Power sharing is worth a shot

Regarding the Nov. 29 article by Ralph A. Cossa and David Santoro, titled “Good time to show he deserves the Nobel Prize“: I agree that during his second term U.S. President Barack Obama should try to truly earn his Nobel Peace Prize.

But instead of focusing on just one dimension — the nuclear dilemma — he should work toward a more fundamental change in the global power system. With the inexorable rise of China — to be followed eventually by India and a resurgent Russia, and perhaps others — change in the international system is coming anyway.

Obama and America should gracefully make way for their legitimate aspirations, interests and values and truly share power — not just in Asia but globally. If the United States accepts and enables this power sharing, the rising nations won’t have to fight for it, with all the chaos and conflict that may entail.

In short, Obama should try to conquer the ancient Thucydides conundrum, which holds that a dominant power and a rising nation will inevitably clash — like Athens and Sparta.

If handled well, this power sharing would increase the stability of the global system, establish the confidence and trust necessary for negotiating the reduction of nuclear arsenals, and set an example for generations of nations to come.

To bequeath for even one generation a stable, peaceful, equitable system to the leaders who follow would truly be worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Indeed it would set a new standard and an optimistic precedent for the human race.

In doing so, or even trying to do so, Obama may yet prove his election, and re-election, were a harbinger of hope.

mark j. valencia
kaneohe, hawaii

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.