Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize


I saw this headline and could not believe it – the Nobel Peace Prize this year has been awarded to Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”!

How could someone who kept on saying in his election speeches that he would change a particular state, he would change America and then he would change the world if elected receive such a prize? What is this brave new world going to be like? Under his ‘leadership’ so far the USA is continuing to try to impose its authority on Iraq and Afghanistan, imposing ‘democracy’ by military force? Do people in the USA not realise that most of the world does not actually want to be changed by them, but would much prefer to have greater self-determination without US interference?  If Obama’s policies led to a substantial reduction in the size of the USA’s armed forces and their rapid withdrawal from parts of the world where they are seeking to impose their military power, then perhaps he would indeed be a worthy recipient. Such awards should surely be for achievement?  What evidence is there that Obama has yet made any serious impact on peace in the world?  As the UK’s Times notes, he “has yet to deliver on any of the major foreign policy initiatives upon which he has embarked”

Hamas, for example, according to the Xinhua News Agency has been outspoken in its criticism of this award: “Islamic Hamas movement said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama does not deserve a Noble Peace Prize since he failed to give the Palestinian people their legitimate rights. Fawzi Barhoum, Gaza Hamas spokesman told Xinhua that “Obama does not deserve this prize,” after the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.”We believe that there are lots of things needed from Obama to be presented to the Palestinian people in order to deserve this reward. Obama should change his manner and be fair,” said Barhoum”

This decision devalues the Nobel Peace Prize.  It may well be that Obama will indeed help to shape a more humble and peaceful USA, and in time therefore be a worthy recipient of a peace prize, but until then we should not be so full of sycophantic praise.  If Obama is as great as so many claim, then he will have the humility to decline this award.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

  1. I fully agree.

    What a shame.

    As you say, provided he had potential to positively change the world, he still has to.

    I think this “obamania”, along with the hope that we don’t have any George W. Bush part III, has confused the clear reasoning of many.

    How sad.

    The Nobel Peace Prize will never be the same, not in the short run.

  2. Sharon N

    Tim,
    Thank you for your post; I was just thinking about this issue, and I share the same sentiment as you do. I could not help but think of the previous Nobel Peace Price recipients, and how President Obama receiving the same honor undermines all their own achievements. The first name that comes to mind is Nelson Mandela, who won the same prize in 1993. Given the 40-plus years of strife he experienced and the major achievements, which resonate through South Africa even today, Mr. Mandela was more than qualified for this honor. My fear is that the value of this high honor, the Nobel Peace Prize, will now lose its value. Perhaps Obama received this award as a means to ‘hype’ Americans up for the next 3 and a half years of his presidency, further instilling the faith that there will, finally, be ‘peace.’ Regardless, unless he had made a major stride toward peace (in the Middle East or elsewhere), the fact that he received this great honor makes me wary. I only hope that in 2010 and subsequent years, the reasons that individuals are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize are due to achievements, rather than some hidden political agenda.

  3. Jean Joseph Leandre

    It is not a secret that the United States has taken a new steep towards dialogue under President Obama’s leadership. During the past years America had lost all its credibility, because it did not stood up for the values upon which it had been referred as a beacon.Today President Obama is trying to restore that credibility. His assertion on change is not business as usual. Some may argue that he has bitten off more than he can swallow. Nevertheless his initiatives for a world free of nuclear weapons and his willingness to strengthen democracy will put the United States on a path that will make its allies work more closer on issues such as; Terrorism, Climate change, and the Middle east peace. In an article published in the USA Today on October 9, 2009 Richard Wolf and Mimi Hall wrote: : President Obama accepted his surprising Nobel Peace Prize on Friday as a challenge to make good on his bold goals: peace in the Middle East and Persan Gulf, climate change, nuclear disarmament, and a renewed US partnership with the world.

  4. smatthews

    I agree with those who say that this award was a bit premature but I don’t necessarily think that Obama should decline the honor. The fact of the matter is that in his limited actions thus far, Obama has been committed to multilateral negotiations and diplomacy, which not only signal a reversal of the policies and language of the Bush administration but are likely to be more effective in tackling major global issues like the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, arms proliferation etc. While waning in influence globally amidst the rise of China and the EU as a supranational entity, the foreign policy actions of the US are still incredibly important. As the Obama administration has shifted to this “soft” approach, the world is hopeful that the US can again act as a positive force for change in the world and address some of the longstanding conflicts that have plagued us.

  5. unwin

    Thanks for these observations. What I had not added in my original comment was that nominations for the peace prize had to be in by February 1st, and Obama had therefore been in office less than two weeks when he was nominated. He could not possibly have had the impact claimed by then! I do hope that the world will be a more peaceful place as a result of his election, but I just don’t see the evidence yet. As many others have said, this ward devalues the Nobel Peace Prize – which is a real shame.

  6. Pingback: Nobel peace prize today … « Tim Unwin’s Blog

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