The real problem with Obama’s Peace Prize: not its prematurity

Many commentators have claimed that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama’s was ill-advised, since it was premature.  The commentators have claimed that the award should be given for real achievements, and not just for the President’s hopeful rhetoric.  The problem, the critics say, is that it is still too early to tell whether Obama’s abstract words and sentiments will ever be translated into real accomplishments.  Perhaps the critics are right to say that the Nobel committee ‘jumped the gun’ and acted too early in this respect.  But to my mind, there a deeper problem with the the Nobel committee’s decision. The deeper problem is not that the decision reflects an inappropriate precipitousness; the deeper problem, rather, is that the committee’s decision lags too far behind the times, and fails to demonstrate the future-oriented,  visionary courageousness that a Peace Prize decision ought to demonstrate.    Consider: for many months now, the world community has almost unambiguously endorsed the nobler sentiments expressed by the President’s statements about the need for greater openness, multilateralism, and cooperation in global affairs; through his compelling rhetoric, Barack Obama has already won the world’s attention, affection, and good will.  But a Nobel Peace Prize committee ought to do more than merely lend their rubber-stamp-like approval to the ideas and hopes that the world has already accepted from an American President.  A Nobel Peace Prize committee ought to take risks by calling attention to some deserving person or persons whose peace-building efforts might really benefit from the added attention and endorsement.  Throughout the world today, there are literally hundreds of such deserving individuals who regularly risk their lives for peace, and whose success in such noble efforts is by no means assured.  Sadly, instead looking boldly forward and endorsing a cause that could really use their help, the feckless fellows on the Nobel Peace Prize committee chose merely to endorse the rhetoric that we all already believe in.  The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize decision represents a blown opportunity to make a real difference to the cause of peace in the world, and to re-assure the world community that the Peace Prize itself remains genuinely relevant.

One Response to “The real problem with Obama’s Peace Prize: not its prematurity”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Completely agree. In my view, the Nobel Peace Prize became less prestigious based on this decision.

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