Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nobel Noble

The President has received his Nobel Prize. His speech was very good, although it to sounded to me like he was really speaking to the domestic audience, trying to distance himself from the pacifist leanings of the Democratic Party. What better way to make the point than to go in front of an audience inclined to disagree with the content and deliver a "courageous" speech. It is a time honored political strategy.

I'm still mystified as to why the award was given. I guess he got it for not being George W. Bush. The Nobel committee seems to be pushing it own agenda, rather than rewarding accomplishment or even effort.

I wonder if they even read the rules.

This is from the Nobel Prize Website;

FebruaryDeadline for submission. The Committee bases its assessment on nominations that must be postmarked no later than 1 February each year. Nominations postmarked and received after this date are included in the following year's discussions. In recent years, the Committee has received close to 200 different nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. The number of nominating letters is much higher, as many are for the same candidates.
On February 1 Obama had only been in office for a few days.

And this from Wikipedia.

Alfred Nobel left a fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".
What did he do in the preceding year that warranted this prestigious award? Certainly running for President is not enough or Eugene McCarthy would have won for his anti-war campaign.

Checking who won the award I find some interesting choices.

Two U S Presidents have previously won while in office. Both for significant accomplishments.

Teddy Roosevelt won in 1906 award while President for "for his successful mediation to end the Russo-Japanese war and for his interest in arbitration, having provided the Hague arbitration court with its very first case"

Woodrow Wilson won in 1919 for founding the League of Nations.

Two other awards were won by others but probably should have included the presidents.

In 1978 Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin were awarded the peace prize for the Camp David Peace Accords, brokered by Jimmy Carter. Without his personal involvement I doubt the agreement would have happened.

Then there is the weird award in 1973 to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho (who to his credit refused the award) for the intellectually dishonest Vietnam Peace Treaty, somehow leaving out Richard Nixon who no doubt had at least as much involvement in the agreement as Kissinger.

Jimmy Carter did finally win the award in 2002 for being the best ex-President ever.

Of the 97 individuals so far honored, 22 are from the US, more than any other country.

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