Assistant Professor of Political Science Vikash Yadav was among area political experts included in a Finger Lakes Times piece about the local reaction to Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The article covered opinions ranging from “staggering accomplishment” to not being able “to understand why he received it.”
Yadav noted how not all of the President’s initiatives have been accomplished as of yet. He is quoted, “[Obama] hasn’t really achieved any complete goals yet, even though he has promised a lot. I think it seems – especially because President Obama doesn’t have a track record of accomplishments in this area – it almost seems like a pre-emptive movement or gesture rather than an accomplishment.”
Yadav’s work is in the field of international relations with specializations in international political economy, comparative political economy and political theory. Regionally, his work focuses on the economies of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from DePauw University, a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
The full article appears below.
Finger Lakes Times
Locals: Obama’s prize seems premature
David Taube • October 11, 2009
For some local political junkies, President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize signifies a look into the future rather than blast from the past.
“My first reaction was, it’s a staggering accomplishment and a testament to his intellect and desire for world peace,” said Carolyn Schaeffer, Yates County Democratic Committee chair. “And in thinking about it more, you have to be a strong leader to remove walls … to understand your neighbor.”
In announcing the prize, the award committee cited Obama’s international diplomacy, cooperation between peoples and nuclear arms disarmament efforts.
“For those reasons, I can understand why he received it,” said Kenneth Padgett, Seneca County Republican Committee chair. “But I don’t think that reasoning was the right reasoning. I think since he became president, he’s weakened the United States.”
For those who see reduced nuclear weapons stockpiles as weakness, the agreement the U.S. and Russia reached in April to cut the number of nuclear warheads in their arsenals may only heighten concerns, even if it did impress the Nobel Prize committee.
But such nonproliferation initiatives have yet to be realized, said Yikash Yadav, assistant professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
“I know he’s been active in non-proliferation efforts, but we’re still waiting for the end results,” he said.
As for the award itself, Yadav said it seemed premature and politicized, given other recent Democratic recipients: Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Al Gore in 2007.
“[Obama] hasn’t really achieved any complete goals yet, even though he has promised a lot,” Yadav said. “I think it seems – especially because President Obama doesn’t have a track record of accomplishments in this area – it almost seems like a pre-emptive movement or gesture rather than an accomplishment.”
Schaeffer, however, said Obama’s life experience counterbalances his short time as president.
“He’s not new to the world, and he’s not new to understanding the issues that the world is facing and the severity of them,” she said.
But Padgett said Obama’s presidency has consisted of talk, which has helped him and hurt the country.
Obama, Padgett said, has talked about ending the war, pulling out troops and closing Guantanamo Bay but hasn’t followed through.
“I don’t see a thing he’s done to help this country except apologize to other countries,” Padgett said.
A September Brookings Institution report said Obama has been a leader in international reform, principled diplomacy and new initiatives in peacekeeping but was rejected by Russia and Iran at the United Nations Security Council.
Yadav indicated some agreement.
“We’re still waiting to see fulfillment of promises on non-proliferation, and particularly related to the war in Afghanistan, to what he’s going to do,” he said.