Friday, October 09, 2009


If you didn't already think the Nobel Peace Prize was a bullshit political football (Arafat? Really?), this should should convince you:

Obama awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

What on earth has he done that would even merit consideration for this? He was nominated within 12 days after taking office (the deadline for submissions), and has exactly zero actual accomplishments in substantive foreign policy (which is mostly what the peace price is for, after all), unless you count leaving eastern Europe twisting in the wind. WTF? The Nobel committee doesn't even seem to have a real reason for awarding him the prize - the article says that he's trying hard to "solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons." Yeah, because nobody's tried that before. It seems to rest more on the fact that they like his conciliatory attitude toward the rest of the world, and want to give him the prize to give him more political leverage at home and abroad:
[I]t was clear the Nobel committee wanted to encourage Obama on the issues he has been discussing on the world stage....

The committee wanted to be "far more daring" than in recent times and make an impact on global politics, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the International Peace Research Institute.

Awarding prizes to heads of state should really wait until after they can derive political benefit from it (i.e. they are out of office) - but apparently the whole point was to give Obama said political benefit.

This opinion at the (London) Times is spot-on:

Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

This is just disgusting, meddlesome bullshit.

UPDATE: Radley Balko's idea is a good one.


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