Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama, who took office just weeks before the Peace Prize Committee met to actually decide this prestigious prize, won the award and stunned the crowd who gathered in Oslo to hear the announcement.
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. The plaudit appeared to be a slap at President George W. Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for resorting to largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

NBC News reported that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Obama with the news just before 6 a.m. Aides said the president felt "humbled" by the committee's decision.
For what actual accomplishment did Obama win for? Did he attempt to bring peace to a longstanding conflict? Did he sign an international accord or agreement?

No, the Committee states:
"...for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"


He did nothing other than issue a few utterances that he would do things differently than his predecessor, President George W. Bush. That was apparently more than enough to win the award. It wasn't so much Obama winning the award as yet another rebuke of President Bush, who still manages to get under the skin of the elites in Europe.

Palestinian terrorist Yasir Arafat won a Nobel Peace Prize for signing the Oslo Accords, which was at the time seen as a huge step forward in Arab-Israeli relations.

As for a new climate, it's interesting that the Committee claims that Obama created a new climate for international relations, when he sucks up to dictators and despots and forsakes US allies. His pursuit of talking to Iran will result in Iran having still more time to pursue its nuclear weapons goals, one that will likely result in the first use of nuclear weapons since the end of World War II.

Meanwhile, there were far more deserving candidates that were overlooked, including Tsvingerai of Zimbabwe, who should have won the election against thug Robert Mugabe, but eschewed violence to take a position within the government and seek reconciliation. Throw in various aid groups that were providing aid to Afghan refugees.

How exactly was Obama nominated? Well, the process allows media elites, academics, and others to nominate candidates and the Committee votes on the results:
1. Members of national assemblies and governments of states;
2. Members of international courts;
3. University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;
4. Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
5. Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
6. Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1) and
7. Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
Those nominations begin in September of the year before. In other words, the nominations began September 2008, before Obama was elected President in November 2008, and months before he was sworn in.

Clearly, this was a hugely political decision, and one based on no merits whatsoever.

There are calls for Obama to turn the award down. That might be a wise decision, because this is a mockery of an award that has long been mocked, particularly when you've got more worthy candidates and prior winners who actually accomplished something - whether it was a lifetime of work or signing a peace treaty or ending a conflict or providing assistance to refugees or other humanitarian work.

Obama has done none of that.

On further reflection, this isn't just a mockery, it's a travesty to all those who actually furthered the goals of peace. It further diminishes this award and shows just how politicized the award has been. Instead of awarding the prize to those who are truly worthy of receiving it, Obama receives the award primarily because he isn't President Bush. In other words, Bush Derangement Syndrome is still alive and well among the elites.

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