hendrik hertzberg

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It’s probably true, as Minds Erased says, that the Nobel Peace prize is really like a Grammy Award, not based on merit, just a popularity contest, and only meant as a form of encouragement. Hendrick Hertzberg in the latest New Yorker (Oct. 19) pretty much agrees with this view. But that old foreign policy guru, Zbigniew Brzezinski, while admitting that Obama needs to earn the prize, deserves it nevertheless. Why? Here’s what he says:

He deserves it because, in the course of less than a year, he really has refined America’s relationship with the world. He has grandly improved America’s image in the world. He has committed America to a series of policies designed to resolve conflicts and to deal in a non-unilateral fashion with key issues. And he has committed America to grand goals in the area of nuclear weaponry, global problems and so forth.

What do I think?

Well, I think Iran is really not a threat and that if Obama can’t figure out how to talk to them, he’s not earned much, and he really should get out of Afghanistan. At least it appears now that he may drop the idea of routing out the Tailban. That’s a step forward.

But what do I think about Obama getting the prize?

Well, I don’t think he should have rejected it, but I’m sure it’ll be an additional burden for him to carry. It’s good that he at least is donating the proceeds to charity.

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Hendrik Hertzberg has the best analysis of the McCain quip, Make it a hundred, in answer to a questioner complaining that Bush wants to stay in Iraq for fifty more years. Hendrik was there and he puts the whole exchange in context. The bottom line:

But what the context shows, I think, is that yanking that sound bite out of context isn’t really all that unfair. McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal—that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we’ll stay.

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