Obama's Dream Prize

Obama's Dream Prize

Obama's Dream Prize

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 12 2009 4:54 PM

Obama's Dream Prize

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The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Obama’s speech at the United Nations describing his dream of a nuclear-free world helped clinch his Nobel Peace prize. Many have observed that while Obama’s words and sentiments are noble, the accomplishments that go along with earning a Nobel are lacking. However, I find his dream itself disturbing. The Journal earlier reported that Obama’s U.N. speech infuriated French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who wanted Obama to use the forum of the U.N. to expose the fact that the West knew of another Iranian uranium-enrichment facility. Obama refused, saving the news for the ecomonic summit in Pittsburgh because he didn’t want to have to rewrite his world-without-nukes speech. Why would the president of the United States gas on about fantasies that are being proven ridiculous and even potentially dangerous?

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Nuclear nonproliferation is a necessary and admirable goal. However, since we cannot unlearn our nuclear knowledge, I want the United States, France, and yes, Israel, to have these deterrent and defensive weapons, rather than leave their possession to rogue and genocidally-inclined states such as Iran and North Korea. (Yes, I know, we wouldn't get rid of our nukes until we know all the bad guys have gotten rid of theirs. In other words, it's not going to happen, so why make this a goal?) I hope at his Nobel acceptance speech, Obama takes the opportunity to talk about what Sarkozy, in his U.N. rejoinder to Obama’s dream, described as the job of a politician, "[T]he present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises [ Iran and North Korea]. We live in the real world, not in a virtual one."

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.