President Obama wins Nobel Prize-Sends Thank You Note to GW Bush

US President Barack Obama today became the third sitting US President awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Despite taking office only two weeks before the nomination deadline of 2.1.2009, the Nobel committee praised Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.  The choice was such a shock that many in the room for the announcement gasped in surprise.

I-as do all Americans-congratulate President Obama on this magnificent tribute. Nonetheless, I find the award ill-timed.

I suggest that President Obama should send a thank you note to George W. Bush ASAP, because clearly this award was less for what Obama has done and more for his not being George W. Bush.

President Obama has been in office less than nine months. He has spent much of that time dealing with domestic politics and economic issues. Necessity has made foreign policy something of a back burner concern…and yet it is enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize? Come on…

Compare his accomplishments to the other sitting presidents who have received this award:

Teddy Roosevelt negotiated the end of the Russo-Japanese War, i.e., he stopped a conflict bringing…peace. A substantive achievement.

Woodrow Wilson was the prime proponent of and a primary creator of the League of Nations, an international body tasked with helping achieve peaceful solutions to world problems…also a substantive achievement.

Barack Obama-did some talking. The prize has been given out for work on environmental concerns (Al Gore, Wangari Maathai of Kenya), Economics (Muhammad Yunus for fostering micro credits), negotiation and ending conflict (Martti Ahtisaari).

President Obama-talked.

You would be correct to point out that many awards have been given for people who have “fostered” a better world, but it has typically been for a specific act or actions over a period of years. They have been activists. Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King come to mind, but there are also Shirin Ebabi of Iran and Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. Recipients have not only spoken out to foster a better world, they have lived the example and they have done it over a period of years.

President Obama-not so much.

It is unfortunate for our President this award came to him now. It is clearly not an award for what he has achieved, but for what he is not-namely, his predecessor. The Nobel Prize Committee was outspoken in its opposition to the foreign policy of G.W.Bush, and they have recognized his predecessor simply because he is not ol’ GW. How much better for him if the award came later in his first term, when they could make the same highly generalized claim but with a better foundation for the award.

Yep, send that thank you note to #43…and resign yourself to the idea that history will likely consider this award as one of more politically motivated in the history of the Nobel Prize.

UPDATE: Lest I be derided as being “partisan” or “a hater”, see Lowell’s commentary at Blue Virginia.  Folks across the political spectrum are shocked yet cognizant of the true driving force behind this award.

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2 thoughts on “President Obama wins Nobel Prize-Sends Thank You Note to GW Bush

  1. I agree with you. Perhaps President Obama does to some degree as well. This is an excerpt from an e-mail from him.
    “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace…I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

  2. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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