Friday, October 9, 2009

I wish it were April 1st

I am flabbergasted that Obama has won the Nobel peace prize.Correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't the peace prize go to someone who has actually promoted peace in the world. I know that many of Obama supporters will claim that Obama has popularized diplomacy and understanding as opposed to aggression when dealing with international conflicts. Others will note that his efforts towards ending nuclear proliferation and his reconciliatory tone with the Muslim world makes him worthy of this award. I am not so sure.

Obama may symbolize hope and change for millions around the world, but nothing substantial has been achieved during his time in office. He has yet to pass health-care reforms, his efforts towards Palestinian and Israeli bilateral talks have only emboldened settlement construction. He may have ended the campaign in Iraq, but its only so he could bolster the Afghan war. He continues to approve drone attacks in Pakistan which not only threaten its sovereignty but create excessive civilian casualties. His administration has downplayed China's human rights record. I agree with John Dickerson ( in his assertion that Obama win symbolizes a win for political pageantry, flair and atmospherics over substantiated work.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize 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." I don't believe Obama is that person right now.

Here are some other reactions:

Michael Kaus for Slate Magazine makes an interesting case for why Obama should not accept the prize. See Twitter also

The Taliban condemn Obama's win.

Nobel Peace prize Laureate Leach Walesa is surprised.
Who? What? So fast?"

"Well, there's hasn't been any contribution to peace yet. He's proposing things, he's initiating things, but he is yet to deliver," he said.

Former US Ambassador John Bolton calls for Obama to decline it.

"The Nobel committee is preaching at Americans, but they won't be deceived," says Bolton. "He should decline it and then ask to be considered again in three or four years when he has a record."

"I was nominated three years ago and I'm still waiting for the call," laughs Bolton. "Today's news is just another demonstration of how politicized the Nobel Peace Prize has become, from President Carter winning in 2002, to Al Gore in 2007, and President Obama in 2009."
Nicholas Kristoff ( the NYT reporter who highlighted  Mukhtar Mai's case globally) is non-plussed.
I'm nonplussed -- I admire his efforts toward Middle East peace, but the prize still seems very premature. What has he done? ... Shouldn't the Nobel Peace Prize have a higher bar than high expectations? Especially when there are so many people who have worked for years and years on the front lines, often in dangerous situations, to make a difference to the most voiceless people of the world?

 Eugene Rogan, director of the Middle East Center at Oxford University in England.

"The award is premature.He hasn't done anything yet. But he's made clear from the start of his presidency his commitment to promote peace. No doubt the Nobel committee hopes the award will enhance his moral authority to advance the cause of peace while he's still president."

See also, Slate magazine list of people who should have won the Nobel prize but did not.

No comments:

Post a Comment