In the October announcement of its decision to bestow the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on U.S. President Barack Obama, the Norwegian Nobel Committee attached special importance to his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” The committee also praised the U.S. president by stating: “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

But the prevailing political circumstances seem to have forced Mr. Obama to put more stress on realism in international politics than on ideals and hope. In his acceptance speech, entitled “A Just and Lasting Peace,” given in Oslo Dec. 10, he acknowleged that occasions arise when use of military force becomes necessary to realize peace.

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