The generous view of President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is that it honored his stated intentions to promote international peace and was meant to spur him to significant achievement. His actions leading up to next May’s UN Review Conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), will test the validity of this view and the wisdom of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Two of Obama’s promissory notes mentioned in the committee’s award citation were his call for a world free of nuclear weapons and his promotion of “multilateral diplomacy . . . with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.” He can redeem these notes if, by next May, he has taken actions demonstrating his realization that averting nuclear disaster can only be achieved by international, not national or even bi-lateral actions.