Debate rages in the international press over whether it was a good idea to give Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday. The editorials in the New York Times and its international edition the International Herald Tribune point to one important achievement that the US President has made already: countering the massive amount of ill-will against the United States that the Bush presidency had caused. But it goes on to list the tough tasks that await Obama, and notes that winning the Nobel might not actually help him. One task is the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and the New York Times has more bad news from there: civilian institutions in the country are reportedly "crumbling" rather than regenerating with US help.
Meanwhile the Norwegian papers are asking a lot of questions about the wisdom of giving Obama the Prize (it's the Norwegian nobel committee that issues the Nobel Peace Prize). Dagbladet found a great deal of skepticism among the general public, but carries the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee's steadfast defence of the decision: Thorbjorn Jagland says no-one incarnates Alfred Nobel's velues better than Obama. But in Aftenposten, Frederick Heffermell disagrees. This peace advocate and author of a book about Alfred Nobel says that Obama is not a man of peace since he is at the head of a massive, nuclear powered military machine that he has no intention of dismantling.
Also making headlines this Monday is the agreement to normalise relations between Turkey and Armenia. Today's Zaman says the deal nearly didn't happen and was only saved by a last-minute agreement that neither signatory would make a speech. Russia's Izvestia, meanwhile, wonders whether this really does mean an end to the Armenia and Turkey's "hundred-year-cold-war".