POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama Nobel Speech: Reviews, Reaction (VIDEO)

Pundits are reacting to President Obama's speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. On MSNBC's Morning Joe the hosts were surprised that the president defended the use of force -- to the extent that he did -- considering he was accepting a peace prize.

On the panel to offer their thoughts were NBC newsman Tom Brokaw and NYT columnist Tom Friedman. Brokaw thought the speech was "as close as we've had to an Obama Doctrine":

I think this is as close as we've had to an Obama Doctrine, probably, about how he sees the world and now promises that his administration will fulfill what he believes are the moral and political obligations of a leader in the world.

Friedman called it a "window into [Obama's] mind" and "a very subtle speech":

I thought it was a very subtle speech. And to me it really was a window into his mind. He is a subtle guy. It wasn't George W. Bush, you know, 'we're out there promoting freedom in every corner of the world, this is where we are.' He has a much more complicated, nuanced view of the world. Whether he can sustain I don't know... It was a humble speech but a firm speech.

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Adam Serwer of The American Prospect also thought the speech was the clearest expression so far of an Obama Doctrine, but felt the parts about human rights "rang hollow":

Obama's Nobel acceptance speech -- essentially a second escalation speech -- is perhaps the most articulate expression of The Obama Doctrine we've seen yet. It was a lengthy defense of American military intervention from World War II to Desert Storm, and a forceful justification of the escalation of troop levels in Afghanistan. It was a stirring defense of human rights, and an indictment of violence and extremism.

But much of the president's rhetoric on human rights felt hollow. "We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend," he said. By that standard, we've lost ourselves. Obama has repudiated torture, but has left the other hallmarks of executive overreach -- from indefinite detention without trial or charge to warrantless surveillance -- largely untouched. He has refused to hold anyone accountable for the lawbreaking and human rights violations of the past, opting instead to "look forward."

Clayton McCleskey, a staff writer for the Dallas Morning News, writes that Obama "knocked it out of the park":

Regardless of what you think of Obama, we should all be proud that the President of the United States not only won the Nobel Peace Prize, but also that people care. When the American president speaks, the world listens. Folks, it's easy to take that for granted, but that's huge. I doubt that this Swedish granny would have been all that excited to listen to the President of China.

Obama struck a nice balance by reaching out to the international community while still projecting an image of a robust and powerful America ready and willing to lead. He sent Europe a message it desperately needed to hear about using military force as a tool for peace: