Shyamsunder Panchavati

Shyamsunder Panchavati
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Obama Nobel Acceptance Speech



President Obama's message in Oslo should be what the United States ought to expect of itself -- and of others.

Obama's toughest foreign-policy challenges in 2010 lie at home. He has to sell and sustain a renewed commitment to the war in Afghanistan, bring Congress to meaningful action on climate change and usher critical arms control and nuclear test ban treaties through the Senate. So, while a Nobel Peace Prize seems the occasion to address an international audience, he must use this opportunity to make the case to his domestic constituency on what the United States must do to confront the three great present challenges to world peace: nuclear proliferation, climate change and the allure of radical Islam.

To be convincing at home, he must also be plain about the limits on what the world should expect from us. U.S. leadership is plainly necessary, but these are global struggles. The United States must act to restrain carbon emissions, and so must India. Washington has to rebalance its policies to help forge an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Arab leaders bear an equal responsibility to adjust theirs. The U.S. commitment to put out the fires that threaten the world in Pakistan and Afghanistan can succeed only with the help of NATO partners and a willingness by China to shoulder an equal burden there. U.S. efforts to avoid a nuclear Iran must be matched by Russia's if they are to work.

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