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How the Peace Prize Could Affect Obama’s Presidency

Judy Woodruff gets reactions from policy experts on President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize and discusses what the award means for his presidency.

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    And for reaction to today's news, we turn to two longtime foreign policy makers and watchers.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski served as national security adviser to President Carter and is now a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And Walter Russell Mead is the Henry Kissinger senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of several books on U.S. diplomacy.

    Thank you both for being with us.

    Dr. Brzezinski, I'm going to start with you.

    What was your reaction?


    Well, I feel he definitely deserved it, but he also has to earn it.


    Definitely deserved it. Why?


    But also has to earn it.

    He deserves it because, in the course of less than a year, he really has refined America's relationship with the world. He has grandly improved America's image in the world. He has committed America to a series of policies designed to resolve conflicts and to deal in a non-unilateral fashion with key issues. And he has committed America to grand goals in the area of nuclear weaponry, global problems and so forth.

    You know, if you consider that this has taken place in the course of just several months, that's a tremendous accomplishment for the most powerful state in the world, to have its total posture changed, redefined, improved, more idealistic.


    Walter Russell Mead, what was your reaction?


    Well, I was I was thrilled.

    It's — it's a wonderful tribute to President Obama. And I think, also, it — it says something about the standing of the United States in the world, not simply, as Dr. Brzezinski says, that people have seen a change in our posture.

    But I think it's also true that — that it — that, in spite of what a lot of people have said, that the U.S. is in decline, that our influence is gone, it suggests that a president of the United States still has a unique role in setting the global agenda and the global tone.

    Now, you know, President Obama did win this, as some people have pointed out, on a day when he's fighting two wars, one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq. And — and, actually, the U.S. today just bombed the moon in order to look for water on the surface of the moon.

    So, it is, I think, a testimony to the hope that people have about where things may be going. And I'm sure that the committee thought that this was a way of putting some wind into Obama's sails. I hope it — I hope it works.

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