Papers sum up Obama’s speech.
Obama has now left both the building and the country. First reactions to his Nobel acceptance speech suggest that those who were sceptical before he spoke will have to start looking for a new hound dog.
“It was a key speech where he rejects that the choice between ideals and reality is absolute. He was very clear that to attain ideal goals, one must have a realistic relationship to the world,” Norway’s Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre tells VG.
Both Gro Harlem Brundtland and ex Conservative (H) Prime Minister Kåre Willoch tell the paper they thought the speech was tip-top, whilst Jan Egeland – director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) – thinks it was the greatest Nobel speech ever.
“What Obama says is: Listen, I’m leader of the world’s biggest superpower, I want to lead through cooperation, and I distance myself from leading alone,” Egeland tells Dagbladet.
Kjetil Wiedswang in Dagens Næringsliv concludes that Obama managed to speak about his incongruous position as an advocate for both peace and war well; despite having been accused for talking more about peace, rather than what he’s delivered so far and what he hasn’t managed to achieve.
“When you’ve just been given the world’s most prestigious Peace Prize a week after ordering 30,000 troops into battle, you’ve got two options: You can try to dance around the table or you can take the paradox by the throat. During yesterday’s Nobel lecture, Obama managed a bit of the first, but also a great deal of the other,” he writes in his commentary.
“He is someone who can praise the American war-machine, whilst at the same time talk about peace in a way that falls favourably on European ears,” writes VG’s Hanne Skartveit.
And this is something that Tom Hetland, Aftenbladet’s editor-in-chief, also chose to focus on, believing Obama’s effectiveness as a speaker removed any doubt as to his worthiness as a prize-winner.
“(He) had the audience spellbound. It’s a speech without pompous moralistic pathos, but also without a practical politician’s cynicism. It’s a speech that appeals as much to the brain as to the heart...It’s a speech that assures us that the U.S. is once again in safe and responsible hands, even though Obama will also disappoint us now and then, (and) despite that we know that even an American President isn’t almighty.”
Dagbladet’s Marie Simonsen puts it in a slightly different way.
“Or as his fellow townsman Al Capone said: You get further with a smile and a pistol than with just a smile.”