Friday, October 9, 2009

The Obama Peace Prize

There is much that Obama is doing that is not particularly peaceful. However, I think that the strongest argument for him deserving it is in a post by me still up here on good news about US-Iran relations. His agreement with Iran about their enriched uranium is a serious move towards reducing the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East, including importantly because it reduces the probability of an Israeli strike by Israel on Iran. This outcome, on the very first day of negotiations, reflected some very smart moves by Obama, including his cancellation of the ABM sites in Eastern Europe, which brought the Russians on board. Also, I would say that the timing of his announcement in Pittsburgh about the second reactor in Iran was perfect.

Beyond this, those who are so loudly complaining about the prize, I am waiting to hear from any of them who was more deserving of it this year who has not already gotten it? Should we give it to the leader of Sri Lanka for ending the war by defeating the Tamil Tigers and killing their leader? Any other candidates?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Nobel committee gave the US a gift of soft power.

Imagine if you are Chavez and Ahmadinijad and have been telling your citizens that the US is the devil.

We have a gift of soft power. We can lose it.

Also: Here's a joke: The Nobel committee awarded Obama the Peace prize because of his special relationship with Norway.

Afterall, he was born in Norway.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

A.,

Good joke.

BTW, it has just been announced that Turkey and Armenia are about to open diplomatic relatons, two nations who have had extremely bad relations for a long time. I read reports some time ago that Obama was working behind the scenes very strongly on this issue. If he is not the main force behind the agreement, he undoubtedly played a significant role. Good timing for the prize, given that one.

TheTrucker said...

I am much more interested in the effects of this award than I am in the assessments of whether or not it is deserved. Bush nor Chaney nor KcBush nor Palin could have ever attacked Iran in any legitimate way. That does not remain true for Barak Obama, the winner of the prize for peace. It is called legitimacy and it is a very large tool of diplomacy. Knowing that he is facing a legitimate representative of the civilized world in the person of Obama, Ahmajinedad is going to have his work cut out for him.

Anonymous said...

Chinese Human Rights Activist Hu Jia – imprisoned for campaigning for human rights in the PRC, not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system. — not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama. (Not to mention the symbolic value of awarding a Chinese dissident on the 20th Anniversary of the Tianenmen Square Massacre.)

Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute has built nearly 80 schools, especially for girls, in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past 15 years – not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, a philosophy professor in Jordan who risks his life by advocating interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims, also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar. She currently leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and serves as the U.N. special envoy to Darfur and is apparently also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Anonymous said...

Ouch... Anon has some good points... All those should have eaten Obama's lunch....

Barkley Rosser said...

Anon.

Best alternative list I have seen so far. From other blogs (this discussion is all over the place, after all) the sorts of names thrown out have included Bono, Cindy Sheehan, Bill Gates, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Peter Dorman said...

Although several of its members have won individually, I think a case can be made for a collective award to The Elders

One Salient Oversight said...

I don't know of any one more worthy than Obama, yet I would assume that there are plenty.

Awarding the Nobel Prize should be like becoming a member of the "Hall of Fame" in sporting circles - it recognises what you have done rather than what you promised to do.

Sandwichman said...

From a publicity standpoint, the Obama prize was a brilliant move for the Nobel committee. Brendan Behan's "there is no such thing as bad publicity, except your own obituary" applies here. As long as the award to Obama is not so egregious as to be downright dishonorable, it is a plus for the committee because it has gotten them billions of dollars worth of free publicity.

The people anonymous named above may well be more deserving that BHO, but they're page 12 news. I've never heard of them and neither have you.

Giving the prize to Obama was the biggest story since Michael Jackson's death. Come to think of it, though, MJ disproved the Behan aphorism. His obituary raked in billions in sales for his records. So maybe there's no such thing as bad publicity, period.

davod said...

Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

Peter H said...

Barkley,

I'm astonished that you'd suggest the Sri Lanka President for the Nobel Prize. The same guy whose offensive against the Tamil Tigers resulted in the deaths (according to the UN) of 20,000 civilians?

Max said...

Peter. . . that was called saracasm.

Peter H said...

Thanks, Max. I feel like an idiot. :)

kevin quinn said...

A few days before the award, I saw one of my esteemed colleagues in the hall. He had sent us the ladbroke's odds with Fama at the top of the list. I said this looks like a disaster - Fama getting it, I meant, at this juncture, with the EMH rvealed for the useless farrago of nonsense it has always been: he just looked at me, clueless. What's the problem, his eyes said. I didn't pursue it. Water off the duck's back, it would have been, I'm sure.

kevin quinn said...

Whoops! That last comment was obviously meant for the thread on the Economics prize, not the Peace prize - and Barkley's note about the grad students calling it Nobel BS.

kevin quinn said...

I note that Robert Waldman finds BO's Peace Prize too much, even though he thought he was the "most obamaniacal obamaniac in the world." I will gladly take the MOOW torch from the faltering Robert! I'm fine with the prize going to POTUS.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Kevin,

Fama has topped all the prediction markets year after year. Does not your colleague not know this? Part of the evidence why the thing is such a joke. Roger Myerson was not even on any list two years ago when he won.