And the Nobel Prize for theoretical, yet to be accomplished works goes to…

October 14, 2009

Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Obama? What do all these individuals have in common? Other than being the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, not much. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison and overcame numerous hardships fighting apartheid before becoming the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Martin Luther King Jr. also spent time in jail, incurred numerous death threats, and led millions of Americans in peaceful protest in order to successfully bring about Civil Rights reform. Mother Teresa spent over 45 years spending time among the deeply impoverished in India and her order, “The Missionaries of Charity” was responsible for operating 610 charities at the time of her death.

President Obama – has given speeches.

Since when did the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize become like handing out Halloween candy? Apparently all one has to do is dress the part, say the right words and phrases and you get a prize, which in this case is one of the most prestigious awards of achievement in the world. Dress in a suit, give some speeches about peace and the world is suddenly a better place, at least in theory.

It is hard to discern exactly what concrete actions Obama has taken that merit the award considering the deadline for nomination was February 1, less than 2 weeks into his presidency. Apparently those 12 days were very impactful. Perhaps his inauguration ceremony brought about peace and prosperity to all who watched it.
It is important to note that the fault lies not with President Obama, but the Nobel awarding committee. Upon learning he was the recipient of this prestigious honor Obama was “most surprised and deeply humbled” and has also stated, “”I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize.”

Many contend that awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is a symbolic gesture; that it was made in hope of what is yet to come. According to the Associated Press, “awarding Obama the peace prize could be seen as an early vote of confidence intended to build global support for the policies of his young administration.” This is like awarding the Oscar for Best picture to a director for his “vision” of an epic blockbuster even though he has yet to begin production.

Lest we forget, we are still engaged in not one but two wars in the Middle East with a troop increase a possibility in the near future now that Obama’s top commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has asked for as many as 40,000 additional troops according to the Associated Press. Despite many talks with Iran’s leadership, Iran has recently disclosed a nuclear facility in Qum which would be able to produce one to two bombs per year, according to the New York Times. The world is not more peaceful under Obama.

Others interpret the award as a rebuke against the policies and presidency of George W. Bush whose approach to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan the Nobel Prize Committee strongly disliked. That explanation seems to be the most plausible, since the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama certainly wasn’t based on merit.

The Official Press Release from the Nobel Awarding Committee

Huffington Post – “8 Most Outrageous Reactions to Obama Nomination”

Christian Science Monitor – “How World Views Obama Peace Prize”


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