Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize — really?

I am a supporter of Barack Obama.

He is one of my heroes. I can say that he has single-handedly restored my faith in politics. Having been a political science major, I saw politics as just a phenomenon to observe and analyze. Living in the Philippines makes that position all the more convenient. But Obama has compelled me to take a more active part in it. His story has inspired me to write my own, believing that there is an arc to our lives that summons us to do greater things. After eight years of George W. Bush, America looks so great again.

But the Nobel Peace prize? This early?

Congratulations are in order, of course, but I am left scratching my head. I suppose this says more about how the institution of the Nobel Peace Prize has grown more irrelevant than how little Obama has accomplished in less than a year in office. I emphasize little because we have to put things in perspective here — this is just his first year and he kicked off his administration with a broad attack on all issues. All these initiatives need to be given time to bear fruit.

But right now, Afghanistan is still a mess. His commitment to improving America’s carbon footprint has yet to transcend his rhetoric. He has restored multilateralism in the world, but how far will that take him with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela? Domestically, things are still shaky. His promise to reform the financial system threatens to be mere lip service again. And health care? Oh my.

It seems that the committee actually awarded Candidate Obama rather than President Obama. The power of his promise has indeed spurred a global consciousness shift of sorts — just look at how our own 2010 National Elections is already being framed — but is that all it takes to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

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9 thoughts on “Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize — really?

  1. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is pushing the phrase “Audacity of Hope” to the limits. Like the memes and jokes that have resulted from the National Artist fiasco, I’m sure this will have its own string of mockeries. What a disappointment for one of the world’s most revered icons of humanitarianism.

    I totally don’t understand why Obama did not decline the award, and why he didn’t decline at the level of nomination. One of the candidates for the Nobel Peace prize this year, a friend of my dad, was fully aware that he was being considered. And the screening process even involves both overt and covert investigation.

  2. The Nobel Peace Prize is for “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations”.

    Obama single-handedly restored your faith in politics, and probably did the same for millions around the world. That should be enough.

  3. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/07/30/dangerous_prize:

    “The Nobel Peace Prize’s aims are expressly political. Francis Sejersted, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the 1990s, once proudly admitted, “The prize … is not only for past achievement. … The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account [because] … Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act.”

  4. Thanks, Brandon. I’ve read that piece but lost track of it somehow. Been wanting to quote that very part.

    My question is this though — If it’s a political act, then to what end?

    It can potentially boost Obama’s brand of diplomacy, but also sets expectations incredibly high for him. This award can be a poisonous talking point come his reelection bid in 2012 if he is unable to deliver the change he so promised. That’s a cynical thing to say, but those Republicans will say just about anything.

  5. Mike, I thought and felt the very same way at first then I remembered that he is the current President of the United States. Aspirations aren’t enough when he has results to deliver. He still has an incredibly large agenda and still so much left to show for it. On the other hand, how he has reinvigorated America’s standing in the world is a powerful achievement in and of itself. Nevertheless, I feel that the award is a tad premature and potentially politically dangerous.

  6. It’s a political move by the Nobel Committee precisely to give Obama some form of international approval. He may have overwhelmingly won the US elections, but that’s a local affair. Especially in the post-Bush era where America has become so despised in the Middle East and Latin America, they could hardly care about the choice of Americans for president.

    It’s like the Nobel committee has thrown their support for Obama the best way they can, by giving him the Peace Price.

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