At first I thought it was a joke, but no… the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack Obama. He can now join unrepentant terrorist, Yassir Arafat, and fictional autobiography writer, Rigoberta Menchu, in having received that honor.
Regardless of what one thinks about President Obama’s strategy for producing greater world peace, I think all can agree that it is a strategy that has yet to produce meaningful results. It seems quite strange that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to someone who hopes to produce peace without having achieved much of anything in the way of actual peace.
There’s been no change in the situation with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. There’s been no (positive) change with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions (and there have been some considerable negative developments). The situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have deteriorated significantly over the last year. Other than a bunch of speeches, what good has actually been accomplished?
I just have to repeat that Al Copeland, the founder of Popeye’s Chicken, is more worthy of this kind of prize. At least he actually did something to improve the human condition — like give us spicy chicken.
Maybe the fact that Obama hasn’t done anything is the whole point of giving him the award. Perhaps they’re hoping he will now feel put upon to actually create some peace.
Maybe the fact that he hasn’t done anything is the whole point of the award–he hasn’t done anything to decrease the amount of peace in the world.
Nobel PEACE Prize goes to a guy who is commander-in-chief of an army that is fighting WARS in two countries at the same time.
Maybe it was awarded for the Beer Summit?
They can’t even fake legitimacy anymore. They should have waited a few years. They are making it a meaningless award and it insults prior winners.
An insult to the prior winners? I don’t know – some of the prior winners would be pretty difficult to insult.
Incidentally, Kausfiles has the right advice for Obama:
I’ve heard they may rename it the “Peace (in Our Time) Prize.”
All good points, but I disagree with Patrick’s point. Fighting the right wars is necessary to achieve peace. We can disagree about which wars are the right ones, but fighting a war certainly shouldn’t disqualify a person from receiving a peace prize.
Ah, but the instructions in Nobel’s will for picking the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize specifically say it should go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
So it’s relevant to point out that Obama doesn’t fit the stated criteria, even if you also happen to notice that the stated criteria are pure hogwash.
I’m sorry Brian but I have to respectfully disagree. War and Peace are like Night and Day. Dark and Light. Apple and PC.
You should not be fighting wars and be able to win prizes for promoting peace.
You also shouldn’t be winning prizes for what you might do.
On another note, I think the prize was awarded because of what I think might be a left-wing mindset – an obsession with intent rather than action and results.
I think Jim Geraghty of NRO has it right – they gave it to him because they hope this will make it harder for him to escalate in Afghanistan. Fortunately, they’re wrong! Obama still probably won’t escalate, but not because a bunch of Swedish pacifists told him not to.
For God’s sake, they gave the prize to Yasser Arafat. How much credibility could the prize have after a choice like that?
Sorry, Patrick, I have to agree with Brian. The Allies did quite a lot to promote peace by making war against the Nazis. Real peace sometimes requires war. The alternative is to surrender, but that is not real peace.
I still disagree. I think such thinking leads to absurd situations where the ends justify the means. Chinese period pieces (movies and documentaries) often take the view that Qin Shi Haungdi (first Emperor of China) conquered the warring states so that he might bring peace to the world. He probably thought as much too.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Adolf Hitler thought the same way and some historians I’ve read seem to believe (and they’re probably right) that Roman conquest brought peace (Pax Romana).
Therefore for the ultimate good (and a nice Nobel Peace Prize) one can promote peace by ruthlessly conquering the world and smiting thy enemies.
PS, unless a war is infinite in time, peace is always the result. (Just as peace – one way or the other – would always be the end of terrorism…so maybe Yasser Arafat does deserve the peace prize). That tells me that making war to bring peace is a thought or phrase that is utterly meaningless.
This does not mean that fighting a war does not produce better results than wussing out of a fight in the name of absolute peace at any cost.
But Patrick, we don’t live in some absurd universe where the delusional motivations of tyrants and their brand of peace is considered valid. You mentioned the Nazis. The Nazis weren’t only at war with the allies, they were at war with their own people because they took away their own people’s liberty. The same is true of the Taliban. If the Taliban ruled the world, it would be an eternal state of war on all individuals. That’s not peace, unless we are relying on an aural definition.
I don’t think it is as hard as you think it is to identify acts of war that promote peace and those that don’t.
HT: J. Locke
Brian’s right – the mere cessation of active violence is not peace, it’s a truce. Two Roman gladiators standing across the arena from each other, eyeing each other, sizeing each other up, trying to figure out the best way to kill each other – but not moving, not yet, not until they’ve figured out the right move – are not in a state of peace.
Brian I didn’t say that was the only definition of peace, but one perverted interpretation one might get if you accept the idea that you make war to create peace.
Greg, the end of a war is either cessation of hostilities – a truce, or peace as you define it. I think it may, in the thousands of years of human history, be hard to distinguish between a truce and peace, however (unless you’re talking about a truce to bury the dead on a battlefield or for some holiday were the time frame is set). The Peloponnesian Wars, I suppose, would be an example of “peace” run amok 😛
Brian and you both seem to be defining peace with an extra caveat that people be free, otherwise wars of hostility can’t create peace (which isn’t true, you could have a Hitler conquer the world and bring peace though everyone is enslaved to the state).
You can’t say war can create peace unless you accept the fact that you can (as one option) create peace by conquering, destroying and enslaving your enemies.
I also believe you don’t even have to fight a war to enhance or sustain peace (via free trade – something we need to do more of).
Slavery is war by other means. (This was one of the big insights in Locke’s Two Treatises.) So if you enslave everyone to the state, you don’t have universal peace, you have universal war (by other means).
Greg and I are not adding an extra caveat, the idea that without freedom there is no peace is a long established tenet of liberal democracy. Locke’s 2nd Treatise laid out this principle long ago.
“In all States and Conditions the true remedy of Force without Authority, is to oppose Force to it. The use of force without Authority, always puts him that uses it into a state of War, as the Aggressor, and renders him liable to be treated accordingly.”
“They, who remove, or change the Legislative, take away this decisive power, which no Body can have, but by the appointment and consent of the People; and so destroying the Authority, which the People did, and no Body else can set up, and introducing a Power, which the People hath not authoriz’d, they actually introduce a state of War, which is that of Force without Authority: And thus by removing the Legislative establish’d by the Society (in whose decisions the People acquiesced and united, as to that of their own will) they unty the Knot, and expose the People a new to the state of War.”