The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was announced today by Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. It goes to President Barack Obama, a man who has been President of the United States for about nine months and is currently conducting two simultaneous invasions and occupations of foreign nations.
The United States "peaceably" threatens both Iran and North Korea with possible military strikes if they do not stop developing a nuclear weapons program. The United States deploys the largest, most deadly, military force the world has ever seen and is in no hurry to reduce its size.
I think Obama is a wonderful choice for President of the USA. He is far, far, better than many others who have sought that office. However, it does not follow from that that he merits the Nobel Peace prize. He doesn't. The Norwegian Nobel Committee should be ashamed of themselves.
Here's the press release. The committee is confusing hope and hype with actual results. Let's hope the promise of a better world works out over the course of the next few years or we might look back on this award with shock and awe. At the very least, we should expect a serious reduction in the American nuclear weapons stockpile, right? And we should expect UN Nuclear inspection teams to be visiting the USA, Russia, France, Great Britain, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel.
Who's holding their breath?
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009What does the White House have to say? Surprisingly, Obama is being very candid.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
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. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.
"I am both surprised and deeply humbled," Obama said at the White House.The Associated Press story seems to be typical of the responses from around the world [President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize]. I think this is going to make Obama's life more difficult, not easier. It may have the exact opposite effect to what well-meaning members of the prize committee expected. This will go down as one of the most controversial awards in recent memory.
"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments. But rather as an affirmation of American leadership. ... I will accept this award as a call to action."
Obama said he did not feel he deserves "to be in the company" of past winners, but would continue to push a broad range of international objectives, including nuclear non-proliferation, a reversal of the global economic downturn, and a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He acknowledged the ongoing U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting that he is the "commander in chief of a country that is responsible for ending" one war and confronting a dangerous adversary in another.
Many 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 and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.
Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.
Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies. They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.
Aagot Valle, a lawmaker for the Socialist Left party who joined the committee this year, said she hoped the selection would be viewed as "support and a commitment for Obama."
"And I hope it will be an inspiration for all those that work with nuclear disarmament and disarmament," she told The Associated Press in a rare interview. Members of the Nobel peace committee usually speak only through its chairman.
The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts but Obama's efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners'. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.
"He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us."