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Left and right, pundits applaud Obama Nobel Peace Prize speech

Liberal and conservative pundits both approve of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech. They like his humility and his realism.

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'An intellectually rigorous and morally lucid speech'

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Joe Klein, a left-of-center columnist for Time magazine, writing from Oslo, was less grudging in his praise. He commended Obama for delivering “an intellectually rigorous and morally lucid speech that balanced the rationale for going to war against the need to build a more peaceful and equitable world.”

On the heels of Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional US forces into Afghanistan -- an irony the president himself acknowledged up front -- it may not be all that surprising that some conservatives were happy with Obama’s speech.

Cal Thomas, writing on, applauded Obama for this line: “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.”

Mr. Thomas called Obama “gracious” in mentioning other presidents -- including Republicans like Ronald Reagan -- who helped end past conflicts.

Dealing with 'hard truths'

“But there will always be new conflicts because of the nature of Man,” Thomas wrote. “It is in properly diagnosing that nature that helps us deal with ‘hard truths’ and preserve our freedoms as others seek to take them away and oppress their own people.”

Other commentators advanced a point many have made since Obama’s speech on Afghanistan last week: that the president can at times sound an awful lot like his predecessor.

“Barack Obama’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize was a carefully reasoned defense of a foreign policy that differs very little from George Bush’s,” says Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writing at

“He is winding down one war, escalating a second, and stepping up the pressure on Iran. He is asserting America’s sovereign right to unilateral action in self defense while expressing the hope that this right will not need to be exercised,” Mr. Mead wrote. “If Bush had said these things the world would be filled with violent denunciations. When Obama says them, people purr. That is fine by me.”

See also:

Obama Nobel Prize speech: There are times when force is necessary

Obama Nobel Peace Prize: What Arabs think

At Nobel prize ceremony, Michelle Obama keeps her husband in line


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