Friday, October 9, 2009

On Barack Obama's Prize

My first reaction to the news that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize was, "For what?" And when I found out that nominations for the prize need to be in by February 1, I realized that he had been nominated with less than one month of service as the president. His campaign impressed people abroad as well as at home. I would wager that his nomination was done as something of a lark and there was little expectation he would win. Even the White House staff was unprepared, many still being in bed at the time of the announcement.

Michael Binyon, a commentator of The Times UK has the best editorial I have read or heard thus far. (A tip of the hat to Scott Parks on KMBZ). I quote a portion of the essay below:

The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.
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.
The pretext for the prize was Mr Obama’s decision to “strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. Many people will point out that, while the President has indeed promised to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a fresh start to relations with the Muslim world, there is little so far to show for his fine words.
East-West relations are little better than they were six months ago, and any change is probably due largely to the global economic downturn; and America’s vaunted determination to re-engage with the Muslim world has failed to make any concrete progress towards ending the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
There is a further irony in offering a peace prize to a president whose principal preoccupation at the moment is when and how to expand the war in Afghanistan.
The spectacle of Mr Obama mounting the podium in Oslo to accept a prize that once went to Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Theresa would be all the more absurd if it follows a White House decision to send up to 40,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. However just such a war may be deemed in Western eyes, Muslims would not be the only group to complain that peace is hardly compatible with an escalation in hostilities.

In addition, I want to share with you this from the comment section of The Times UK:
I made bold the names for the compare and contrast.

Steven Forsythe wrote:
Morgan Tsvangirai: Fights to assure the human rights of all Zimbabweans by running for President and fighting massive injustices and fraud perpetrated largely on Zimbabwe's black population. Fights Mugabe's racist policies and genocidal actions taken against Zimbabwe's white population.

Barack Obama: Bails out Chrysler and GM in order to assure union votes. Starts a trade dispute with China, thus rewarding union workers in the US. Reverses his pledge on raising $50 billion over 5 years to address AIDS in developing countries (largely in Africa) and instead proposes a 2% increase in PEPFAR. Forces US economy into massive debt and fails to reduce unemployment.
Morgan Tsvangirai: Forms the MDC to confront Robert Mugabe; wins an election, is imprisoned, tortured, beaten and nearly killed. Wife is killed in a suspicious car accident. Fellow MDC candidates are maimed, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Election is subsequently stolen from him; plunging Zimbabwe into chaos. Mugabe is forced to agree to letting Tsvangirai become Prime Minister.
Barack Obama: Raises $573 million (twice as much as his opponent) and is anointed President. Fails to meet campaign pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months and instead increases troops in Afghanistan. American deaths in Afghanistan in 2009 are greater than in any previous year. Obama's fellow democrats accuse anyone who opposes the President as being a "racist". Children in public schools are forced to sing Obama's praises. Congress gives Obama right to turn off the Internet.
Morgan Tsvangirai: Congratulates Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Barack Obama: Wins Nobel Peace Prize for his many accomplishments during the two weeks between becoming President and being nominated for the Peace Prize. "Humbly" accepts prize for his many accomplishments in promoting worldwide peace. No mention of Tsvangirai.

(For those not informed, Robert Mugabe is the worst dictator in the world, he steals for himself from his people in Zimbabwe. He is clearly the world leader everyone would love to see drop dead tomorrow.)

Not racist, just disappointed in the further politicization of the Nobel Prize, and its continued descent into irrelevance.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Dr. Martin Luther King is among past worthy winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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