The fact remains that the Nobel Committee has put a great additional burden on his shoulders. As if he did not have enough problems to deal with, he has to live up to the expectations of the prize, which no matter what one says about the selections over the years, it is one of the most important institutions in the Western world.

The important issue for the President now is how to harness the power of the award without succumbing to its potentially destructive expectations aspect.  Let us face it, once behind closed doors, a Nobel Prize does not add any negotiating power to its recipient.  What it does do is create a moment of aura at the very moment the award is conferred.  The speech he will deliver at Oslo is the magical moment when the prize will literally have its most influence.

Hence, in his speech he needs to outline two very specific initiatives. One which he has significant control over-such as a reduction in nuclear weapons and one of the important reasons he was awarded the prize-and one that is far more ambitious but which he intends to carry through.  My recommendation would be the Arab-Israeli peace process because so much depends on it.

The author is also a professor of international relations at Lehigh University.