Home > Uncategorized > Whu? Obama Won a Nobel Peace Prize?

Whu? Obama Won a Nobel Peace Prize?

Whatever I have to say about this is probably going to be washed away in a torrent of opinion as the internet explodes, but this blogging business is pretty self-serving and narcissistic anyway, so here goes.

OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise. (Source)

While I do like Obama (especially compared to his predecessor), I have to say, I never would have even considered him for a Nobel Preace Prize. Maybe at the end of his presidency, assuming  he makes good on his potential and doesn’t mess things up, but right now? Way too early.

What’s odd is that the rationale behind giving him the prize seems to be ‘Let’s do this to encourage him to keep doing things right.’ I can see where they’re coming from (the entire world would prefer that the USA gets its act together, I think) , but you generally don’t get a prize of this magnitude for what you might do.

Or, as PZ Meyers has put it:

I don’t think Obama’s efforts for peace have been particularly notable — the wars still drag on with no end or even promise of an end in sight, and there has been some sabre-rattling over Iran from his administration lately — but I guess all you have to do is follow after Bush and not blow anything up for a year, and presto, you look like Gandhi. (Source)

Obama has yet to comment, and I can’t help but wonder if he’s feeling a bit awkward about the whole thing. These same thoughts are probably going through his mind as well – how do you graciously accept an award that almost everybody seems to feel you didn’t deserve? It would be ironic if the Nobel committee ultimately ended up doing Obama a disservice in the long run by hurting his reputation. (Although that doesn’t justify criticizing him over the decision – it’s not as if he went and asked for the award, after all.)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. mikespeir
    October 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’m gratified to see this response on atheist websites. I mean, I voted for the man, but he’s been in office less than a year. He hasn’t even had time to do much, and hasn’t done much with the time he’s had. Check back at the end of his first term. Maybe by then he will have deserved the award. But all this does is make the Nobel committee look a little silly.

    • October 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm

      That’s what I thought too. I have a feeling this is destined to go down in history as the ‘mistake’ Nobel Peace Prize.

      Which kind of sucks for Obama, if you think about it. (Although I heard on the news that it’s a €1,000,000 prize. I’d say that will help soothe the hurt a bit.)

  2. October 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    “Although that doesn’t justify criticizing him over the decision – it’s not as if he went and asked for the award, after all.”

    You’re the first person I’ve seen mention this, and it is worth mentioning. Besides the fact that the Nobel board can choose whomever they damn well please, I think they were making a shrewd political move from their perspective of global events. Not only will this place more of a mandate for Obama to pursue peace, it will also give his words more weight in the global community.

    • October 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm

      It will indeed, and that’s another thing I meant to mention. If Obama can present himself as a Nobel recipient without coming across as arrogant, it could do good things for his ability to actually bring about some of that peace stuff.

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