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December 11th, 2009
11:26 AM ET

A Nobel for a post-American president

Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee Thorbjorn Jagland holds a picture of President Obama.

Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee Thorbjorn Jagland holds a picture of President Obama.

Rich Benjamin
Special to CNN

This year's Nobel Peace Prize delivered a challenge that must be particularly familiar and vexing to our loquacious president: to not just give a good speech, but to produce results.

By awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel committee is championing a "post-American" outlook that the president personifies. Its gamble stakes the prize's prestige on the hopes that its ennobled recipient will then achieve real diplomatic gains.

The committee insists that the medal acknowledges the president's achievements. But if you read between the lines, it is really applauding a sensibility: American cosmopolitanism.

With his knockabout childhood and knowledge of Indonesian, language to the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, Obama is this nation's first post-American president.

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