A Comment on the 2009
Nobel Peace Prize

By giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama at this stage, less than one year into his Presidency, the Prize Committee has emphasized the importance of his redefining how American power will be used in the world: with manifest restraint and respect for world opinion. In his first nine months in office, without giving any foreign power a veto over America's use of military force, President Obama has reassured the world that the military superiority of the world's greatest superpower will used only with broad consultation and support from other nations throughout the world. This reassurance has greatly reduced international tensions, so that people can feel safer in America and throughout the world. The Peace Prize Committee may be anticipating that President Obama's acceptance speech could become a clear statement of a new doctrine: that America can retain its position as the world's dominant military power without serious challenges only if we exercise our dominance according to principles of restraint that the whole world can judge. If Americans embrace such a doctrine and demand that our future presidents should adhere to it, then there may be some real hope of global peace under American leadership for generations to come. In the long run, this accomplishment may be a far greater contribution to peace than mediating a resolution to one international dispute.

Roger Myerson
2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences