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A Nobel Prize? Really?

Entry 1130, on 2009-12-11 at 21:22:18 (Rating 3, Politics)

Any award or recognition of a person's contribution to the wellbeing of the world is sure to be debatable and sometimes controversial. Prizes for science are rarely disputed much although I'm sure there are plenty of people who deserved the Nobel Prize for a science and didn't get one. Of course, the prize for peace is obviously always going to be a more difficult thing to judge.

Even considering the difficulty of evaluating a person's contribution to peace I was surprised to see Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize this year. I think he is a generally good president and I agree with a lot of what he does, but I can't see that he's done enough for the cause of peace to be given the prize.

Its especially odd when you consider he has just committed tens of thousands of troops to the ongoing war in Afghanistan (although I admit that war has some justification) and is also actively engaged in the war in Iraq (which many people would say is unjustified).

So the US is responsible for more wars and death than any other nation on Earth yet its president gets the Nobel Peace Prize? Really? This does seem a bit odd.

I have just read through his speech and I must say I am quite impressed. He makes the point that sometimes war is necessary to achieve peace. Of course it was George Bush who started the war in Afghanistan so maybe he deserves the prize!

The idea that war is sometimes necessary to achieve peace is often true. Its hard to see how Nazi Germany would have been stopped by anything other than fighting back, for example. I think that is a bit less clear whether that would be appropriate in Afghanistan and very much less clear in relation to Iraq.

As I said, Obama didn't start either of these wars so in many ways he cannot be accused of being the aggressor but he hasn't stopped them either and he has also failed to get any real progress in peace talks in the Middle East. So just remind me again why he's getting this prize?

Maybe its just the fact that's there's no one else who obviously deserves it. I can't think of any examples of other leaders who have made much progress towards peace so maybe Obama was just chosen by default. But maybe it would have been better to not award the prize this year and wait until the outcome of various American policies become more clear before giving it to the US president.

As I said, I am generally a supporter of Obama so I shouldn't complain too much. There is perhaps one person I would have liked to have seen get it instead: Al Gore again! But that's just because I would have enjoyed the reaction of the global warming deniers I'm currently dealing with!


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