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Law Rules

How we resolve our disputes

Entries in Friedman (2)


A Noble Decision

Much has been written and said about the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to President Obama last week.  Agree with it or not, the Nobel committee can do what it wants — it’s their money.  No one outside of Norway voted for them and they didn’t tax anyone to get the money, so take it for what it’s worth.  But a couple of recent newspaper columns advanced vastly different views of what the President should do with the award.  First, Thomas Friedman said Obama should accept the award “on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.”  He reasoned that “there is no peace without peacekeepers.”  Then, Bono, frontman for the band U2 and peripatetic peace advocate, weighed in and suggested that Obama should use the prize to dedicate himself and the country toward “solving the three greatest threats we face on this planet: extreme poverty, extreme ideology and extreme climate change.”  He reasoned that “an America that’s tired of being the world’s policeman, and is too pinched to be the world’s philanthropist, could still be the world’s partner. And you can’t do that without being, well, loved.” 

So on one hand we have “make peace or we’ll blow you to Kindgom Come,” and on the other we have “all you need is love — Kumbaya.”  I’m sure that somewhere between those poles lies the truth.  Whoever can figure out exactly where that is, and how to get there, really deserves the Nobel peace prize.


The Mother of All Mediations

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, recently opined that what Iraq needs, now that U.S. and coalition forces are finally scheduled to pull out, is a “big, tough mediator” to help its various religious and ethnic groups live together without blowing each other up. (See article.) It might actually take a platoon of big tough mediators, but it is nice to see such a vote of confidence for the Mediation profession from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist.  There are organizations devoted to providing mediators for governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations around the world. For example, see IMI.  Regardless of who provides the mediators, they certainly have their work cut out for them. But it seems to be a worthwhile endeavor.  The Mother of All Mediations sounds much more civilized than the Mother of All Battles.