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Barack Obama Peacetime Address Highlights: 9 Quotes From Speech

By    |   Friday, 05 June 2015 12:41 PM

In a move that surprised many, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, as he neared the end of his first year in office.

While Obama has presided as Commander-in-Chief, the United States has been engaged in two separate wars, leaving little to no peacetime throughout the duration of either of his terms.

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However, his thoughts on peace and war were at the forefront of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and left the world with a lot to consider in regards to democracy and goodwill. Here are nine quotes from that speech.

1. “I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations — that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.”

2. “But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by forty three other countries — including Norway — in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks.”

3. “Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.”

4. “I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.”

5. “I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago — ‘Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.’ As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life's work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak -nothing passive — nothing naïve — in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.”

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6. “The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another — that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier's courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.”

7. “For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.”

8. “I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. We also know that the opposite is true. Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace. America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America's interests - nor the world's — are served by the denial of human aspirations.”

9. “Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that - for that is the story of human progress; that is the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth.”

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In a move that surprised many, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, as he neared the end of his first year in office.
barack obama, peacetime, address, quotes
Friday, 05 June 2015 12:41 PM
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