That Nobel Prize

by: Adam Bink

Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 10:35

In listening to chatter about the announcement this morning that President Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize, there seems to be a few schools of thought emerging.

The first is my own, which is that this is premature, and Nobels should be awarded for real accomplishments. Words and good intentions are not actions, and while Obama has helped move things along in areas like re-engaging the U.S. in world diplomacy... there remains a glaring lack of significant accomplishment. One colleague called it lingering European post-election love, especially considering that he was officially nominated in February of this year, just one month after taking office.

Another is that a Nobel serves as a booster for efforts- like eating Mario or Luigi finding a fire flower (laugh all you want, this is how eloquent I get on a Friday). As the Nobel committee chairman said:

In response to questions from reporters in Oslo, who noted that Obama so far has made little concrete progress in achieving his lofty agenda, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said he hoped the prize would add momentum to Obama's efforts. At the same time, Jagland said, "We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do."

I don't think I agree with that as the purpose of a Nobel prize, but as a progressive, I certainly like that kind of boost. I'll never say no to getting a booster towards ridding the world of nuclear arms, or peace in Israel, or combating global warming- all things Obama has dedicated himself towards. Robert Naiman points out that a Nobel was awarded to Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his efforts towards ending apartheid in South Africa, even though apartheid wasn't fully ended until a decade later. It was more of an encouragement than a note of real accomplishment.

In the end, since it seems more important to get that kind of boost to one's credibility, stature, etc. and actually achieve some good, I'm glad he was awarded the Prize. I remain wholly skeptical of both the rationale and any real accomplishments, but progress is more important, and this furthers progress.

Adam Bink :: That Nobel Prize

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That Nobel Prize | 42 comments
I think it's premature as well.... (4.00 / 2)
But it is so much fun to watch Obama's critics heads explode! I may even watch Rush on the net today, with the sound turned off, just to see if that over-inflated gasbag Hindenburghs all over the studio.

I think the right word is that awarding it now is inappropriate, (4.00 / 1)
or maybe even offensive. It will have been premature, if Obama does anything to promote peace. So far he has been close to zero as we are all painfully aware. I just don't know whether he is going to prove to be at all decent in this regard; certainly nothing now points that way. I hope in the end the award is premature and not a joke as in the Kissinger case.

[ Parent ]
He Is Just A Man (4.00 / 3)
When I heard the news, I beamed inside to imagine what Obama's feelings might be. Attacked by putrid hate and colossal ignorance from the right, on top of hostile, non-reality-based intellectualism from some on the left, the honor transcends the "slings and arrows" he is forced to endure. He is just a man. A great man.

Put down the Kool-aid (4.00 / 3)
and step away from the punchbowl.

[ Parent ]
Well, (4.00 / 4)
That is the first time this year I've heard "intellectualism" attacked by name.

It gets more and more like bein' at home wit' George Bush every day.

[ Parent ]
Don't you know we're supposed to go by (4.00 / 1)
emotion alone?

Obama: Catch the feeling!

[ Parent ]
Not only that... (4.00 / 2)
But chocolate rations have been increased for the 13th week in a row!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
Heart and Mind (0.00 / 0)
"The heart tells you want you want; the head tells you how to get there."

[ Parent ]
Wishful Dreams (0.00 / 0)
It was wishful dreams that made Obama out to be a god, and now you curse him when you find out that he's just a man.

[ Parent ]
He's not even a man. (0.00 / 0)
Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi, Medgar Evers...these were MEN.  They didn't spew pretty words but otherwise do nothing, as Obama does.  They backed up their rhetoric with action.  They fought like hell.  They weren't afraid to die for their beliefs, and they did just that, because what they fought for was worth more than their own lives, worth far more than mere political convenience or expediency.  Obama is not a man.  He is just another empty suit lying to us all and laughing at how so many of us still fawn over him.  He thinks you're a joke.

Here's another example of a MAN: Harry Truman.  Yes, he had his flaws.  But in the midst of an uncertain election, with just about every powerful political figure and group against him on it, he desegregated the U.S. military.  He did it because it was the right thing to do, consequences be damned.  And guess what?  He still managed to get elected president in his own right.

In today's screwed up world, boys are considered men and men are treated like children - retarded ones at that.  Kucinich, Nader, and a host of other people worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize have done more than Obama ever will, since long before he entered into politics, and they will continue to do so long after he leaves office.

[ Parent ]
Rename The Award (0.00 / 0)
To "Nobel Prize For Promoting Peace & International Cooperation".  Sure, it's longer, but it's more accurate.  That's what they've given the award out for, both in the past and now.

Still, way premature.  Now he REALLY has to get a fair Israel-Palestine peace accord...

Sure (0.00 / 0)
I view the TIME Person of the Year award in the same light, which people still think is for the person who accomplished significant goals during the year, when really it's who "for better or for worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year."

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[ Parent ]
Its political (4.00 / 3)
The Nobel Peace Prize's aims are expressly political. The Nobel committee seeks to change the world through the prize's very conferral, and, unlike its fellow prizes, the peace prize goes well beyond recognizing past accomplishments. As Francis Sejersted, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the 1990s, once proudly admitted, "The prize ... is not only for past achievement. ... The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account [because] ... Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act."

I can't believe (0.00 / 0)
that I'm the first person to point out that the prize was also awarded to Henry Kissinger. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Yeah, it's hardly sacred (0.00 / 0)
If I'm not mistaken, Kissinger won one for fine work on Vietnam shortly after he engineered the coup in Chile.  

[ Parent ]
Didn't Nixon and Kissinger share it (0.00 / 0)
For the China talks?  Still messed up to give the award to that team, but much less so for cold war thawing.  

[ Parent ]
I don't think so (0.00 / 0)
I think Kissinger won it along with a North Vietnamese negotiator.  

[ Parent ]
I looked it up (0.00 / 0)
you're right.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget (0.00 / 0)
Yasser Arafat either.

[ Parent ]
That award was shared... (0.00 / 0)
...with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. Just sayin'...

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
The only way it's not a utter travesty (4.00 / 3)
is if we assume the award can be given for a relatively narrow aspect of his portfolio: seeking nuclear arms control, being more like Bush Senior than Bush Junior.

But then that requires us to overlook his continuing Bush's war on terror in most of its particulars: torture by proxy, denial of basic rights like Habeas Corpus, summary executions of terrorist suspects, the violation of other's countries sovereignty, reliance on drone attacks that kill and terrorize civilians, the Gulag known as Bargam, etc.

It would be one thing, maybe, if Obama were merely continuing the policies of American presidents since the early days of the Cold War--then the Nobel Prize would be merely accepting Empire--but in fact, Obama is institutionalizing and bipartisaninzing many of the abuses fashioned by Bush.

I suspect that the Nobel Committee--like many people here--will end up disillusioned.  

Yes! (4.00 / 1)
If we only focus on the nuclear thing he hasn't accomplished(nor will, for that matter) and totally ignore all the things he's done thus far as Bush2.0, then it all seems much more reasonable!

It would seem the Nobel Committee has been taken over by zombies as well. I'm beginning to wonder just how much absurdism the human race can tolerate before it implodes.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
yeah (4.00 / 1)
reliance on drone attacks that kill and terrorize civilians, the Gulag known as Bargam

those were the 2 things that came to my mind when I heard the news this morning

[ Parent ]
This Is Just Absurd (4.00 / 2)
Not nearly as absurd as Henry Kissinger getting it.  (Hitler was dead by then.)

But absurd, nonetheless.

It's not like there aren't all sorts of people who are struggling in relative obscurity, whose efforts would be tremendously supported by this sort of recognition.

But, then, I guess that had to hurry up and give it to him, before the real Afghan bloodbath begins.

Too bad LBJ didn't get one before Vietnam heated up.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Even worse... (0.00 / 0)
Obama has been president for a whopping nine months and the closest parallel we can come up with re Peeance Prizes is Henry K.

Whereas it took the K-thug years to win that kind of "praise", killing millions of Asians, our guy has already cemented that rep in no time flat.

Good times.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
I hear Obama's also going to win the Cy Young (0.00 / 0)
[rimshot, laughter]

That's "progress" too, right?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

He's earned his establishment award ... (4.00 / 1)
... he's served the establishment quite well so far and apparently they think he's got great potential to serve them even better in the future.

kissinger won a nobel peace prize for NOT bringing peace to vietnam, tommy friedmann's mantle is littered with pulitzer prizes, paul "there is no danger of inflation and the loss of the dollar as the king fiat currency ain't no big deal" krugman got one for apparently making sense of things that already happened Ccan it be applied to things that haven't happened yet?  Probably not.), and now the pope of hope who has lied to and sold out the american people in so many ways by producing practically zero change while talking so much shit gets one for words with no actions behind them.  

He has redefined getting out of iraq as LEAVING 50,000 troops there.  We're still bombing innocent afghanis with our cowardly drone hits, israel still thumbs their noses at us as settlements continue to sprout up and get redefined while he follows up his words by applying zero leverage to a country we give so much foreign aid to.  International war crimes and criminals have been covered up.  rendition continues.  Gitmo has simply been out sourced.  The ante has been raised in afghanastan.  Supposedly he threatened england to not share intelligence info if they released embarrassing info about us ... I don't necessarily buy into this.  He's protected and rewarded the criminals that have raped the world economy and have caused so much death and pain and suffering to tens of ... hundreds of ... millions of innocent people as a result.  But hey, again, the establishment is thrilled with his ability to sedate so many with meaningless words and they want us to continue to mainline the hope dope so they give him an establishment award to boost his cred.  If he had any decency at all, he's turn it down ... it's a farce as is he thus far.  

I got more respect for the razzie award winners ...


Who knew that Nobel Prizes were aspirational? (4.00 / 1)
Maybe if they gave the economics prize to Geithner and Bernanke they might feel compelled to do a better job.

Same for the sciences. Had I received the Nobel for Chemistry when I was in my first year of graduate school, I would have accomplished so much more over the next 15 years.

What I will always remember of this day, however, was the juxtaposition of the two top stories on public radio this morning. First the story of the Nobel Peace prize going to Pres. Obama. Immediately following was a story about the President meeting with his "war cabinet" to discuss sending more soldiers to Afghanistan. Almost surreal.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

More aspirational than people realize (0.00 / 0)
The nomination deadline was February Ist.

[ Parent ]
Here's some more news today to justapose this with ... (4.00 / 1)
Peace an illusion, says Israel FM:


[ Parent ]
Actually (0.00 / 0)
As I date an academic economist, I traffick in some discussion re this, and there's a lot of general agreement is that at least Summers, and possibly Bernanke, will one day earn Nobels for their early academic work.

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[ Parent ]
He should politely decline (4.00 / 1)
I think there's broad agreement that this is premature, and there is no downside to politely declining the prize.  He can still give a grand speech on the importance of acting in concert to address global issues, repudiate torture/war/violence/poverty, etc.

Like Travolta's character in (0.00 / 0)
Saturday Night Fever.  

[ Parent ]
maybe he can put the prize on lay-a-way (4.00 / 1)
Pick it up AFTER he makes some peace in the world.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Thank you Z (0.00 / 0)
Obamma should be also awarded a prize for turning meaningful english words into political gibberish.

To quote an earlier poster, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

Conservative......CNN news:Nopenhagen: US PRES 2 WKS LATE ATTEND 1 DAY, GORE JOURNEY BY TRAIN.

There's a little-known stipulation... (0.00 / 0)
in awarding the prize. In honor of its founder, the inventor of dynamite, who believed in peace through the invention of  ever-more-terrible weapons, every so often the prize is given to, in the words of MLK Jr:

"...the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."  

jimmy carter rolls his eyes (0.00 / 0)

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Competition? (0.00 / 0)
Why not?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

Libruls and wingnuts finally agree! (4.00 / 2)
My head just asploded.

"BONK…BONK…BONK…BONK… (0.00 / 0)
...(that's the sound I imagine Hillary Clinton's head made banging against the wall this morning.)"

A friend just posted that on Facebook...I'm sharing.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

Here's Glenn Greenwald's very balanced ... as usual ... take (0.00 / 0)
I changed my mind (4.00 / 2)
After hearing Obama's response and some of the discussion on the MPR call-in show (Minnesota Public Radio; 91.1 FM) it seems like a good idea on the part of the Nobel Committee. Maybe not their BEST idea, but the downside is virtually non-existent and the potential up-side is significant. Obama strikes me as the kind of person who will feel personally indebted to this prize that he admits he does not deserve.

There are going to come times in the next few years (days?) when Obama is going to be alone with his thoughts, trying to figure a way through some kind of problem or crisis and if he stops to think about his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize at that moment, it may have an effect. He might decide that he has a chance to earn the prize and make a decision against war and violence.

I don't know if this will happen. I'm not even sure I'd bet $ on it. But why not cover that base?

Plus, it really pisses off the right wingers and Republicans. Its like extra whipped cream on a sundae.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

That Nobel Prize | 42 comments

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