President Obama's acceptance Thursday of the Nobel Peace Prize, an award which likely shocked him as much as it did many observers when it was announced, was eloquent as usual but appropriately restrained and analytical. While the prize can be seen as a political statement from the Nobel selection committee, a reward for what Obama might yet do to calm the roiling seas around the world, the president made some good points about what it sometimes takes to achieve a lasting peace.
He noted that compared to other past Nobel Peace Prize recipients, "my accomplishments are slight," and that he was "commander in chief of a nation in the midst of two wars."
But Obama was forceful in making it clear, on a world stage, that some wars seem sadly inevitable. "To say that force is sometimes necessary," he said, "is not a call to cynicism, it is a recognition of history."
In these times, it also is a recognition of the maddening wars fought against terrorist enemies. These are not always easily categorized, and our foes do not represent unified forces of nation states intending a battlefield victory against America and its allies, as in the World Wars.