Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Opinion-- Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

Let me begin by addressing some of the fallacies in popular debate. The Nobel Peace Prize, itself, has drawn as much controversy in the past as the recent news that President Obama is this year's winner. The Nobel Committee has been praised as well as criticized for past nominations; such judgments are based on what I like to call a "Nobel Litmus Test" of lifelong merit. Let's take two past winners who rest on opposite sides of the Litmus scale. First winner- Martin Luther King Jr; a man who spent, and lost, his life striving for equal rights for African Americans. Second winner(s)- Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin; three men who were never able to broken a deal for Middle East peace before or after their Nobel award. A fact which negates the assumption that the Prize is a call to action, or a recognition of future accomplishments. Ergo, Obama can confidently take his place somewhere on the Litmus Scale.

Apart from the Litmus Scale and the legacy of past winners, it is my belief that President Obama should not have won the Nobel Prize. He is almost a year into his first year as President; hardly enough time to make any sweeping changes, especially the implausible expectations thrust by those who hail him as a messiah (and there are many). Regardless, look at the other nominees!! Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do, or anyone who died promoting democracy in Iran. The list is absurd.

But alas, Obama did not ask for this. He accepted the award with a rather halted demeanor as to insinuate disdain for the Committee's nomination. And is this not understandable?! Obama gains nothing from the Nobel. Domestically, no group will view him more favorably and, perhaps more importantly, no foreign power will be more inclined to deal with the United States. If anything, the Prize perpetuates Obama's portrayal as the "Rockstar President;" a winner of the award not as a recognition of his accomplishments, but as a result of his iconic popularity.

Congratulations Mr. President, now go change the world.

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