Like most Americans I thought the Nobel Committee had lost its mind when they selected President Obama. Don't misunderstand me, I am an Obama fan but he is in his first year in office and by my liberal ideology he has also carried on with some of the Bush policies. However,
as I listened to his speech in Oslo today I know why the Nobel Committee made its choice to give President Obama the Peace Price.
He was nuanced and complex in his thought and he addressed the central conflicts that many thoughtful people have about good and evil, war and peace. From the initial audience reception of clapping for him which went on from way beyond just simply politeness to the applause that spontaneously occurred when President Obama said "Must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight...We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideas that we fight to defend."
President Obama did not leave an elephant in the living room. He addressed the issue of winning the Peace Prize and sending soldiers into war.
While speaking with real reverence about Ghandi and Martin Luther King as "the North Star that guides us on our journey," the president spoke to those of us who prefer non-violence by referring to World War II: "A non-violent movement could not have halted Hilter's wars...To say
that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of men and the limits of reason."
He also did not shy away from the climate change debate as he discussed the effects of it and its impact on "drought, famine and mass deplacement."
His speech showed an innate understanding of what causes many conflicts and wars as he addressed human rights and basic needs such as food, clean water and medicine that
people need to survive.
At times he seemed to be speaking to the audience at home rather than those in front of him or listening in other parts of the world as he invoked Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He was clear about the role of religion in conflicts as he talked both about the "cruelties of the Crusades" and "those who have distorted and defiled the religion of Islam." Like the realities of war and the world his speech reflected the internal conflicts that most of us feel between good and evil and the temptations that all of us have as individuals and as a greater community or country.
Watching the Obama speech it was clear that the Nobel Committee saw something about Barack Obama that many of us have passed over in the constant day-to-day questions we have about Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. He is a man of thoughtful vision who understands the complexities of human nature as well as war, peace and good and evil. The speech will go down as one of the greatest made on these difficult issues and it will endure past his term in office.
The Nobel Committee made the right choice.
Ellen Ratner joined Fox News Channel as a contributor in October 1997. Currently, Ratner serves as chief political correspondent and news analyst for "Talk Radio News Service" where she analyzes events, reports breaking news, and provides lively interviews with newsmakers in government and entertainment. She is founder of "Goats for the Old Goat." Over the last three years, donations have been made to acquire goats for liberated slaves who were returning to South Sudan. More than 7,000 goats have been donated to the people of South Sudan to provide sustainable sustenance for their families and a means to begin their lives again.