Is The Nobel Still Noble?
Not for what he might do.
There were 205 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize. 33 of those were organizations. Conveniently, because of the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, the list will be kept secret for 50 years, but it seems to me that there might have been somebody or some organization on that list that MIGHT have actually done something.
It was interesting that shortly after the announcement, my daughter, a 19 year old college sophomore, tweeted that since she intends to write a novel someday, the Nobel committee should just go ahead and give her the Nobel Prize for Literature now.
Afred Nobel’s will states the award should go to “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” It’s selected by a panel of 5 Norwegians appointed by the Norwegian Parliament. I’m beginning to wonder why we make such a big deal out of it.
But has President Obama, in his 10 months in office, done the MOST to fulfill those criteria? Considering that the nominations closed when President Obama had been in office for just a few weeks … well let’s just say he must have been nominated by Nostradamus. A blogger in the LA Times alluded to the fact that the President has made some good speeches about his planned foreign policy, and for that he deserves the prize. But it’s an old adage that actions speak louder than words.
We’ve had a lot of words, but very little action. He did scrap a planned missile shield for Eastern Europe, a move applauded by the Russians. But is that the MOST? The Nobel Committee said it gave the award to Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” but are conveniently short on specifics.
Honestly, though, it doesn’t reflect on President Obama, who is donating his prize to charity, so much as it does on the Nobel Committee. Obama didn’t campaign for the Peace Prize. We don’t even know who nominated him. But Obama was the easy choice for the committee. Obamamaina continues to be strong in some sectors, and giving the prize to the President certainly makes more headlines that giving the award to someone who worked quietly but diligently behind the scenes to actually accomplish something. It might have even been someone with some marquee value, but we won’t know for 50 years who that might have been, and by then, it’ll only be an answer in a crossword puzzle.
In that perspective, I suppose I’ve answered my own question. The only thing that the Nobel Prize REALLY does is increase Obama’s stock in a few years when he’s on the rubber chicken circuit, making money for himself or raising money for other Democrats. It’s not enough that he’d be introduced as Former President of The United States, or even the first African-American President Of The United States. They’ll now add “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” to that introduction, which will boost the speaking fees by half. And that’ll be a big half.
A bit cynical? Perhaps.
Has the Nobel Peace Prize become so irrelevant that the committee feels like it has to give the prize to someone like the President to make people care? I’ve talked to people who feel like the Peace Prize lost its relevance when it was awarded to Yassir Arafat. Perhaps the pinnacle of “Huh?” was the year it went to former VP Al Gore for his “work” on global warming. I still think that the connection there was stretched further than a high-bridge bungee-jump cord, and the jury’s still out in a lot of people’s minds on that issue anyway.
I’ve heard a lot of say that the “haters” are out whining about Obama’s win of the Nobel Peace Prize. Disagreeing with the Nobel committee for giving President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for what might happen in the future does not make me a “hater”, and I really don’t understand why some on the left will use that label for anyone who questions anything about this president. Prizes are usually awarded for accomplishments, and in this case all we have is speeches.
The Nobel Committee is probably very enamored of President Obama. Most of Europe is, perhaps because it seems that in many respects, he wants to make us a lot more like them, and I seem to recall we fought a war (or two) to differentiate ourselves. It would have been very interesting to be a fly on the wall in the committee room to hear the discussion, and the justification, and why some of the other nominees (whoever they might have been) were voted off the Nobel island. But it is what it is. All those other folks will have to hope they’re nominated again next year, though there’s no prohibition against back-to-back Nobel wins.
Maybe by next year, President Obama will have done something to actually earn the award.
I hope he has.