By Randolph D. Brandt
The president of the United States wins a Nobel Peace Prize, and the opposing party mocks him.
The whole world is embracing the kind of openness this president is proposing, a chance to settle conflicts rather than simply jumping in unilaterally to kill and alienate more people.
The Peace Prize has been awarded to American presidents only on several rare occasions.
Once, to President Theodore Roosevelt – ironically, perhaps our most warlike president – for trying to settle the Russo-Japanese War.
Again, to President Woodrow Wilson, whose map for world peace also was scuttled by the opposing party in Congress; thus, instead of peace, we wound up with yet another global war, World War II, the worst one ever.
Again, to former president Jimmy Carter, in a better-late-than-never endorsement of a hope for a more peaceful Middle East.
And now, to President Barack Obama, who’s at least willing to talk to Turks, Armenians, Cubans, Russians, Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and others, and to take the hugely symbolic step of delivering a speech in Arabic.
The rest of the world cries out for the traditional leadership offered by the United States of America. They know that at our best, we stand for a more rational, more peaceful and democratic world. This is a reason, for all of us, to be proud.
So let’s be at our best, rather than at our worst, and refrain from mocking a potential presidential peacemaker, solely for the sake of domestic politics.
When we do otherwise, we appear to the rest of the world as ignorant bullies, just like the old bunch of would-be world dominators who chose to kill millions rather than seek peace and justice.
There is a common thread here. Foreign policy used to stop at the water’s edge. Nixon could go to China. Reagan could dissemble the Soviets.
We now owe that same kind of bipartisan backing to President Barack Obama.
(Randolph Brandt is a retired newspaper editor in Racine, Wis.)