A peace prize for hope

President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after only nine months on the job. It seems a tad premature, but is undoubtedly a token of the committee’s high expectations for what is to come. Obama’s five disciples on the prize committee are helping to spread the word that he has come to bring peace, not a sword. His recognition comes for giving the world “hope for a better future” and striving for nuclear disarmament. Ah, but of course!
Congratulations are in order. The prize will provide a fitting occasion for another trip to Europe, and another speech! In truth, however, the Nobel Peace Prize has gone haywire on numerous occasions over many years. Although it has honored some worthy recipients, it has also become a megaphone amplifying the voice of tyrants, rogues and reprobates. Consider, in any event, a few recipients of years past.

AL GORE The award to Al Gore and the IPCC “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change” fits in with a subset of cosmopolitan frauds, fakers, murderers, thieves, and no-accounts going back about twenty years.
MOHAMED ELBARADEI (joint winner). He’s done such a nice job with Iran.
WANGARI MAATHAI The Kenyan ecologist peacefully teaches that the AIDS virus is a biological agent deliberately created by the Man.
JIMMY CARTER JR., former President of the United States of America. A true cosmopolitan, he has undermined the foreign policy of his own country and vouched for the bona fides of tyrants and murderers all over the world. Commenting on the award, Nobel Committee Chairman Gunnar Berge emphasized that the award was meant as a denunciation of American policy toward Iraq. “It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the [Bush] administration has taken,” Berge said. “It’s a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.”
KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary General. Among other things, they respectively served as the vehicle for, and presided over, one of the biggest scams in history.
YASSER ARAFAT (joint winner), Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, President of the Palestinian National Authority. He was a cold-blooded murderer both before and after receiving the award.
RIGOBERTA MENCHU TUM, Guatemala. She is the notorious Guatemalan faker and author, sort of, of I, Rigoberta Menchu. Like President Obama, she is a memoirist of distinction.
THE UNITED NATIONS PEACE-KEEPING FORCES New York, NY, U.S.A. Notwithstanding rapes and sex abuse committed by the team in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and the Congo, still doing fine work all over the world.
BETTY WILLIAMS, United Kingdom, founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement (later renamed Community of Peace People), who in later years repeatedly called for the assassination of President George Bush. How peaceful can you get?
LE DUC THO (with Henry Kissinger) for the 1973 peace with honor bequeathed to the fortunate people of Vietnam.

A few years back Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby commented on the Nobel Peace Prize: that “the Norwegian committee entrusted with awarding the peace prize comprises politicians, not scholars. Like politicians everywhere, the peace prize committee tends to be more interested in what the headlines will say today than in what historians will believe 20 — or 100 — years from now. And unlike their Swedish counterparts, the Norwegians often intend their choice to have a political impact.” That certainly explains this year’s award, but one further point remains. Our occasional contributor Bill Katz observed:

[T]o fully appreciate the farcical nature of the peace prize, you need only go back to the painful years before World War II:
In 1931 the prize was shared by Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, whose later enthusiasm for keeping good relations with Nazi universities has been a source of embarrassment to Columbia.
In 1933, 1934 and 1936, the peace prize went to executives of the League of Nations, already a colossal failure.
From 1939 through 1943 there was no peace prize. You know, World War II was such an inconvenience, and Oslo, where the peace prize is given, was under occupation. Ah, the success of those past prize winners!

Is it wrong to fear that the Columbia connection — from Nicholas Murray Butler to Barack Obama — may be the most relevant of the lot?
PAUL adds: There must be some sort of run-up to winning this award — e.g. analysis, nominations, more analysis. When did the process that led to Obama getting this award begin and what was his record at that point? Surely, if there was any record at all, it was even more meagre than it is now.
The fix must have been in, sort of like TV wrestling.
UPDATE: I’m told that the cut-off date for nominations was only ten days after President Obama was inaugurated.

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