How world views Obama Nobel Peace Prize
President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is praised in many countries as a reflection of a "new hope" in world politics, but others worry it came too soon. A global roundup of views.
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Mixed views in the Middle EastSkip to next paragraph
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In the Middle East, some worried that the award would pressure Obama to act in ways that were not in their interests.
Pinchas Wallerstein, a veteran leader of the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, said that most Israeli Jews feel threatened by Obama.
"Unfortunately, the Nobel Prize doesn't prove anything. [Yasser] Arafat and [Yitzhak] Rabin received the Nobel Prize,'' he said. "Unfortunately, that has no significance that's relevant to peace. It has a public relations significance."
And among Palestinians, there was the sense that little had changed in their daily lives since Obama took office.
"The prize is good for him personally, but for us, we don't see an improvements," says Nashat Aqtash, a professor at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, the West Bank. "The Palestinian Authority is getting weaker. Gaza is under siege, so what kind of peace are we talking about here?"
Syrians, however, were more positive, praising Obama for reaching out to Arabs, and Syria in particular. "Everyone here appreciates that he is trying to do something concerning the peace process between Arabs and the Israelis," says Marwan Kabalan, a political analyst.
Global poll: Obama highly popular
Former Bush administration official Philip Zelikow, at an American Academy talk in Berlin Thursday evening before the prize was announced, argued that while Obama has made significant moves internationally, "It is still all speeches…. We won't know until next year whether they [the speeches] mean anything."
Just last week, Obama's standing in the world was reinforced by a survey that indicated the US president has rapidly changed the global perception of the United States from something of a bully to a country willing to consult. (Read about the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index survey).
That assessment was palpable in Russia, where Obama's influence is credited with shifting relations away from what some called a "second cold war" with the previous administration. The choice was understandable, according to some experts.
"It seems logical," says Pavel Zoltaryov, deputy director of the official Institute of US-Canada Studies in Moscow. "It reflects the world's support for his promises to move in a new direction, and hope that he will have the strength to see it through."