Few people were fighting in a crowded Delhi street, and every person who was involved has his own reason. Someone was fighting for the parking space, another one for putting up his shop and so on. For the locals, it was almost an everyday routine. The old Constable only aggravated the situation by putting one against the other just for the sake of few of the shopkeepers and a doctor who happened to be related to them. But today old Constable was not there, he was transferred, and in his place a new Constable resumed the duties. The new Constable, with youthful exuberance and charming presence, watch the scene. Sooner, people who were fighting observed that someone is watching them, and this fellow is not the one they knew, a portion of their attention got diverted. He kept looking at them, attentively, until he managed to have their entire attention. As the action stopped, he talked to them, asking for the reasons and then offering advice. The issue was resolved after parties to dispute agreed to a temporary solution, and decided to agree to a final solution. Locals were happy, for the first time the dispute didn’t benefited the doctor or the chemist or the gunsmith. Within the next few weeks of the new Constable, these big altercations decreased, and the locals, especially elders of the Local Welfare Association were content. However the reasons for these altercations remained, parking, small shops, electricity etc were not yet resolved. And instead of big fights, there were small alterations in the darker alleys of the street. But on whole it seemed peaceful, even though reports kept piling up with the Constable. On sunny day, the elders decided to fete the new Constable for his work, or his tactics of using negotiation, with a hope that it would further encourage him to resolve the existing conflicts. Barack Hussein Obama today mirrors that constable. Like Constable he too has bought hope but events preceding and succeeding his nomination only vindicate that a lot still has to be done.
It was nothing but only shock and surprise which deluged the world when Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo nominated Obama. The Citation which read “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between the peoples” was preceded by the bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul and succeeded by siege of military barracks in Rawalpindi by the Taliban. And to add on to this there are further chain of events like reduction of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, ratification of CTBT, possible dumping of Kyoto Protocol and revival of multilateral agencies like UN, IMF and World Bank which could have serious implications on the world order.
As Ramachandra Guha, a noted historian writes in Hindustan Times “In ten months since he took office, Barack Obama has not taken any notable initiative for bringing about peace in the world. In fact, in at least two respects he has possibly impeded the prospects of peace. Despite murmurs made on the campaign trail, he has refused to undemonise Iran”. Obama’s Presidential campaign swept US and the world like a wizard’s charm. His opponent, Republican John McCain, a seasoned politician, just couldn’t face the spell. Ramachandra Guha’s observation hits where it hurts. There is a difference between Sorcerer’s world and real world.
One of my friends who was preparing for studying MBA overseas told me then “For having some global understanding I following their campaign. Obama’s is full of collegiate cliché, full of dreams, and full of hope. Whereas McCain is more practical, he is the one with plans.” I am not an expert of US politics, or world for that matter, however, the world the way I see I haven’t seen anything spectacular from this person. Let it be peace, economy and climate, the three pressing issues of our times.
There is no global consensus on Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. Israel continues to build settlements in West Bank while he looked other way. North Korea keeps testing missiles and Pakistan still fueling an anti-India force with money meant for fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban. With world economy still recovering, there questions being asked about G-8 relevance in World Bank and IMF. US still getting more and more protectionist under the pretext of dumping and protection of local industries. Although he has accepted the danger of climate, however it is speculated that US might dump Kyoto protocol, to the ire of EU and emerging economies. Still Nobel committee in Oslo decided to confer him the award, the inherent reasons are still unclear.
Whether Nobel Committee is trying of give a helping hand to an unfinished process? Or Whether Nobel Committee wants to piggy back Brand Obama? The reasons are still unclear. Nobel Committee doling out this award has being known for making eccentric to the absurd decision. M.K. Gandhi was never awarded this award whereas Staling and Hitler were once in contention only proves the veracity of its eccentricity and absurdity. One of the members of the Committee has remarked that it has being done to ‘help him to achieve the objectives he set out to achieve’, and if that so, then it is rather unfortunate because there far too many people who are for a long period pursuing these objectives which he has set out for himself. Or it may be a move by the Nobel Peace Committee to ride on the Brand equity of a person which is higher than its own. In any case, a slightest mistake can have serious repercussion. It may put a heavy burden on the shoulder of the boy whose bag is already full and he still has to reach the school.
The Constable and Obama are on the same position. Both haven’t achieved anything concrete. Could their award be the dead albatross around their neck or could it be just the fuel they needed; only time will tell. To conclude an Iraqi laborer in Bagdad has rightly observed,” He doesn’t deserve this prize. All these problems-Iraq, Afghanistan- have not been solved yet. There are still forces going from Iraq to Afghanistan. The man of ‘change’ hasn’t changed anything yet.”
© Tarun Mitra