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Nobel Prize Committee



October 09, 2009 – Comments (15) | RELATED TICKERS: CE

Maybe they got it right.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009

How different is President Obama from President Bush whose "march to war" was far more like Hitler than any action taken by President Obama to date. 

Perhaps President Obama has already made a positive difference. From the American Enterprise Institute in 2003.

In other words, the fundamental premise of the Bush Doctrine is true: The United States possesses the means--economic, military, diplomatic--to realize its expansive geopolitical purposes. Further, and especially in light of the domestic political reaction to the attacks of September 11, the victory in Afghanistan and the remarkable skill demonstrated by President Bush in focusing national attention, it is equally true that Americans possess the requisite political willpower to pursue an expansive strategy.

Second, the description of the threats to U.S. interests advanced in the National Security Strategy is also an accurate one. America faces no immediate great-power threat, no superpower doppelgŠnger to replace the Soviet Union. The Russian empire has contracted to a 400-year "low," and Moscow has proven militarily incapable of subduing a single insurrectionist province. More importantly, Russia seems to have lost the appetite for empire, as it has become increasingly democratic and geopolitically inclined toward the West and the United States. The immediate post-cold-war fears of Russian revanche have not been realized.

The two other candidates as great-power balancers to American primacy, the People's Republic of China and the European Union, likewise are not immediately up to the challenge. A few observers believe that, as Europe becomes more politically integrated, it will take issue with American geopolitical leadership. "It is now Europe's turn to ascend and break away from an America that refuses to surrender its privileges of primacy," writes Charles Kupchan, a former Clinton administration official now at Georgetown University. "Europe will inevitably rise up as America's principal competitor." Some regard the defiance of France and Germany over Iraq as an occasion of "soft balancing"--the use of so-called "soft power" to offset American military might, diplomatic determination, and ideological motivation. Yet it does not seem as if

the Europeans will be successful in thwarting the Bush administration's march to war. It is far more likely that Europe will remain essentially content with its status as a junior partner in the current Pax Americana, demanding a certain amount of deference--and, after Iraq, perhaps very little deference--but still fundamentally unwilling to forge or employ the tools of "hard power" needed to create a genuinely multipolar international order.


15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 09, 2009 at 2:36 PM, bcnu6 (30.15) wrote:

While my initial reaction was incredulous in light of Obama's limited accomplishments, on further reflection I think it makes sense.  Unlike the other Nobel prizes to recognize accomplishments, as Obama pointed out, the peace prize has often been used "to give momentum to a set of causes" or to recognize ideals, even if unfulfilled.  In this light, being the anti-Bush may be enough.

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#2) On October 09, 2009 at 2:51 PM, sentinelbrit (58.00) wrote:

The award is revealing in a number of ways: 1. it shows just how bad Bush's foreign policy was perceived by the rest of the world; 2. how the European have taken to Obama, 3. how tough it must have been to find someone really worthy of the prize.


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#3) On October 09, 2009 at 3:08 PM, devoish (78.10) wrote:


Yes, including that your "initial reaction" matched mine, until I read the announcement for myself rather than have it described to me.


Also yes and 1, how Bush was perceived by many Americans too, although 2, he is losing Americans as he is not strong enough left and 3, one other post suggested other nominees might have been more deserving, but who were they?

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#4) On October 09, 2009 at 3:28 PM, jesusfreakinco (28.37) wrote:

being the anti-Bush may be enough.

Hmm... Funny.  


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#5) On October 09, 2009 at 3:36 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

# 3 - Sarkozy was another candidate. I really like Sarkozy. I think he was more deserving, all politics aside.

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#6) On October 09, 2009 at 3:43 PM, devoish (78.10) wrote:



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#7) On October 09, 2009 at 3:52 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

# 6 - Yes, he was another candiate. Yes, I like him. Yes, politics set aside I think Sarkozy has put more energy behind the cause of peace.

I know you must think I am a horrible Libertarian for liking a French president! *Runs crying from the computer.*


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#8) On October 09, 2009 at 4:30 PM, AbstractMotion (< 20) wrote:

This kind of makes me feel sorry for our nation as a whole really.  Not that Obama got the prize, but the idea that as a nation just having a competent President is worthy of an award.  In general I think the prizes have been so largely politicized that it's not surprising.  I mean Al Gore won one as well, which made no sense at all to me.


I'm sure there's people trying to end tribal violence in Africa that could actually use that prize money to make a real difference somewhere.  I imagine Obama will give the money to a worthy charity though if he hasn't already.


Once again, this isn't a snub against Obama.  I like how he's been handling foreign policy for the most part, but he hasn't actually "done" anything yet.  And the idea that an elected official should need some encouragement to do the right thing is somewhat insulting.  Especially the idea that we need to be awarded for not going power mad and starting WW3.


Then again Europeans do have a pretty good track record about appeasing anyone they find remotely threatening... zing! 

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#9) On October 09, 2009 at 4:53 PM, SkepticalOx (98.61) wrote:

You also have to question if peace in itself is something good at the expense of other things.

I don't buy the crap that some libertarians spew about military interventionism abroad and that we should only focus on defense (or even the more extremist views that the state doesn't need it's own military, and then a militia will do). That's just being ignorant of the history of states.

Other states would gladly step in the place of America to fill the void with their own armies and their own ideas, and that has a direct effect on Americans.

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#10) On October 09, 2009 at 6:02 PM, devoish (78.10) wrote:


Thanks for the reply. My guess would have been that you leaned more toward Chirac than Sarkosy, and his work toward peace (failed in preventing war in Iraq). I would like a moment to hear what Sarkosy has done, as I am not familiar.


My recollection is Gore won for bringing attention to Global Warming at a time when American leadership was determined to ignore and worsen it. Your second sentence speaks volumes to me, in how horrific the rest of the world must have seen Bush. I imagine if our Presidency had gone from Clinton to Gore to Obama, President Obama would not have gotten this award.


Peace if it means a conflict is resolved through diplomacy rather than violence is generally preferable. Of course the terms of resolution matter. As GW would say, "it's hard work". Hopefully President Obama is more up to the work.

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#11) On October 09, 2009 at 10:23 PM, AbstractMotion (< 20) wrote:

Gore brought attention to himself, I can see the ICC getting the award but the Al Gore didn't 'do' very much more than many other people.  Hell give it to the Discovery channel or something, they run a special on the issue every other week.


Don't get me wrong, I don't think Bush was a good President by any standards but it strikes me that there's a bit too much sensationalism over his Presidency in here.  He did get us into 2 wars, one of which was unarguably unnecessary.  But the idea that he was some massive threat to peace at large is entirely overblown.  On these grounds they might as well give a medal to Putin for not invading half of eastern Europe by now as well really, it's just ridiculous.


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#12) On October 09, 2009 at 10:40 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

# 10 - Sarkozy rolled up his sleeves and got into the middle of the mess between Russia and Georgia. Below is a link that gives some insight into how he did this.

And here a link to a French news site that speaks of Sarkozy and Obama being nominated for 2009.

I hope you have a great evening.


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#13) On October 09, 2009 at 10:48 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

# 10 - I admit to not knowing a great deal about Sarkozy. I know he is a first generation Frenchman that believes in hard work and restoring to France a sense of pride and self relance. He believes that too many people on government assistance are lazy leeches that should have to work for their bread. Apparently the voters appreciated this as well. What he did to be nominated for the NPP was to roll up his sleeves and get into the middle of the mess between Russia and Georgia. Below is a link that gives some insight into how he did this.

And here is a link to a French news site that speaks of Sarkozy and Obama being nominated for 2009.

I hope this helps some. Have a great evening.


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#14) On October 09, 2009 at 10:49 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Sorry for the double post.

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#15) On October 10, 2009 at 7:20 AM, devoish (78.10) wrote:

Thanks for the links Cato,

I am not very familiar with Sarkosy either, but I do know he has a girlfriend, from the in depth news coverage of world affairs.

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