What a shocker! If I were a guessing woman I would have thought that the Nobel would have gone to President Clinton.
After attending the Clinton Global Initiative in New York this year and witnessing how the former president has brought together so many people who are working to change the world, I felt sure as I left there that he would be the next American to get the prize.
The Nobel Committee often uses the prize to promote world peace as well as reward it. The Committee certainly did that when they awarded the prize to Chairman Arafat and Shimon Peres of Israel. The peace process was far from complete but their efforts were recognized in the hope that it would spur a lasting peace.
So it is with President Obama. He is just beginning his presidency and although he has moved in the direction of talking to pretty much everyone on the world stage he does not yet have a feather in his cap to show for his vision and dreams.
This morning's announcement is even more shocking on the eve of the president's important decision about whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan. In fact, he is scheduled to meet with his war council later today! -- Perhaps the Nobel committee wanted to nudge him in the direction of adding more schools and hospitals to the region rather than more troops.
The Nobel Committee might also have wanted to encourage his work on climate change and the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Ambassador Tibor Torth, who is heading up the preparatory commission on the test ban treaty, said that President Obama's work to" bring the treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited" should be congratulated. The President has fought against the right wing of his own party, as well as many Republicans, because of his willingness to meet with some of the "bad guys." But I'm on the president's side on this one. As Nobel winner Peres said to me, "you must be willing to negotiate with your enemies."
President Obama has taken considerable political heat for his stance on opening up dialogue. Although I have problems with him not meeting with the Dalai Lama when he was in Washington this week, he might have a grand plan. It is that "grand plan" that the Nobel Committee must have decided to recognize and encourage. I hope this Nobel Peace Prize spurs the president on to greatness and peace.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a FOX News contributor.