We asked The New Ledger’s contributors to share their thoughts on President Obama’s big Nobel Prize victory.
You know, in a very real sense, the Committee missed out on some real worthies. Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have done more to bring an awareness of the danger of nuclear arms to the world than anyone since Truman. Hugo Chavez has worked diligently to bring Latin America into a single, unified, stable political order and helped focus the international spotlight on the danger of a country half a world away with a population roughly a quarter of Venezuela’s. The Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan have helped the world understand the oppressive and divisive nature of the post-Westphalian state, and the calamitous conditions the imposition of national boundaries can produce. Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have between them done more to help liberate an oppressed people in the last year and change than anyone else outside of America, which obviously doesn’t count, because Americans only liberate people for oil.
OK, Europe, we get it already: you love Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. But what has Barack Obama has done to justify the award of a Nobel Peace Prize? As Pejman points out, the deadline for nominations was February 1st, when President Obama had not yet spent two full weeks in office.
I hope President Obama is sensible enough to be embarrassed by this. I see no reason to believe — and hope that I never will — that President Obama campaigned for this. As such, the award says nothing about Obama himself, something perhaps about a segment of his supporters who will be moved by this, and volumes about the shallowness and vacuity of post-war, post-modern Europe, or at least of the class of intellectuals that represents it. And it raises so many more questions:
How can Europe’s intellectual class be simultaneously this stupid and this condescending in its apparent belief that this will be effective in manipulating our political system?
Is this redeemable for 20,000 properly equipped troops for Afghanistan?
Does the Nobel Committee believe that this award will create a sense of obligation on the part of our president? And if so, to what end?
Granted, the Olympics are often a mixed blessing anyway, but was this meant as some sort of consolation prize?
Is the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize still to promote peace, or is it all about guilty European liberals asking a God in whom they do not believe to expunge the original sin of their grandfathers for flocking to the Milice, the Falange, the Blackshirts, the Ustashe, and the Waffen SS?
What consideration was given to Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, Meir Hossein Mousavi, Rebiya Kadeer, or Kang Chol Hwan, all of whom have actually risked or sacrificed so that others could live freely and in peace? Why did the Nobel Committee miss the chance to award the prize to the people of Tehran, or to Neda as their surrogate, thereby missing such an extraordinary opportunity to promote peace and rebuke fascism?
Now we see the genetic and intellectual price Europe has paid for generations of extinguishing original thought, for gassing everyone with an I.Q. above room temperature and sending everyone with a full scrotum to get killed at Stalingrad. Is America finally ready to outgrow its obsession for the approval of a continent that has produced so little that’s worthy of our admiration since Fritz Lang and Marlene Dietrich fled Berlin for Hollywood, and since Bertold Brecht fled east toward Stalinist Moscow?
Well, the quotas have won, and the Nobel committee was happy to award this years Peace Prize to President Obama. While I admit its cool that the US has a black president, what has the guy done? It’s like some kind of affirmative action quota imposed on an award that used to represent true accomplishment.
They were even shocked and embarrassed in Norway when it was announced:
The decision to bestow one of the world’s top accolades on a president less than nine months into his first term, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, was greeted with gasps of astonishment from journalists at the announcement in Oslo.
Meanwhile the Times of London, no right wing bastion, recognizes what a farce the whole thing has become.
If I were President Obama, I would be embarrassed by this move. While it should be a great honor to be awarded the prize, it should come closer to the end or even after his shift as American president, with accomplishments to point to. By bestowing it upon him before he has done anything of note, it demeans him by appearing to have lowered the standards. It’s as if they are saying he is not capable of performing up to the level of someone like Carter or Arafat (previous winners).
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