President Obama's Nobel Speech

Thursday, December 10, 2009
The following are some noteworthy excerpts from U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks at today's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway:

"I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.  For make no mistake:  Evil does exist in the world.  A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies.  Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms.  To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."
 
"Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this:  The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.  The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans.  We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will.  We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity."
 
"[I]in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior -- for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something.  Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable.  Sanctions must exact a real price.  Intransigence must be met with increased pressure -- and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one."
  
"When there is genocide in Darfur, systematic rape in Congo, repression in Burma -- there must be consequences.  Yes, there will be engagement; yes, there will be diplomacy -- but there must be consequences when those things fail.  And the closer we stand together, the less likely we will be faced with the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression."
 
"I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear.  Pent-up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence.  We also know that the opposite is true.  Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace.  America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens.  No matter how callously defined, neither America's interests -- nor the world's -- are served by the denial of human aspirations."
 
"So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal.  We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran.  It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.  And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear that these movements -- these movements of hope and history -- they have us on their side."