They Like The Look of This Fellow

Though I’d disagree with his conclusion that this is in any way “a bold step” (it strikes me rather as a silly but rather conformist step, if you think about the sort of circles the Nobel committee moves in) I think this BBC commentator gets things pretty much right in saying “Obama gets reward for world view“:

In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honouring his intentions more than his achievements.

After all he has been in office only just over eight months and he will presumably hope to serve eight years, so it is very early in his term to get this award.

The committee does not make any secret of its approach. It states that he is being given the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.”

This is of course an implied criticism of former US president George W Bush and the neo-conservatives, who were often accused of trying to change the world in their image.

It’s tempting, of course, to point out that Obama doesn’t deserve the award because he hasn’t achieved anything, and plenty of people are asking, “For what?” But really, I think it’s questionable that even the Nobel committee thinks President Obama has achieved much of anything yet. Rather, he’s the sort of person they like to see as president of the United States, and so (even though he’d only been in office for ten days as of the nomination deadline this year) he was nominated and selected in order to express approval for the simple fact that someone with his worldview is now president of the US.

Now, if Obama were to be deeply classy, he’d decline the prize saying that he doesn’t want to be awarded a prize when he doesn’t believe that he’s yet achieved what he should in the world and that there were much more deserving nominees. He would then get the recognition of being selected, but the even greater recognition for being realistic about where he currently is in his presidency. I’m not holding my breath, but if he does I’ll be impressed.

6 Responses to They Like The Look of This Fellow

  • To late.

    President Obama said “I will accept this award as a call to action.”

    He couldn’t help himself I’m sure.

  • But the narcissist told us he was humbled as he accepted it. I beleive that as much as I beleive everything else he says. Joe Wilson and I are in agreement on this.

    Do you know how you can tell when BHO is lying?

    Yup, you guess it – his lips are moving.

  • The other nominees must have been disastrously inapropriate. Who were they? Can’t seem to find them anywhere.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    But I’ve gotta say – the words have been well delivered, well scripted ( by whom), and well teleprompted.

    What more do we need?

    Hey – the actions MUST be better than the words :-)

    Mustn’t they……….:roll:

  • Don,
    I’m sure you’re being facetious, but as an FYI, I’ve posted a partial list here:
    http://minoroutside.blogspot.com/2009/10/reaction-in-stages.html

    Darwin,
    I caught a bit of Don Gonyea of NPR trying to explain the selection early yesterdayy morning, and his take was fairly close to yours:

    “Well, it really does seem to be an award that honors what he stands for and what he hopes to do, than what he has actually accomplished…He has initiated and worked hard to get the peace process going in the middle east, but nothing has really taken fruit there yet; you can look, Guantanamo is still open, still troubles with Iran and North Korea, but the committee sees this president as giving the world hope for a better future, and that seems to be what this is, an award to encourage him to keep doing what he has been doing.
    [...]
    It seeems like this is a reward for the President for changing direction in US foreign policy…while the Bush administration is mentioned nowhere here, certainly Europe, much of the world was so critical of Pres. Bush…again, Pres. Obama’s entire campaign …was based on changng that direction. This is the Nobel committee embracing that change, even if we haven’t seen real fruits from that change yet.”
    (Full discussion here:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=113652270&m=113652260)

  • cminor.
    Yes you’re right, and thanks for the list.

  • For the record, the other “disasterously inappropriate” Peace Prize nominees (I know that’s tongue in cheek, Don :-) ) include:

    Sima Samar, women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, who “with dogged persistence and at great personal risk” kept her girls’ schools and clinics open in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime which strictly forbade ANY schooling for girls over 8 years old, and later became Minister for Women’s Affairs;

    Ingrid Betancourt, French-Colombian ex-hostage held for six years (and who also has publicly discussed how the experience led her to rediscover her Catholic faith and devotion to Mary);

    Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition, two organizations devoted to cleaning up unexploded land mines;

    Hu Jia, a human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced last year to 3 1/2 years in prison;

    Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system and now lives in the U.S.; and

    Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and head of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, who has dedicated his life to helping Congolese women and girls who are victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Nobel was actually a consolation prize for (thankfully) not getting the 2016 Olympics… after all, Mr. and Mrs. Obama came all the way to Denmark (which is pretty close to Norway, isn’t it?) and put all that effort into their Olympic presentation only to get whacked in the first round of IOC voting… so maybe the Nobel committee thought this would cheer him up!

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