I promised myself I wouldn’t make a big deal out of President Obama’s winningÂ the Nobel Peace Prize. Still I must admit I find it a little funny. I guessÂ I always thought you had to do something to win the Nobel Peace Prize (I assumed that breaking from the policies of George W. Bush doesn’t count.) In the words of my friend Joseph who just returned from teaching English in Egypt ”Oh, come on…I travel around the world spreading good will and all… Obviously a major contribution to peace in the Middle East. At least they could have come up with a better reason than “Plans for a Nuclear Free World.” I mean, I have plans to colonize Mars, but I didn’t get a prize.”
So what does this prize really mean and why was Obama chosen? To see what the award means we have to look forward and back. Historically this award may turn out to not mean much. Quick, how many former Nobel Peace Prize winners can you name?
How about I name a few: Emily Greene Balch (in 1946), Philip Noel-Baker (1959)Âand Sen MacBride. Who are these people? Maybe that is the best question. You see, history has a way of passing different judgments on people as their accomplishments are put up against the test of time. In fact here are two examples of Nobel Peace Prize winning efforts failing after being awarded.
Woodrow Wilson (1919) who won his Nobel for the “Treaty of Versailles”. Now as a student of History it is my opinion thatÂ almost every major world problem since then has at least some of it’s roots in Versailles. It drew up the modern boundaries of the middle east. It placed unrealistic economic expectations on Germany which poisoned the Wiemar Republic and gave Hitler his path to power and so forth. Needless to say the fruits of this prize winning treaty were less than wonderful.
Frank Kellogg (1929) who won for the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which banned war as “an instrument of national policy.” Japan and Germany both signed the treaty and well…I guess they kept it for a few years.
Interestingly, we may find that President Obama may have done about as much as other past winners of the Nobel Prize which is to say nothing, or in some cases the wrong thing.
So what in the long run will this mean? Well, we don’t actually know. The award essentially is a pat on the back and nice job from Europe; a ‘congratulations you’re not President Bush.’ True, it will give President Obama greater clout in his diplomatic aims, but one must wonder if in the next Somali Pirate standoff or border dispute how much being a Nobel Peace Prize winner will affect his decisions?
I for one find the whole argument overrated except for the fact that it again shows how obsessed the left is with their new leader. Winning the Nobel Prize purely on charisma and idealism shows how powerful a leader he is. One can only hope that that power is not misused.