Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, October 09, 2009

They Like The Look of This Fellow

Though I'd disagree with his conclusion that this is in any way "a bold step" (it strikes me rather as a silly but rather conformist step, if you think about the sort of circles the Nobel committee moves in) I think this BBC commentator gets things pretty much right in saying "Obama gets reward for world view":
In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honouring his intentions more than his achievements.

After all he has been in office only just over eight months and he will presumably hope to serve eight years, so it is very early in his term to get this award.

The committee does not make any secret of its approach. It states that he is being given the prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples."

This is of course an implied criticism of former US president George W Bush and the neo-conservatives, who were often accused of trying to change the world in their image.
It's tempting, of course, to point out that Obama doesn't deserve the award because he hasn't achieved anything, and plenty of people are asking, "For what?" But really, I think it's questionable that even the Nobel committee thinks President Obama has achieved much of anything yet. Rather, he's the sort of person they like to see as president of the United States, and so (even though he'd only been in office for ten days as of the nomination deadline this year) he was nominated and selected in order to express approval for the simple fact that someone with his worldview is now president of the US.

Now, if Obama were to be deeply classy, he'd decline the prize saying that he doesn't want to be awarded a prize when he doesn't believe that he's yet achieved what he should in the world. He would then get the recognition of being selected, but the even greater recognition for being realistic about where he currently is in his presidency. I'm not holding my breath, but if he does I'll be impressed.


Anonymous said...

The Nobel Committee has a history of awarding the Peace Prize for dubious achievements, Gorbachev, Gore, el-Baradi; but this is the first time it has been given for no achievement. The sad thing is that it will encourage this year's winner to make peace at any cost with the likes of Iran, etc. He won't be able to take a hard line for fear of not living up to his award. We are moving into even more dangerous times.

Anonymous said...

1) The Nobel Peace Prize Committee is separate from all the other Nobel Committees. (Most of the Nobel Prize committees are based in Sweden - the Peace Prize Committee, alone, is based in Norway);

2) The NPPC is political, and overtly so. Their chartered purpose, after all, is to encourage good behavior on the world stage;

3) No, President Obama hasn't accomplished much of anything yet, unless you count the fact that he has made peace with his Democratic Primary opponent, Mrs. Clinton (a significant accomplishment, but not quite the scale that the NPPC is supposed to care about). We should assume that the members of the NPPC are not morons, they know perfectly well that Obama's resume is, as yet, too thin to justify this honor;

4) So why did they give him this award? Presumably, they want to lend their prestige to him, and thus strengthen his hand politically and enable him to do the things he wants to do.

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee is voting against the Republican leadership. They are doing so, knowingly, at significant risk to their own stature and prestige.


Bill Hoog said...

Now, if Obama were to be deeply classy, he'd decline the prize saying that he doesn't want to be awarded a prize when he doesn't believe that he's yet achieved what he should in the world. ROFLMAO!!

Chances of that happening: Slim and None!

Claude said...

Was this the first Nobel award in the Paris Hilton category (famous for being famous) or were there others who received the award for having nice hair?