Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hard Truth or Nonsense?

Less than one year ago, Oslo's prince of peace, Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama thanked the Nobel Peace Prize Committee by mentioning the concept of „necessary war“ five times in his lecture (English version, German translation here):

  1. We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
  2. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
  3. So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths – that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.
  4. I – like any head of state – reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation.
  5. Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.

These five quotations, together with the paragraphs at the end of his speech, show that Obama's views on war are definitely unclear. He switches between a) War is necessary (like a stone to fall down with a certain speed under certain conditions – according to a natural law); b) War is sometimes morally justified (aka “there is just war”); c) War is sometimes legally justified; War is necessary (as a tool) to reach certain goals/fulfill certain tasks (such as “defending the country” is a task of the U.S. president defined in the constitution). However, the question of seriously preventing war is not an issue of today, but one for an indefinite future (not “in our lifetimes”). At the end of his speech he uses the „idealism“, „love“ and „hope“ of Gandhi and King as far-off goals, hard to reach but not impossible. This move leaves space enough to announce the U.S. hegemony status. For the time being we (the rest of the world) should be satisfied with accepting unilateral military/paramilitary actions performed by the only hegemonic superpower left. (Not to speak of accepting the U.S. as “standard bearer in the conduct of war” – an absolutely disgusting remark after what was leaking out about Iraq, Guantanamo and Afghanistan).

But why wait? Why wait with establishing international laws preventing wars, signed by every nation, including the U.S. (- the standard non-signer of hopeful international treaties)?

The speech on the official website of the Nobel Prize → click here.

The whole ceremony (1,5 hours) on the official website of the Nobel Prize → click here.
Mr. Obama's speech starts at 00:45:20. He (an alleged lover of Jazz) would probably agree that the best minutes of the ceremony consisted in the performance of bassist Esperanza Spaulding starting at 00:39:20, just before the speech ;-)


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