Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Like practically everybody else, I’m very surprised that the Nobel Prize committee has awarded President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009:
OSLO — In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” less than nine months after he took office.
“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. With American forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.
I will leave the analysis of this for others adding only this. This award is clearly as much aspirational as anything else. In that light doesn’t the award belong to the American electorate?
UPDATE (James Joyner): I’m more befuddled than surprised. This simply makes no sense. I understood, for example, Jimmy Carter winning it a few years back even though I disagreed with the rationale for awarding it that year; but he’d certainly earned it as a lifetime achievement award if nothing else. But, surely, an uptick in approval for the United States in Western Europe doesn’t do much to further peace, given that the likelihood of conflict breaking out over the former state off affairs was nil.
The reaction seems to be shared by more than the usual suspects. In addition to Dave above (who, after all, voted for Obama and on the basis of his foreign policy at that) Jim Henley, Robert Farley, Michael Russnow, Steven Taylor, and most commenters even at the lefty blogs where the poster defends the decision think it bizarre or worse. In addition to Henley’s expletive-laden tyrade, I especially like Farley’s suggestion that Obama will likely win the AL Cy Young.
The defenses are much along the lines of Dave’s “aspirational” argument. For example, Steve Clemons thinks getting the award prematurely will help Obama earn it in the long run:
[T]his Prize puts some air back in the Obama Bubble — and this is good for the country and world as the challenges in the international system are enormous today.
Obama’s efforts to talk the world into a better place have indeed created opportunities that were hard to imagine during the Bush administration — but now a lot of heavy lifting and deal-making are required, and the Nobel Prize will give Obama a boost in these efforts.
That’s not typically how the Prize has been used, especially in the case of American presidents. Recall that Carter didn’t win one for the Camp David Accords. Nor did Ronald Reagan for ending the Cold War without firing a shot. Or Bill Clinton for closing the deal with Arafat and Rabin. Aspirational awards are usually to dissidents or leaders of NGOs working on an impossible but really neat cause.
UPDATE (Dave Schuler)
David Ignatius’s reaction is considerably less profane than Jim Henley’s (linked above) and I think is worthy of consideration:
Obama’s achievements are in the “good intentions” category, but that doesn’t mean they are insignificant. America was too unpopular under Bush. The Nobel committee is expressing a collective sigh of relief that America has rejoined the global consensus. They’re right. It’s a good thing. It’s just a little weird that they gave him a prize for it.
The open question is whether President Obama’s popularity overseas (92% favorability rating in Germany, 90% in the Netherland, 77% in Europe, generally) will translate into popularity for America overseas or even support overseas for the foreign policy that President Obama actually puts into place. I’m skeptical.
Ever since they gave it to Yasser Arafat i have pretty much been of the opinion that it is a pretty empty award. More feel good than significant.
I think my surprise on this one is Obama hasn’t done anything.
Yes, Obama aspires to bring the United States of America to the same economic and social level as Somalia and the Nobel Prize committee lauds his efforts. Success is on the horizon.
“Obama aspires to bring the United States of America to the same economic and social level as Somalia”
Ha! This is the first time I’ve heard Obama being accused of wanting NO government. I thought he wanted a BIG government…you know, the opposite of Somalia.
You might want to rethink that criticism, Devildog.
Thanks, Dave, for forgoing the analysis. It can only go one of two ways. “He deserved it.” Or “He didn’t deserve it.”
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course, but in this case the only opinions that matter are those of the Nobel committee.
And they already had their say.
Headline should read: Humble Kenyan, fist messiah to win peace prize.
The King of the World, fluffed his angel minions, adjusted his tarnished halo, and in great humble sincerity announced, “I won, and I owe it all to myself.”
As I predicted a while back, the best part about a black messiah being elected to president, is that it will expose the sanctimonious left and all its follies for what they really are. We, as a people, will respond to this piece of orchestrated pomposity and self-adoration by either vomiting or genuflecting. Step right up and place your bets, gentlement.
The cut off for nominations is Feb. 1st. Obama was nominated after less than 2 weeks of doing nothing.
It is part of an insidious plot to undermine my “there is no cult” argument.
(Seriously, it’s bizarre. If Obama has any sense he is dismayed by it … or that he got it before, you know, finding some “peace.”)
Boy, I didn’t realize how poor the cause of peace was these days. How many more peacekeepers are we sending to Afghanistan, Mr. President?
It’s too bad the Blue Helmets aren’t taking over, PD.
I think that is the Nobel Piece prize. Obama wants a piece of this and a piece of that. The plan is to get most of the pieces and give them to who he wants rather than those who earned them.
Yeah, you might want to rethink your choice of Somalia. After all, Somalia is a libertarian dream come true. No government health care, no government schools, no government regulation and, in fact, no government whatsoever. Conservatives can only dream of a land with no government to interfere with a well armed population pursuing its own economic interests.
To be clear, my snark is aimed at the Nobel Peace Prize committee for being such transparent Euro-weenies.
Crap why did he not get an Oscar!?!?!?!? He has done a superstar performance has President of the unions….!?!?!?
The effect of such an action would be to cheapen the medal rather than elevate the recipient. Given that the Peace Prize was reduced to virtual meaninglessness long ago, I propose future awards be issued during SNL skits.
My analogy is that it’s like handing a Medal of Honor to a promising young officer after her performs competently on his first patrol.
I guess it’s the “He’s Not Bush” prize.
I belive Dan Drezner has already written the SNL skit. Excerpt from Committee meeting:
That is very close to my third reaction on hearing the announcment. My actual third reaction was If I had known that not being Bush was enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize, I would have gotten myself nominated.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been a highly politicized and therefore greatly diminished award for years now.
Note Rodney Dill’s observation on timing.
It makes the committee look like fools.
The Oscars gag was good. This is definitely one where conservatives can have their fun.
I guess next year we can expect the Nobel Prize in Medicine for whatever kind of health care bill gets passed, maybe the Nobel Prize in Economics for cash for clunkers.
But you do have to wonder, will they give the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pres. Obama, or Bill Ayers??
Mark my words, this is only his FIRST Nobel Peace Prize. There’ll be more. Unless he turns into an unimaginable screw up, I figure he’s on track to win three of them.
“Reagan winning the cold war w/o firing a shot”- first- the cold war ended due to a consistent policy effort lasting forty years. Second, tell that to the victims in Nicaragua, Grenada, etc. Third, the award is merely symbolic- and it does highlight how the world has perceived the U.S. under Bush (and those who voted for him)- Fourth, I am glad you found your blinders this morning.
Reagan did force the issue, with his 600 ship navy, etc. He forced a Soviet Union which could barely afford it’s “guns” to spend more, cutting even further from the “butter.”
Of course, his 600 ship navy, etc., did expand our deficit as well. Not sure if we ever paid for it, actually. We still might be rolling over “minimum payment.”
Reagan did continue to increase defense spending (recall how under Carter/Brown the defense expenditures were increasing in real money at 3% a year as suggested by NATO standards). The 600 ship Navy was a joke and as soon as we got there we started decommissioning ships in a hurry. The SDI was also worthless and according to Gorbachev it had little impact on the USSR. However, scientific advances in missile offensive technology, B-1s and other aircraft did force a reaction on our adversary. The costs in 80’s dollars today is modest. At the end of the day the Soviet Union collapsed due to internal contradictions.
“No government health care, no government schools, no government regulation and, in fact, no government whatsoever.â€
Which is what will happen if Obama gets his way. Too big of government, too much regulations and too much suppression of the population will bankrupt the US, destroy the economy, and cause mass unrest. The end result is a society that destroys itself and ending up with a system like Somalia.
Someone betting their house on 00 in roulette wants a big payoff but the results will almost certainly be he will lose his house. Any reasonable person would know this therefore his intention could be construed as intent on losing the house.
Me thinks Josh Marshall of TPM fame was having a very bad morning, for his usual tight prose fell to pieces when he commented on Obama’s Nobel. As I agree with his analysis, and I am a rather lazy writer, I have deconstructed his post, and broken his one paragraph into concise statements, as follows:
The italics are mine, and let me tell you, if you do not believe that the Bush years were a dark aberration\, you are severely compromised.
If you are living in the Shinning City on the Hill, geography dictates that you are looking down on everybody else. And if you are in a state of grace, assuredly ideology blends into theology, and James Joiner surely is in a state of grace with this statement:
I bow to everything that Raoul (October 9, 2009 | 11:38 am) said, but will add this: Dr. Joiner would be laughed out of the room if he made that statement to any educated group in Europe, and indeed, in our own country. History has already ruled on this point, the dismantling of the Russian Empire was a volitional act by Gorbechov. A snip from Wikipedia will suffice:
Through out the world, Nobel Prizes, whether they be in the sciences, economics, or for peace initiatives are celebrated, and discussed. Rarely is the recipient vilified or derogated.
I have often stated that woven into the DNA of the Center Right is subliminal racism and the politics of personal denigration. One has to but read the comments in this thread, or those on the web, to realize how close to the truth that statement is…
So big government is how Somalia ended up where it is today? I didn’t know that.
Seems like there is an awfully big uproar on the right over such a meaningless award.
While I think this Nobel stuff is a mistake all around, I can’t help but think that people, especially conservatives, should be impressed with Obama – he is saying the right things to please the world, but basically continuing and improving upon GWB’s (evolved) foreign policy.
“So big government is how Somalia ended up where it is today? I didn’t know that.â€
Who said that? The original post was a jab at Obama and was talking how we could end up with a country similar to Somalia not that Somalia and our history were the same. My post pointed out that there is some relevance of the post. I would point out that the area of Somalia and Ethiopia were a very prosperous and respected government at one time but once again that not the purpose of the comparison..
It nice to see that since you can’t refute that big government can destroy a government that you throw out faux argument.
is part of an insidious plot to undermine my “there is no cult” argument.
The walls of your bubble must be letting in some light.
I’m asking people to help me out here – if you have a DVD of “Happy Days” can you check to see whether Fonzie was wearing the Nobel Peace Prize around his neck when he jumped over the shark? I suspect that he did.
I wonder what the usual suspects would have said had anyone dared to suggest facetiously three days ago that President Obama would win the Nobel Peace Prize for, well, um, that’s the hard part of trying to be cleverly absurd.
The final victory of style over substance?
Perception is reality. At least in the short run, but reality always wins in the long run.
Oh, and Our Paul, thanks for letting us all know that we are racists. Again. Truly all opposition or questioning of President Obama or the cult of personality built up around him is racially motivated.
I have often stated that woven into the DNA of the Center Right is subliminal racism and the politics of personal denigration.
Dude, the Nobel Committee, like many Obama sycophants, is not characterized by adherence to Conservative political principles and they were the ones who awarded this honor to President Obama simply for his being a Black man in power, who as Vice-President Biden has observed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
It is not conservatives who are playing on racist impulses, rather it is liberals who are excited by Obama simply because he’s a Black man. Frankly, no White man with Obama’s resume would have achieved his rise in politics, or in life for that matter (how many past White Harvard Law Review presidents were sought out and awarded a contract to write an autobiography? – how many recent graduates of law school, with no publishing record, are granted a position as a lecturer at a top tier law school, etc?) As I’ve already noted on this blog, the election exit polls show that more racists voted for Obama than voted for McCain.
Bah, this is all a slap at Bush. Guess all those jokes, I think they were jokes about wanting regime changes in Europe did not go over that well.
She tried and tried, but San Fran Nan couldn’t do it.
We now have ….. Executive Branch – castrated.
By two means may a country achieve the success rate of a Somalia; to0 little government as Somalia or too much as, say Cuba has. Within that particular context let’s remember that Fidel Castro just loves Obama.
Do the math.
Remember what I said about Obama being to stupid to be the anti-Christ, I guess it don’t matter if your not smart enough for the position If you have the right vision….
So then next he will broker a peace deal in Israel and part of the concessions will be the right to rebuild the temple….
We already did that, or have you forgotten Katrina?
lol, ya dude were all racists, so what do you call yourself, does it have the name of some other country attached to it?
you do know that your nationality, ideology, and religion, has more to do with your racism then your tenth of the pigment spectrum, don’t you…
do you say African American instead of black dude?
Your simple stable hand typing *** thinks racism has every thing to do with being a white Conservative vs. a white liberal, don’t ya?
There is only one human race, but you have to join it.
carzyDonkey wannabe egghead liberals, lolz…
The ******* indoctrination in this country is ******* unbelievable!!!!
Not nearly as unbelievable as the complete apoplectic rage on the right towards all of this…actually, scratch that, as angry as conservatives have been these days, this is all par for the course…still, it’s quite amusing to watch…some of you are just so adorable when you are angry… 🙂
lol, I’m not angry, I am flabbergasted, lol, the ******* noble peace prize!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAthud….
Oh, you meant listing to another liberal explaining the meaning of life, ya that pisses me off. Sorry bro:)
Fixed that for you.
It always makes me smile when an intellectual heavyweight like Eric says “do the math.”
Do the math! Two plus two equals communism! Do the math! Communism equals anarchy! Do the math! Obama is a communist statist anarchist socialist Muslim. Just do the math!
To be fair, we should analyze what Eric is saying here.
A) “Too much government” and “too little government” result in the same consequences. Either you’re going to be a poor communist country that exports cigars…or you’re going to be a poor anarchist country that exports pirates. Like I said, the same thing.
B) Because Fidel Castro loves Obama, this reflects poorly on Obama because…well, I’m not sure. Information missing. Can not compute.
Eric, perhaps what you’re trying to convey is that Somalia and Cuba both suck, so in your simplistic, nuance-free view, they’re the same.
How come no one isn’t saying that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because he managed to turn the US into a European-style socialist tyranny in just 9 months? But nope…keep pounding the “He didn’t do anything!” meme.
Which, if that’s the case, someone should tell the tea-partiers…
I don’t think Obama deserved to win…yet. It’s a well done so far and keep going from the Nobel Committee. They want Obama to deliver on his promises and have awarded him ahead of actually achieveing anything!! I have written a blog post on the topic, ‘Will the real President Obama please stand up?’ if anyone wants to take a look http://wp.me/pCIZY-Y
I will give it a try, charles austin (October 9, 2009 | 04:09 pm). I will key in on your statement:
When it comes to racism, the reality is defined by those who are under attack, by their supporters, and by time and place. It is not defined by those who initiate such an attack; if that was the case, the most heinous racist statement could be washed, like water, under the bridge.
For example, in the 2000 Presidential GOP selection campaign in South Carolina, a whisper campaign implied that John McCain had fathered a black child was clearly racist. Where you and I might disagree is whether such racist campaign tactics point finger to those that remain silent when the smear is being carried out. I would say yes…
A bit more subtle, but in the same vein, we have the ’06 Tennessee race between Bob Corker (R) and Harold Ford (D). The cognoscenti had Ford (bi-racial/black) tied or slightly ahead in this race with 2 weeks to go — then Corker unleashed a TV add with a white women, presumably a Play Boy Bunny, giving Ford a come on. Harold Ford lost by 5 points. My take, and those by many others: the add was obvious subliminal racism for it brought up the old fear of miscegenation and failed to delineate or contrast policy issues.
In a similar vein, but on the flip side of the coin, a future GOP Presidential aspirant lost it all when he taunted a man of color in the audience. Unable to explain himself, unwilling to apologize, George Allen lost his re-election bid to a turncoat Republican, Jim Webb. To this day, the vaunted GOP base and intelligentsia still wonders how this could have happened to their Golden Boy…
It is these code words and phrases that pollute reasonable discussion. Remember the Welfare Queens ridding around in Cadillacs, and the strapping young bucks buying steaks with welfare stamps? Ronald Reagan mouthing State Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi less than a hundred miles from where three Civil Rights workers were killed?
When I made the statement that “woven into the DNA of the Center Right is subliminal racism and the politics of personal denigrationâ€ I was thinking of Lee Atwater, at whose knee Carl Rove learned his trade. You remember Lee, and his famous Willie Horton adds? You remember Carl? South Carolina, and McCain’s adopted daughter? I was also thinking of the pounding Obama took during the primaries that forced him to give his “more perfect unionâ€ speech on race. Underlying much of the primaries and Presidential campaign were innuendos that Obama was an empty suit, a man without accomplishments.
And that my good man, is the central charge that is being advanced by the pundits. He is an empty suit, with no accomplishments. Cut you a deal Charles. Find me one Center Right luminary who parses why the Nobel Committee gave this prize to Obama, and then agrees with the Committee’s view point, and with bowed head I will murmur my Mia Culpa to you.
But, I will still be able to point out that neither Dave Schuler nor James Joiner, or any other Center Right worthy referenced this primary document. Short and sweet it will point out why the Nobel Committee does not consider this man an “empty suitâ€.
Our Paul, I read the primary document you referenced and this jumped out:
“His (Obama) diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”
Majority rules? That is hardly an American tenet .. I don’t think American women want the Muslim world’s values or attitudes toward women imposed on them. Muslim numbers are projected to increase faster than the Christian/Jewish population. Is the Nobel Committee suggesting we relinquish our values to theirs when they have a greater majority? What total crap. Leaders must lead … not follow the mob’s rule.
So there are no objective standards. I am a racist for no reason other than you think I am, regardless of what I have said or done. Got it. Let’s just say I don’t think the rest of your statement bears serious consideration if that is your starting point.
Nonetheless, fundamentally, I reject your generalizing from a few carefully selected anecdotes to brand everyone who disagrees with you as racist. You know, motes, eyes, and all that. By the way, you do know that Willie Horton was first brought up by a Democrat running against Dukakis, right?
Just curious, what accomplishments does President Obama have besides being able to get votes in our celebrity society where perception is more important than reality? His suit may not be empty, but there isn’t much substance there.
I reject your “challenge,” It’s not my job to read or defend pundits of any stripe. In fact, I regard your “challenge” as a variation of an appeal to authority logical error.
Oh, and it is Karl Rove and mea culpa.
Well, he inherited an economic train wreck from Bush, now we are moving out of recession and the Dow is approaching 10K. But hey, I am just one of those socialistic, communistic Democrats who likes having a good job and making lots of money. What do I know?
Thats kinda funny, because I always thought in this country, if you got the most votes, you won. Well not in 2000, but most of the time…
WOW!! none of these words failed the spell check, lol..
anjin-san, if a majority of countries via the United Nations decide that Israel should be disbanded and the Jewish State dissolved, you believe that Obama must stand with the new world
If you have nothing better to do than obsess on your strange fantasies, we can only pity you. Turning Glenn Beck off might be the first step for you on the road to mental health.
Who knows if you are, but certainly the examples that Paul cited are racist or racism being used to gain political power…although I guess if we are to be fair, Charlie shouldn’t have to defend or explain those examples as he is constantly telling us that he isn’t a Republican…funny thing, though, he only seems to criticize Democrats…
A false argument, as the majority of the world’s population isn’t Muslim…
Though I’ve disagreed with whom they awarded the Nobel Peace prize to before, this is the first time I’m really suprised.
I don’t think Obama is very left wing (I’m a slightly left leaning centralist in my country and he is definately more right in politics than I am) so I don’t think it is intended as a reward to taking America further on the road to becoming the United Socialist States of America.
It could be seen as a symbolic gesture towards communicating with all parties instead of locking yourself in an ivory tower. But I feel he should have done slightly more to earn it, even if I would have disagreed with his actions. Or maybe they just wanted to give it to him before he yet again had America start a war…
This price is awarded by the Norwegians, who are economically tied to Europe but are not part of the European Union – mainly because *they* repeatedly voted against it. So I’d not really take them as the figurehead for European sentiments.
Also: it is a prize aimed at foreing policy, never at domestic policy. So saying that it should impact healthcare decisions in the USA is as silly as saying that he doesn’t deserve it because the USA is the only first world country that still has death penalty.
Last point: Democratic presidents always have high approval marks in Europe, that is not Obama specific.
I am sorry Charles Austin (October 10, 2009 | 12:45 pm) that you took my rant personally, that clearly was not the intent. What you missed was the key sentence, to wit:
One has to drift back to the surely reaction of the Center Right to Paul Krugman’s Nobel in Economics to understand the current reaction to Obama’s Nobel. Of course, there is always Linus Pauling…
In my view, there is a difference between advancing conservative principles and the tactics utilized by a political party to gain, or hold on to power. Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC) is one of the very few Center Right folks who has stood up to the inflammatory speech of Limbough, Beck, and of course the bizarre claims of Birthers.
The principal reason Obama was honored by the Nobel Committee was his adherence to negotiations to solve problems, and the need to include all, in an equal fashion, at the negotiating table. In a word, to use my favorite metaphor, he abandoned the Shining City on the Hill and decided to join the rest of the world. That, and his stated goal to eliminate nuclear weapons are well within the charter of the Peace Prize, as outlined as outlined by Alfred Nobel’s will, to wit:
Strikes me that howling dogs on the hard right, as usual, are showing their ignorance.
Let us stop this churlishness. If you bring the cheese, I will bring the bread and wine. A fine topic for discussion would be those very rare individuals who have snagged two Nobels.
If you happen to be into biochemistry and medicine, Frederick Sanger immediately comes to mind as does Linus Pauling. The later earned his first in Nobel in Chemistry for demonstrating that the cause of sickle cell anemia was an inherited altered molecule (hemoglobin). Others subsequently showed a single amino acid substitution, lysine for valine caused this disease. That earned him the title of “Father of Molecular Medicineâ€ as this was the first demonstration of an inherited disease caused by an amino acid substitution in a protein.
Pauling was hard at work on the structure of DNA, but his x-ray crystallography was crude, which lead him to propose a three stranded right twisting DNA molecule. The correct Watson and Crick model, a left double stranded DNA model, lead to these upstarts receiving their Nobel. That really upset the biochemistry cognoscenti, for Watson’s light bulb moment was critically depended on unpublished x-ray crystallography studies by Rosalind Franklin which were not reference in the classic Nature paper. Unfortunately she was not recognized for her work, but one of her students, Dorothy Hodgkin, received a Nobel for her work on the three dimensional structure of vitamin B-12.
Pauling’s second Nobel was a Peace Prize for his vigorous campaign against above the ground nuclear arms testing. Somebody writing for Wikipedia has a droll sense of humor, for he characterized Pauling’s prize, and its reception in the US as follows:
Where ever Linus Pauling is, whether it be with harp strumming cherubs, or cloven hoofed beings bearing trident spears, brother Linus must be in a rib tickling giggle over what the Nobel Peace Price committee has wrought in awarding the prize to Obama.
PSST1#: Frederick Sanger was an English biochemist. He determined the complete amino-acid sequence of insulin in 1955 and established the complete nucleotide sequence of a viral DNA in 1977.
Time for beddy by Maggie Mama (October 10, 2009 | 10:43 am), but first I should point to a potential solution to the dilemma you raised.
The crisis you so artfully identified leads one to pose this question: How can we humanely prevent the Muslim numbers which you identified: are projected to increase faster than the Christian/Jewish population. The results would be catastrophic as you point out: I don’t think American women want the Muslim world’s values or attitudes toward women imposed on them.
The only solution I see is a two-pronged approach. On the home front we must ban the use of contraceptives, which will increase our population. Some restive bra burners are sure to arise against this plan, but the ‘Reeducation Campsâ€ which Obama is creating would hold most of them.
We must attack Islam by seeding their countries drinking water with female hormone contraceptives. At first glance an expensive proposition, but not so if we apply the free market principle. These hormones are known to cause erectile dysfunction, as long we give Big Pharma first dibs on selling Viagra to these infidels,they might even give the contraceptive hormones to the government for free. Who knows, overwhelmed by these new markets, Big Pharma might give all of us a respite from their constant advertising.
In the meantime, if the flue strikes and you are forced to go to the Emergency Department at your friendly neighborhood hospital, do not mention your fears about the impending Muslim hoards. Just keep coughing and tell them you feel lousy…
It is disconcerting to me that the wealth I accumulated during the Bush years has been devalued 10% during Obama’s first 6 months.
What’s your address? I will send you 20 bucks, that should cover your losses…