Monday, October 18, 2010

Nobel Peace Prize

It seems to me that the best thing the Nobel Peace Prize can do is to promote peace. That sounds simplistic, I’m sure, but the recent award to Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident, fills that criteria. By shining a light on the imprisonment of this fifty-four year old dissident who has made it his life’s work to promote personal freedoms in China, the Nobel committee has drawn much needed attention to his plight. In a statement that reeks of walking-on-eggs diplomacy, President Obama called for more personal freedom in China where reforms have not kept pace with its economic growth. China, for its part, has implored the world to look at them as the leaders who have lifted millions from poverty – the absence of personal freedoms a trifling by-product. Time will tell if the prize helps or hurts Xiaobo’s personal plight. It is unlikely that he even knows he won the prize, and his wife has been made “unavailable for comment”. But, I think the Nobel committee was right on with this one.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Aiming for the Center

I applaud New York’s Mayor Bloomberg for the announcement of his intention to help bolster the political center. With the angry and divisive tea party and Sarah Palin garnering so much media attention, it is refreshing to see someone of Bloomberg’s stature trying to be a voice of sanity and moderation. The mayor’s announcement coincides with former President Bill Clinton’s statement that “the Republican party is far enough right to make George W Bush appear liberal.” It is a time of perilously antagonistic politics. I like that Bloomberg is openly supporting both Republicans and Democrats. That type of position can only get the focus back on the issues and not just the ideology. I would really like to think that Bloomberg’s motivation is purely altruistic, and not, as his detractors say, merely a ploy to position himself for a run at the presidency in the next election. But for the time being, at least, he has my support.

By Sam DelPresto