I don’t go into pure politics on this blog, but my goodness, this is just stupid worrisome:
President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT.
“The president was humbled to be selected by the committee,” Gibbs said.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama’s calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee.
Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office. (here)
Remember, his nomination was decided after only 2 weeks in office. They based it solely on his ‘want to.’ Hero-worship and Messiah-complexes are not my bailiwick.
The Nobel Prizes were supposed to be about substance, not potential substance.
And, if you will note the comments below,
An award that generates as much interest as the Nobel Peace Prize is bound to be surrounded by myths. Geir Lundestad, secretary of the secretive committee that awards the prize, outlines for The Associated Press some of the most common misunderstandings:
_ Myth: The awards committee announces a shortlist of candidates.
The committee does not release the names of any candidates and keeps records sealed for 50 years.
_ Myth: A campaign for a particular candidate can sway the awards committee.
A campaign could have the exact opposite effect on the fiercely independent committee, which does not want to appear influenced by public pressure.
_ Myth: Candidates can be nominated until the last minute.
The nomination deadline is eight months before the announcement, with a strictly enforced deadline of Feb. 1.
_ Myth: Anyone can nominate a person or group for the Peace Prize.
No, although Nobel statutes on who can nominate were slightly broadened in 2003. They now include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.
_ Myth: The prize can be revoked if a laureate does not live up to the standards of the peace prize.
There are no provisions for revoking the prize.
_ Myth: The prize can be awarded posthumously.
The prize was award posthumously only once — in 1961, to former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjold, after he was killed in a plane crash in Africa. The rules were amended in 1974 to prohibit posthumous prizes.
_ Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful.
More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.
I still find it worrisome, but time will tell if he can indeed see this country through these critical moments.
Haartez has a take as well:
Barack Obama is not the first Nobel laureate to win mainly for raising hopes of a better world, rather than achieving peace. But rarely, experts say, does a politician win so soon after gaining power and without a major foreign policy accomplishment under his belt.
“The Nobel Committee wants the prize to have an impact and it certainly can with Obama, although in many ways it’s premature,” said Kristian Berg Karpviken, head of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO).
“I can’t see another Nobel as daring as this – to present someone who is only at the beginning and is yet to have a significant impact,” he said.
Often Nobels are given as a sort of lifetime achievement award for peace makers, such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who won in 2002, and the 2008 winner, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari.
Some likened Obama’s prize to the 1978 award shared by Egyptian President Mohammad Anwar Al-Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who negotiated peace between their countries which, at the time, provided much hope for security across the Middle East. Such peace still remains elusive.
Another prize based on hopes of achievement, rather than past success, and producing little impact was the 1976 award to Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, co-founders of the Peace People who vainly sought reconciliation in northern Ireland
It’s been done before, and it is an award given by a committee – still, I can only see this serving to detract rather than aid.