Barack Obama, whose idea of foreign policy involves denigrating and apologizing for his own nation, wins the Nobel Prize for Peace. Really? As an Associated Press story pointed out–making use of a Saturday Night Live-like list of his non-accomplishments–the deadline for nomination for the award was only 12 days after his inauguration. Which means, exactly as the AP writes, that Obama won the award more for his promise than his actual performance.
Or, maybe he received the award because one Scandinavian country embarrassed him in front of the world stage last week, so another Scandinavian country feels it necessary to fluff his ego today.
Or, perhaps the Nobel committee’s determining criteria for whether a candidate is worthy of the award is if he or she has adequately emboldened terrorists. Former recipients of the award after all include Yasser Arafat, who was a community organizer of terrorist organizations in his own right, and former American President Jimmy Carter, who never passes up an opportunity to hug Hamas leaders.
Considering that criteria, perhaps when this particular Nobel Prize winner’s actions directly contribute to the death of innocent Americans at the hands of terrorists who have been legitimized rather than marginalized, negotiated with instead of hunted, and given uniquely American constitutional rights rather than killed on the battlefield like the animals they are, the Nobel prize committee will re-shape the bust of Alfred Nobel itself to look more like Barack Hussein Obama. From now on, just as President Obama changed the superficial look of terms like “terrorism” and “Global War on Terror,” the Nobel Prize committee will from this point forward no longer be awarding the Nobel Prize for Peace, but will award the Nobel Prize for Peace and Hatred of Israel.
And considering that Congress rebuffed his previous State Department requests to send $400,000 in taxpayer money to organizations run by the children of Moammar Qaddafi, perhaps the president can send them some of his prize money.
When former Vice President Al Gore won the award in 2007, he prevailed over Irena Sendler who, during World War II, single-handedly saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. I cannot help but wonder who was overshadowed by Barack Obama.
Some reactions from across the world and across the media spectrum:
So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage.
– Lech Walesa, former Polish president and Solidarity leader.
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to President Barack Obama landed with a shock on darkened, still-asleep Washington. He won! For what?
For one of America’s youngest presidents, in office less than nine months — and only for 12 days before the Nobel nomination deadline last February — it was an enormous honor.
The prize seems to be more for Obama’s promise than for his performance. Work on the president’s ambitious agenda, both at home and abroad, is barely underway, much less finished. He has no standout moment of victory that would seem to warrant a verdict as sweeping as that issued by the Nobel committee.
And what about peace? Obama is running two wars in the Muslim world — in Iraq and Afghanistan — and can’t get a climate change bill through his own Congress.
His scorecard for the year is largely an “incomplete,” if he’s being graded.
The real question Americans are asking is, “What has President Obama actually accomplished?” It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain — President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.
– RNC Chairman Michael Steele
The Nobel Prize Committee has made a gross miscalculation in awarding the Nobel Prize to President Obama. Speaking to reporters, Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said “We would hope [the Nobel Prize] will enhance what he is trying to do.” However, in awarding the Prize to the President, the Committee has risked undermining much of the President’s momentum on a number of fronts by focusing supporters and detractors alike not on what he has done, but on what he hasn’t. President Obama has only been in office since January, and has been tackling, for better or for worse, healthcare, Iran’s increasingly aggressive stance, tough decisions about troop levels in Afghanistan, and the worsening situation in Pakistan. While it is true that he has reached out to the Muslim world in unprecedented ways, reengaged our allies, and helped the U.S. reach a tremendous milestone in race relations, and spoken out on nuclear disarmament, he has yet had the chance to solidify gains on any major policy issue or really have the opportunity to turn his attention to issues of peace. In fact, as Afghanistan becomes increasingly discussed in many quarters as a war of choice, Obama has had to focus his attention not on peace and diplomacy, but on calculations of war.
Because of the selection of the Nobel Prize Committee, today many around the world are questioning whether Obama’s accomplishments during his short time are deserving of this great honor. And, at a time when some are feeling disappointed that Obama’s promises of change are not being fulfilled fast enough, this award may not be actually be helpful to the President in the way that the Nobel Committee hopes. Rather, it may shine a spotlight on a lack of accomplishment, even for those who support the President. For those who wish to undermine the him, this award will prove a fertile talking point for raising questions about whether the President will prove to be more about optics or substance. (Fox News will certainly be having an early Christmas because of this announcement.) So, in addition to having to live up to the hopes that his campaign and election raised at home and around the world, President Obama will have to earn, in the minds of many, this prematurely bestowed award.
So far, the White House has had little response to the announcement. However, if President Obama wants to assure the world that he is focused and grounded, it might benefit him to recognize that his accomplishments in fostering peace do not match up to those of prior recipients, and take the opportunity to talk about the work being done by others, and the long distance we still have to go in achieving the goal of peace. Otherwise, Obama may face a growing number of skeptics who worry that he will accept words over actions in this important arena. The Nobel Prize Committee ultimately may have given fodder to Obama’s detractors, but the President can still seize this moment to demonstrate that he recognizes the difference between rhetoric and actual change.
– Lisa Gans, The Huffington Post
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.
Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
When Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace stated, this morning, that the Nobel Peace award this year was not so much in favor of Barack Obama as it was a shot against George W. Bush, he was absolutely correct.
There’s no way around the obvious reality that this prize was awarded not for performance, but for participation and politics. About a week before last year’s presidential election, 76 American Nobel Prize-winning scientists backed Barack Obama’s bid for president by lauding his “emphasis during the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nation’s competitiveness” while simultaneously chiding former President George W. Bush’s different look at science, which resulted in damage done by “stagnant or declining federal support” and resulting in “lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.”
Barack Obama won, on perceived promise alone, a prize never received by Ronald Reagan or even Mohandas Gandhi for actual accomplishments. I think it’s fair to say, from this day forward, that any credibility the formerly prestigious award retained after the selection of Arafat, Carter and Gore has now been officially lost. Perhaps that’s what the award and its newest winner has in common.