Friday, October 09, 2009

What were the people in Oslo thinking?

Somehow, President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm sitting here trying to fathom why he, of all people, would get it.

Has he ended a war? Nope.

Has he succeeded in bringing together a consensus among nations to do something that improve the chances for peace? Nope.

Has he managed to bring together two sides of a contentious issue and broker peace agreement between them? He can't even do that with his own party.

So what has he done that rates this? Apparently the rationale is that he has done something to ease tension in the Muslim world and stressed diplomacy over unilateralism. Let's take a look at what the previous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have done.

2008 - Martti Ahtisaari (Worked to achieve peace in Indonesia, Kosovo, and Iraq)
2007 - Al Gore and UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Ok, that's another head scratcher to me)
2006 - Grameen Bank and Muhammed Yunus (for micro-lending. Makes sense actually. People are less likely to want to destroy things if they have access to money so that they can create a better life for themselves.)
2005 - IAEA and Mohammed El Baradei (another head scratcher but even then they sort of try to, ineffectively, keep the lid on the spread of nuclear weapons)
2004 - Wangari Maathai (for sustainable development)
2003 - Shiri Ebadi (for trying to help extend the rule of law in the Muslim world)
2002 - Jimmy Carter
2001 - Kofi Anan and the United Nations (for trying to make the world more peaceful)
2000 - Kim Dae Jung (for helping to improve relations between North and South Korea. Harder than you'd think)
1999 - Medicins Sans Frontiers (self-explanatory and probably the most deserving of the last 10 years even if I think they actually help extend the suffering. But that's a post for another time.)
1998 - David Trimble and John Hume (for brokering the Northern Ireland peace accords.)
1997 - International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Jody Williams (Don't necessarily agree with them, but again, they did help to bring about a ban on landmines.)
1996 - Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Manuel Ramos-Horta (for brokering a peace agreement in East Timor).
For a complete list, take a look at the wiki list.

By the way, the last time a sitting President of the United States was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it was 1919, the president was Woodrow Wilson, who had just help found the League of Nations in an attempt to prevent further warfare. Before that, it was 1906 and the president was Theodore Roosevelt. He brokered the Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the Russo-Japanese War.

So what did President Obama do? The statement says "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." What efforts? Apparently in his case, its enough to shake hands with some dictators, ignore the civil rights abuses of in some other nations, favor those who seek to usurp democractically developed constitutions, and indicate that abandoning those who have taken great risks to support you and your country is now all that is necessary to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alfred Nobel is rolling in his grave.

In my opinion, the people in Oslo should have given no award this year. That would have been a profound statement, even if they did not explain it.


Anonymous said...

How convenient that you left out on your list of recipients Asser Arafat and one of the architects of the Viet Nam war Henry Kissinger.

Why don't you actually go out in the world and DO something for peace instead of writing an effed up blog.

AngryBell said...

Writing about Yasser Arafat is something I am loathe to do. Except when saying he is dead. Then its a happy thing to write. But anyways, I gave myself a time limit today on how much I would spend on my blog. So that I could do other things.

As far as what I do, I think I do my bit to contribute to justice. Peace, usually, but does not always, follows that.

On the other hand, there is the idea that an unjust peace is not worth having. So I cannot say that I am committed to peace always.

And if you don't like what I write, go eff yourself. :) Have a nice weekend.