When it comes to Barack Obama, there are two kinds of people. One still believes he walks on water, the other knows he's just a talented politician.

The five-man Nobel peace panel obviously belongs to the faith-based camp. Count them as slow learners.

Yet there's no sense cursing them, for they inadvertently have provided a valuable service: Their award signifies the high-water mark of Obama-mania. The prize is so preposterous, it can only hasten the awakening of others to his inflated stature.

Like an investor who buys into a bubble just before it bursts, the panel's declaration that Obama has done more for peace than anyone on the planet does not stand even half-serious scrutiny. The instant result is a simultaneous diminishing of both the prize and the man.

Arriving when half of America disapproves of Obama's performance as president and others are having buyer's remorse, the prize smacks of a desperate bid to prop him up. Because it comes from lefty foreigners who look with contempt on values most Americans cherish, the award serves to further distance Obama from his nation's political heartland.

The very things the Nobel folks applaud him for -- "a new climate of international politics" -- go to the heart of suspicions Obama is ashamed of his country and aims to unilaterally lower its guard.

Indeed, the committee cited Obama's push for nuclear disarmament. That's certainly a noble goal, but foolish and dangerous if only the good guys buy in.

Even French President Nicolas Sarkozy scolded Obama for being starry-eyed on the subject, telling him, "We live in a real world, not a virtual world, and the real world expects us to make decisions."

Sarkozy's barb came as Obama hesitates to confront Iran and North Korea over nuclear weapons, but it could also have applied to his second-guessing the Afghanistan strategy. Only months after declaring it a "war of necessity" and vowing to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, Obama finds the fight difficult and is reportedly redefining the mission to target only Al Qaeda.

Dreams of peace built on appeasement litter history's battlefields. As Ronald Reagan put it, "The search for peace must go on, but we have a better chance of finding it if we maintain our strength while we're searching."

Reagan said that at West Point shortly after taking office in 1981. He went on to win the Cold War and helped liberate hundreds of millions of people from the clutches of tyranny.

Now there's a man worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and FOX News contributor.

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.