceived around the world for Obama simply being elected.
Now, I'm not against him receiving this honor just because he's not Bush. I'm not against it because he's black. I'm not against it because his aspirations tend to lean towards peaceful resolve (even though after his acceptance remarks he was whisked off to a war planning meeting for Afghanistan). No, I'm against it because now there is a certain obligation for Obama to behave in a certain manner. In a way, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is exerting a certain influence on U.S. foreign policy. If I were the President and had just received the Nobel Peace Prize barely 9 months into my first term, I would feel a lot of undue pressure to live up to the expectations yoked upon me by this foreign organization. Think about it: if the platform of your presidency rested on restoring faith in your country in the eyes of the world, how much confidence would it instill if you received the Nobel Peace Prize and continued to wage war?
So Obama is now faced with a dilemma: Live up to the Peace Prize's standard of being a 'peace maker' at all costs, or risk violating the spirit of the Prize but continuing the path our nation is currently on. The former has implications for domestic sovereignty and security, whiles the latter risks the nation's perceptions with the rest of the world.
I think the world would have been a better place if they had waited for Obama to deliver on some promises and aspirations and then award it based on performance, instead of meddling with situations that are already quite precarious as they are.