I imagine I was just as surprised as anyone to wake up to this news. I do admire many of Obama's goals, even if it is yet to be seen if any of them work in practice or not. I admire the idea of universal health care, although I'm nervous about putting it into practice. I admire a more diplomatic approach to foreign affairs, although I hope it doesn't compromise our security. I don't like nuclear bombs, but I'm not sure it's a good idea for us to get rid of all ours quite yet. I admire the greater emphasis on a cleaner environment, even if I'm not qualified to comment on the science.
But Obama's not really done anything yet, and it remains to be seen if he will accomplish any of his goals. Afghanistan may very well fall apart. All versions of a health care bill may fail. Israel has rejected any peace settlement in the near future. It seems inevitable that Iran and North Korea are going to be having nuclear bombs for the foreseeable future. We are massively in debt to China and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon.
So what do I make of all this? More than anything else, I think it is an affirmation of Obama's trajectory over that of the Bush administration. If there had been no Bush, Obama would not be getting this prize. It is an indication of how drastically the very election of Obama has, whether rightly or wrongly, improved the world's perception of the United States as their friend rather than as something to be scared of.
Not sure that this prize will have much of an impact on anything. Maybe it will. In the short, run, it will certainly cause a spike in those chain emails I get claiming Obama is the antichrist. ;-)