Much to the shock and surprise of the free world, Nobel officials in Oslo, Norway announced the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Price early this morning for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”The winner, of course, was United States president Barack Obama. The committee cited his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama’s name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.Speculation had focused on Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator and a Chinese dissident, along with an Afghan woman’s rights activist.The Nobel committee praised Obama’s creation of “a new climate in international politics” and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage. It is clear that this announcement was not racially motivated and had little to do with American politics, as usual, since Norway and the Nobel committee have awarded only 20 peace prizes to Americans since it began the recognition in 1901.Was this award given too soon to be considered a valid recognition? Is Obama deserving of such an award since many of his policies and ideas are still unproven? Is the Nobel Peace Prize even still a relevant achievement? GO!