Wherein I ask the question everyone else is asking

Does Barack Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

Almost certainly, no. If I understand the criteria correctly, this award is usually given to someone who actually achieves something, rather than indicates that they plan to achieve something, no matter how laudable the stated goals. I like Barack Obama. But I've got to think there are any number of folks out there who have actual physical accomplishments under their belts who are worthy of a Nobel nod.

So, we are left to wonder: why did the committee give the prize to Obama? A publicity stunt? Genuine admiration? A well-intentioned but misguided attempt to help Obama with his domestic critics? The result of a THC-fueled late-night meeting?

"Dudes...we should...uh, totally give the Nobel to Obama. It will BLOW PEOPLE'S MINDS."

I've puzzled over this question all morning. And I think I now know why the committee chose the way they did. Giving the Nobel to Obama is like the world breathing a big, long sigh of relief. After eight years of Bush & Co's truly frightening foreign policy, Obama has returned the USA to the international, multi-lateral fold. And because America is immensely strong and influential, this is a good thing for the global system of which the Peace Prize is a part. It's almost like the world is saying, "Thank God you're not a crazy, destabilizing force anymore. Have a medal."

I can certainly understand the sentiment, but a Nobel Prize it does not make. Rather than laying laurels at Obama's feet, I would think the international community could help the President

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more by muscling up to the Afghanistan problem and taking his calls for nuclear disarmament seriously. I think Obama has some great ideas. But a medal - awarded for making promises - does little to help Obama make those promises real.