Barack Obama’s Controversial Nobel Peace Prize 2009 Win
Typhoon Nobama : [Typhoon Nobel Obama] The ensuing storm after current US President Barack H. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2009.
We reviewed the events that unfolded, resulting in the announcement of Obama as the winner of the 2009 Nobel peace Prize.
The ensuing fire storm involved both sides of the divide, some congratulating, some ridiculing.
The 24 hour news circuit, lift to fever pitch white high emotions on both sides. Liberals offered their congratulations and defended the prize whilst conservatives and republicans claimed insanity, a politically motivated decision and even demanded Obama to reject accepting the award.
I was amongst those who were momentarily stunned by the announcement and then quietly congratulated him.
Before you accuse me for contradicting myself, let me explain.
It is universally accepted, even by the most liberal democrats, that the announcement and decision was unexpected and surprising. Other than those who knew about the decision, not even a peep was heard about a potential Obama win.
Another almost universal truth is the fact that Obama has achieved little ‘tangible’ success in his few short months in office. True, he’s been President for almost 10 months, yet by historical standards, many presidents have done nothing major in 10 months, let alone achieve substantial work that is internationally recognized.
However, whilst he may have achieved relatively few results, this doesn’t mean he has done nothing. He has made strides in the right direction to look to end two wars, make careful decisions in diplomacy so as not to escalate tensions in the Korean Peninsula and with Iran over nuclear weapons and has taken both concrete action and diplomatic discussions over politically sensitive issues such as Nuclear Weapon Stockpiles and Climate Change.
He’s made strides in the right direction and set in motion steps to practically improve the situation.
Indeed if people argue that Obama has done nothing in his lifetime to achieve peace, not only has he attempted to do substantial amounts, there is no requirement in Alfred Nobel’s will that dictates the person who receives the accolade must have done the most in achieving peace. Whilst this is generally considered a requirement, Alfred Nobel’s will states with regards to the Peace Prize that :
“one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
Given that the Nobel Committee was within norm and regulation in awarding the prize to Obama, I would, like most other people quietly accept the decision. It’s not that I endorse or believe that it’s the right or best. Indeed there is no right or wrong, as cliche as it appears, simply because it is so subjective. Rather, It is an acceptable decision and we respect the decision made.
We may disagree privately, but it is the completely wrong attitude to take when there are some people like Twitter user MIA who said
Or Conservative Talk Show Host Laura Schlessinger who said
“I encourage President Obama to reject this award”
Who should we not voice or discontent? Look at the facts, I’m not say we should bottle up our disagreement at the result. But asking Obama to return or reject the prize as some Republicans have suggested is simply irrational. Not only would it further tarnish America’s image, returning to it’s superpower ways of the past, it would be an even more political decision in a matter that shouldn’t be political.
For all those out there who are considering doing something daft and following in Michael Steele’s footsteps, take a hint from you other GOP leader, John McCain who actually garnered more than 40% of the vote. In speaking with CNN’s John King, he said :
“As Americans, we’re proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category.”
“I congratulate President Obama on receiving this prestigious award. I join my fellow Americans in expressing pride in our President on this occasion.”
Or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty :
“I would say regardless of the circumstances, congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Prize. I know there will be some people who are saying ‘Was it based on good intentions and thoughts or is it going to be based on good results?’ But I think the appropriate response is when anybody wins a Nobel Prize that is a very noteworthy development and designation and I think the appropriate response is to say ‘Congratulations.”
It’s quite simple really :
Regardless of how or why he won, he did and we should congratulate him
Asking or urging him to return it would be counter productive for America
The Way Forward
I self identify as a centrist democrat. But even I would be the first to admit that Obama hasn’t done quite enough to deserve the prize outright.
But that’s not to say he won’t succeed.
It merely means, as he himself admitted, he has to continue the good work he has been doing, achieve tangible results and prove the world wrong.
He still has 3 years left of his term if not another second term, a competent cabinet and for the time being, a numerically supportive Congress.
If he is unsuccessful however and fails to achieve sufficient successes, he will loose significant amounts of political capital and will be ridiculed for his failures like every president.
George Bush was fine until he entered two wars. Obama may be facing the same turning point.
The future remains to be seen.
In the near future, I’ll have some additional reading material regarding this issue.