Commentary: Greater responsibility for Nobel "wartime president" 2009-12-11 00:50:25   Print

    OSLO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Following last week's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, U.S. President Barack Obama, dubbed the "wartime president," accepted his Nobel Peace Prize here Thursday.

    The decision to honor Obama triggered widespread controversy when it was announced in October because it was the United States that initiated the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even some American media used such an ironic expression as a "wartime president" won a Nobel Peace Prize.

    People may have different reasons for challenging Obama's award, but one thing is certain. The peace prize brings with it greater responsibility both for the president and the United States to contribute more to world peace.

    In October, the Nobel Committee announced the decision to honor Obama for what it said was his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

    The decision surprised the entire world, including the White House. However, it was not surprising that Obama's selection sparked hot debate at home and abroad.

    Some believe the honor would be an encouragement for the president. Others described the prize as "a holy grail of poisonous wine." Obama himself said he accepted the award as "a call to action."

    Currently, U.S. troops are still in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Countless people are still living with wars and hardly have a sound sleep.

    So questions remain for Obama before he can celebrate his one-year anniversary as president on Jan. 20.

    Will the Guantanamo Bay prison be completely closed ahead of that date? Will the U.S. troops in Iraq return home as scheduled? When will the war in Afghanistan that has lasted eight years come to an end? How long will the foreign troops, mainly U.S. soldiers, stay in Afghanistan?

    The U.N. Climate Change Conference, which opened Monday, continued in Copenhagen. Obama was to attend the talks. Will Obama bring bigger commitment to carbon emission cuts? That is unquestionably an issue in the world spotlight.

    The Obama administration has offered a 17-percent reduction target of its greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, which is about 4 percent emissions cut below 1990 levels. That reduction rate is about half of the requirement of the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States has refused to ratify so far.

    Cannot the United States take more courage to contribute more to combating climate change?

    The developed countries, including the United States, should offer bigger commitments to reducing gas emissions. They are also obliged to provide funding and technical assistance to developing economies.

    The world not only expects an oral commitment from the Obama administration, it also looks forward to seeing him translate his promises into action. There is a lot Obama and his country can and should do to live up to the expectations of the international community.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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