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US press surprised, skeptical about Obama Nobel win

The US press reacted with shock, surprise and even some skepticism to the news on Friday that US President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

world Updated: Oct 09, 2009 20:56 IST

The US press reacted with shock, surprise and even some skepticism to the news on Friday that US President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

"In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy," the New York Times headlined its online edition, above a photo of the US president with his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.

"But while Mr Obama has generated considerable good will overseas -- his foreign counterparts are eager to meet with him, and polls show he is hugely popular around the world -- many of his policy efforts have yet to bear fruit, or are only just beginning to do so," the paper said, noting that North Korea has "defied him" by launching missile tests.

The online edition of the Washington Post said it was "a stunning decision to celebrate a figure virtually unknown in the world before he launched his campaign for the White House nearly three years ago."

The paper also noted the growing dissonance between the way Obama is regarded at home and abroad.

"In honoring Obama, 48, the Norwegian Nobel Committee echoed a global embrace of the US president that has seen his popularity overseas often exceed his support at home."

The Post suggested that the decision to award Obama the prize so soon after taking office could be read as a continuing "rebuke" against the administration of former US president George W Bush.

The Los Angeles Times noted the somewhat awkward timing of Obama's win.

"Ironically, the award arrives at a time when Obama is weighing the recommendation of the US military commander in Afghanistan to deploy tens of thousands of additional troops in a war now eight years old," the paper said.

The Wall Street Journal warned that the win could backfire against Obama domestically.

"The Nobel committee's surprise choice may bring criticism that the president's popular status internationally... overshadowed his lack of accomplishments this early in his presidency," the paper said.

"While the Nobel judges said they hoped to enhance Mr Obama's diplomatic efforts, the prize could come as an unwanted distraction for a White House already facing significant obstacles in advancing its ambitious policy agenda."