With less than 200 days into his presidency, President Barack Obama's role has already seen many triumphant landmark events since his inauguration as America's first Black president. However, each of those milestones face much criticism, and often times controversy. From his influence in having Chicago as the last U.S. city consider for the 2016 Olympics to the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor as America's first Supreme Court Judge, each successful move has been largely scrutinized.
Count his two most achievements below as acts that have garnered much criticism. While there are only a few who are hesitant to his recent appointment of an openly gay ambassador due to his slowness in reaching to the gay and lesbian community, it is his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize that has sparked worldwide opposition who has seen Obama as a new leader who has yet to prove his worth. Read the two story excerpts below to catch Obama's recent milestones.
President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.
Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee countered that it was trying "to promote what he stands for and the positive processes that have started now." It lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.
The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts but Obama's efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners'. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.
"He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us."
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he planned to nominate an openly gay lawyer as the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. If confirmed by the Senate, David Huebner would become the third openly gay ambassador in U.S. history and the first pick by this administration. In a statement released from the White House, Obama said he looked forward to working with Huebner and is confident he will represent the United States well in the Pacific region.
Huebner is based in Shanghai, where he handles international arbitration and mediation cases for a U.S. firm. A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, he is also the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s general counsel and previously served on the group’s board.
He also has chaired the California Law Revision Commission, served as president of the Los Angeles Quality and Productivity Commission and taught at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.
Obama’s announcement is a gesture just days before he speaks to a gay rights fundraising dinner on Saturday and gay activists march on Washington on Sunday.