The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, 951-217-7285,

Peace Action Challenges Obama to Live Up to Nobel Prize


Peace Action, the nation's largest grassroots peace group, has challenged President Barack Obama to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize and demonstrate that he can be a force for world peace in response to his acceptance speech.

"President Obama has a tremendous opportunity to advance world peace, but he has yet to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize," stated Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action's policy and political director. "Although Peace Action applauds him for stating a vision of a world without nuclear weapons and increasing diplomacy with Iran, we believe he has missed opportunities to advance non-military solutions to conflict by dramatically increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and continuing the growth of the military budget. We challenge him to live up to the honor of being a Nobel laureate."

Alfred Nobel established the annual peace prize that bears his name to honor "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." While President Obama can be credited with promoting discourse and negotiation, he has fallen short with regard to reducing military action. In particular, his recent decision to further escalate the conflict in Afghanistan by ordering some 30,000 additional American troops to the impoverished, war-torn nation, his increase of Predator drone strikes that kill civilians, and his continued reliance of heavy military spending, rather than focusing on diplomacy and aid, signals an ominous step back from the intentions of the Nobel prize.

"The United States accounts for approximately 45% of world military expenditures. We maintain more than 800 foreign military bases, and our top industrial export is weaponry. Although President Obama says he seeks a world free of nuclear weapons, the United States still has a nuclear arsenal of more than 10,000 warheads. Quoting Martin Luther King and Gandhi is laudable, but clearly they would not be escalating in Afghanistan nor funding the military versus diplomacy, humanitarian and development at a 12 to 1 ratio. Rhetoric goes only so far. Now is time for the president to heed his own call to action," concluded Martin.

Peace Action is the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.