For anyone who still had doubts that the Nobel Peace Prize has become little more than political grandstanding in recent years, this fact was utterly proven today with the announcement that United States President Barack Obama has been named the winner of this year's award. Liberals across the country are doing a happy dance because this somehow proves them right, but what does it really mean? Absolutely nothing.
Set aside political posturing and partisan bickering for a moment and look at the facts. Nominations for this award were due in by February 1 of this year, by which date Obama had held office for barely eleven days. Short of maybe single-handedly saving the world from an alien invasion, I think we can all agree that it is not physically possible to have accomplished enough in less than two weeks to justify a nomination for what is supposed to be one of the most prestigious awards in the world. The list of "accomplishments" the Nobel Committee claims for Obama were nothing more than campaign speeches at the time he was nominated. Have you ever heard of anyone winning such a high award for campaign speeches? Because I haven't.
To be perfectly blunt, that list of so-called accomplishments is still nothing more than speeches, more than half a year later.
- "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"
Extraordinary? He's made - what? - one major speech on this subject, last week at the United Nations?
- "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons"
Okay, I'll give you this one. He talks about this a lot. But what has he actually done about it? Not much. I'm not saying that he won't, but he hasn't. Perhaps we should wait till he's actually done something before we give him an award for doing something?
- "USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting"
Whether you agree with this particular issue or not, you might want to notice that not one single initiative that Obama has pushed in this regard has actually passed yet. Again, nothing yet but speeches.
- "Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened."
Notice the key words there: "are to be". It hasn't happened, but it will happen. Hasn't just about every U.S. President ever promised that this will happen? Regardless of what the results actually turn out to be, the prediction by someone is that it will improve democracy and human rights around the world. It rarely works out that way, but the promise is always made. Only this time you get an award just for making a promise.
It may be that Obama becomes a president and world figure who earns a Nobel Peace Prize in the future. His stated ideals and goals - disarmament, climate change action, healthcare, etc - are certainly well within the preferred areas of accomplishment for the Nobel Committee, but there is, as yet, no accomplishment. The Nobel Committee has only cheapened their award with what is blatantly nothing more than political posturing. This announcement says, "You are not Bush and you seem to do things the way we like, so we're going to pat you on the head for it, regardless of what the award is supposed to stand for." Liberals who are cheering this are only reinforcing the stereotype that they care more for prizes than for what is earned. For the record, I have seen some people say, essentially, "I love Obama and do believe that he will earn this award in the future, but this is ridiculous," so I know those people are out there as well.
This is ridiculous. This is, in fact, the kind of condescending, paternal attitude that liberal's get accused of displaying all the time. "I don't care what you've accomplished. Your heart's in the right place so here's a gold-plated cookie." If Obama were half the politician he thinks he is, he would graciously decline the award and ask to wait until he has accomplished more before being nominated again. Can you imagine the brownie points that would score?