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Which allowed everyman to safely manage large explosions.

While living in Europe I knew many Scandinavians and found them particularly free from guile. The awarding of the Nobel Peace prize to Barack Obama makes me wonder, however. Are they trying to make the man fit the suit that they bought for him? Do they think he will now try to live up to his billing and do what is right in various parts of the world rather than what is expedient? Or is it just a Bush-bash by proxy? In any event, I think most conservatives would agree that Obama has done precious little for the cause of peace. He is triangulating AfPak based on a political rather than a military or strategic assessment and has never demonstrated any willingness to even speak to anyone who has been against the entire enterprise. He has been bombing Pakistan since his second day in office without any declaration of war and now American soldiers are carrying out operations in Somalia. 130,000 Americans remain in Iraq. He made a valiant effort with Israel-Palestine but was ultimately unwilling to use what leverage he has with Netanyahu to move the process along. And then there is Iran. We will know soon enough whether it will be talk or bullets. If having the Nobel in his pocket impels him to negotiate with Tehran, so much the better.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nobel Prize 
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  1. Hunter says:

    It’s probably worth pointing out too that most liberals would agree that Obama has done precious little for the cause of peace. And even most *Democrats* (in my very unrepresentative glancing at the web this morning) are pretty confused by the pick.

  2. Paul says:

    Obama actual deserves the “Nobel A-Peace-ment Prize” for his commitment to international appeasement and socialist indoctrination.

  3. Sheldon says:

    I’ll keep it simple:

    1) The prize to Obama is totally premature.
    2) It’s not Obama’s fault that he was given the prize, and it says nothing bad about him that he was so awarded.

    These two statements are not contradictory. From some of the right-wing commentary (not here) you would think his receiving the prize was just another example of his socialist villainy.

  4. MattSwartz says: • Website

    “Premature” is probably the kindest possible adjective for this.

    There are a lot of Pakistani villagers who, after having seen their homes explode and their kinsmen die, would choose harsher language. To them, this is probably as farcical as Kissinger’s “win”.

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The award of Nobel Prize to Obama has brought down the value of Nobel Prize by several notches. The Prize cannot be awarded anticipating that he will do something as expected. What happens if Obama goes the Bush way? That also raises questions about the integrity of the Nobel Committee, the lack of seriousness on its part, and whether like Obama other winners really deserve the Prize. What a shame!

  6. I agree with Sheldon’s point #2. Obama did not cause the Nobel Committee to act as it did.

    And I am sorely disappointed in Michael Steele in not recognizing this, and failing to represent us Republicans as a class act.

    As far as the fiction that Obama has done nothing, consider that he has been gutting our nation, here and abroad, making us less threatening to our enemies. He has attempted to implement unilateral reduction of armament. He has made himself fairly well liked worldwide.

    True that we haven’t seen longterm results of his actions. But certainly he has begun implementing an agenda that the folks who give the Nobel prize definitely approve of. At a breathtaking cost, to those of us capable of reading the balance sheet.

  7. pb says:

    What does his acceptance of the award say about him, though?

  8. Bob Weber says:

    The only things that would seem to disqualify a person from Obama’s foreign policy team are having been right from the start on the Iraq War, and skepticism about the U.S. Empire in general. Chas Freeman was named to a minor post, but after the neocons squawked, Obama threw him overboard.

  9. TomB says:

    pb wrote:

    “What does his acceptance of the award say about him, though?”

    His statement:

    “Let me be clear. I do not view it as recognition of my own accomplishments but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.”

    I.e., about as good as could be expected I think, and indeed far outclasses the Nobel Committee who gave it purely and simply as a thumb in the eye of Bush as shown by their statement praising “the change in the international climate.”

    (Not that Bush doesn’t deserve a whole lot of thumbs in his eyes, but, still, I don’t particularly care about what a lot of Scandanavians think of our Presidents, and expressing it thusly also seems a bit tasteless and beneath what the Nobel ought to be. In their defense however a past committee gave it to Al Gore so they did have some precedent for acting childishly.)

  10. Yeah, sure he didn’t choose to win it, but he choose to accept it. He could have turned it down and told them to come back when he’s actually done something in the field of peace. I mean something constructive. The best way to do this is for him to listen to his current advisers and do the opposite.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Obama deserves this award for one reason.

    The Nobel Peace Prize shall be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations [One world government]….”

    Obama is doing a great job uniting the nations. Heck, he IS the head of the U.N. Security council.

    However, when it comes to “the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”, I cannot figure how “they” spin this one. Swapping the military for private mercinaries could be the reason, but pushing to add 40,000 new troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year and trying to instigate a war over fake WMD’s in Iran..well, that doesn’t look like it fits the description for the award.

  12. Tony J says:

    How is it in – any – way surprising that the judges for the Nobel Peace Prize, sitting there at the start of 2009, might decide that the person who had just been elected President of the world’s most powerful nation on a platform of (to paraphrase) using diplomacy to end conflicts, rather than starting new ones, might be a fitting recipient for an award that has ‘Peace’ in its title?

    This may come as a shock to some people, but those five Norweigans do not, as a rule, base their decisions on how it will play with Fox News.

  13. pb says:

    “Let me be clear. I do not view it as recognition of my own accomplishments but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.”

    Not at all impressive, and more indicative of false humility — just more rhetoric covering up the fact that he is not actually doing much in pursuit of change. All talk, no action.

  14. MattSwartz says: • Website

    Tony J,

    The Nobel Committee is not a futures market. The other nominees in that category had courageous, risk-taking action in the name of peace in their resumes already. Some of them have gone to prison for criticizing regimes, others have stood up against the oppression of the most invisible members of the most closed societies.

    Obama? Well, he has a track record of speaking in vague idealistic language and then deflecting any serious criticism of his practical adherence to the Bush Status Quo by explaining that “it’s complicated” and “change take time”.

    Carter’s prize made some sense. He put himself in physical danger to get warring factions to sit and talk, and peace resulted.

    Obama, on the other hand, is being laureled for existing. The committee likes who he is (the first elected head of a first-world power to be of African descent) what he stands for (moderate socialism at home and UN genuflection abroad), and who he isn’t (George W. Bush). It’s just a pity that they had to waste a peace award to express their feelings.

  15. Tony J says:


    Like I said, the five Nobel Peace Prize judges don’t view the world through a Fox News lens. Their job is to gift a globally recognised award to the person they see as doing the most to push forward their agenda of peace with a capital-P between nations, and last February, when they voted, their professed opinion was that Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain in the Presidential Election represented the best example of that.

    You obviously don’t agree with them, but at the end of the day, that’s neither here nor there. It was their decision to make, and the vast majority of the world agrees with them, including a large majority of the American Electorate.

    In my book, that’s a good thing. But YMMV.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    I still don’t understand why Republicans don’t love Obama. He’s “going after the terrorists” with more troops in more places. Of course, this is exactly what terrorist tactics require to defeat a larger, well-equipped enemy…. to force them into a role of indefinite occupation and undefined victory, so maybe the Neo-Cons are right when they say Obama is helping the terrorsts but if that’s the case then so was Bush.

  17. LarryH says:

    Let’s see; Reagan brings down the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Wall … no award; Bush liberates 50 million Muslims from tyrannical rule … no award. But yet the Nobel selection committee does give an award to the likes of Gore, Carter and Obama. I am sure Clinton will be one of the next. The Nobel Peace Prize has been made a sham, a political “hack” tool. I am sure Alfred Nobel would turn over in his grave. This awarding of the premier Nobel award certainly detracts from the prestige of the other Nobel awards for science, literature and economics. The Nobel Peace Prize is rapidly becoming of little more import that the prize that comes in a box of Cracker Jacks.

  18. Verius says:

    Obama really didn’t deserve the nobel Peace Prize at all. I’m very liberal as most conservatives I know seem to be short sighted, usually very racist, me first screw everyone else type, WHITE people. But I will agree with you all on this one.

  19. Verius says:

    I agree with Spencer….it’s interesting that Obama is actually doing a bit more of what the Republicans want then Dem’s (in regards to the war)…but they complain. In fact Republicans complain if anyone but them is in office, no matter what their doing. I liken Republicans to the noble class in England in the Dark Ages, if their in danger of losing their power, they get frightened and attack everyone. That’s all I see when I watch Fox, listen to my Rep acquaintances….”We’re afraid of not being in charge…not so much policy stuff…but lose of power”. Bush was the worst policy maker in history but he kept the Rep’s in power. Point made.

  20. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Why does Bush always get brought up? AND — how can Obama really have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize after only 12 days in office? Politicians usually say one thing & do another anyhow.

  21. Ditto on Sheldon’s points: too early, not Obama’s doing – and, the only reason he wouldn’t take it is if he were a Republican operative trying to make the Democrats look bad.

    Still, if Henry Kissenger can get a Nobel Prize for bombing Cambodia, then why not Obama, as a downpayment for not nuking Iran? Maybe this is their way for making up for killing satire.

    And no economist really deserves a Nobel Prize, which is why they are actually from the Bank of Sweden.

    They do seem to have a really embarrassing crush on US Democrats, though, don’t they? I don’t see how Republicans should be jealous, since they’ll have Rush Limbaugh as a judge for Miss America. Now there’s a class act.

  22. Tony J says:

    Larry H,

    “Let’s see; Reagan brings down the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Wall … no award; Bush liberates 50 million Muslims from tyrannical rule … no award.”

    You see, the problem you’re experiencing here is that none of the events you’re describing – actually – happened. The judges for the Nobel Peace Prize aren’t noted for basing their decisions on the mythology by the American Right, they have a much wider audience, and tend to take actual facts into consideration.

    For example, it was a Russian who brought down the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, and Chimpy McFlightsuit didn’t liberate anybody when he waged his wars. These are known knowns that the people who – didn’t – award them any prizes, are familiar with, because they are actually based in reality.

    Though as we all know, reality has that nagging Liberal bias. So YMMV.

  23. Joshua says:

    its really a neat story for kids in middle school (5th To 7th)

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