An unexpected Nobel Peace Prize placed Barack Obama in a difficult position. He was, after all, commander-in-chief of a military currently engaged in two wars, one of which many felt was unjustified. The doubled rhetoric through which Obama managed this situation forecast the strategy he deploys in his Nobel Lecture itself: he invites his audience to attend to war and peace neither as wicked nor ideal but as realistic y interdependenty and indeed comparable modes of human interaction. The result is that war and peace are held in a delicate balance through the force of a somewhat vaguely articulated moral compass.

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