In Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will he specified the peace prize go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
Yesterday President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. People around the world are divided. With only nine months in office, has Obama accomplished enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
In accordance with Alfred Nobel’s criteria, what has Obama done to bring peace among nations? According to The Associated Press, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said Obama “got the prize for what he has done.” Exactly. What has Obama done? The committee said Obama’s efforts to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world, as well as scale down President Bush’s anti-missile shield, have contributed to “a world with less tension.” Is this peace, or a political statement by the Nobel Peace Prize committee?
The committee failed to mention a few minor details. Currently the U.S. is in two major wars. Afghanistan alone has 100,000 U.S. and international troops on the ground. Within the next few weeks Obama may “surge” Afghanistan with more troops. The daily presidential tacking poll Rasmussen Reports shows only 29 percent of Americans strongly approve of Obama’s performance as president. Likewise, 39 percent strongly disapprove. Americans are also currently divided about Obama’s health care reform plan.
Of all the nominees has Obama done the most or the best work to bring peace? In my opinion, no. Nominations are kept secret for 50 years, unless those making submissions go public with their picks. This years nominees include Simi Samar, an Afghan woman’s rights activist, Columbian activist Piedad Cordoba and Denis Mukwege, a physician in Congo who opened a clinic to help rape victims. Some nominees put their lives on the line while others stood up for their rights, even if it meant standing alone. All of these nominees made a difference in their nation, not just promised it.
Was the award given too soon? Yes. Obama took office barely two weeks before the February 1 nomination deadline. While Obama’s message of hope and change motivated Americans, in two weeks it did not significantly reduce tension or bring world peace. Leaders in China, Poland and Venezuela agree the award was given too soon. Even the Taliban denounced the award, saying Obama did nothing but escalate the war in Afghanistan.
Actions speak louder than words. Obama’s actions don’t speak loud enough to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Previous peace prize recipients include Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and President Theodore Roosevelt. President Obama has big shoes to fill.
We’ve heard Obama’s speeches promising change, peace, hope and love. We get it buddy. Now it’s time to turn off the teleprompter and get to work. Like my friend Amy always says, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
If you disagree with the committee’s decision, feel free to e-mail them at: Comments@nobelprize.org.
* No complaints about the Obama pictures. I put up with Bush jokes for eight years