Friday, October 09, 2009

Barack Obama Wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. The announcement was made at about 11 am here in Sweden. And I am stunned. Not in that good way stunned, but that the Peace Prize would award it to a man who has been in office for less than a year. And done nothing of note. Keep in mind all nominations for this award must be submitted before the first of February. Obama was inaugurated on the 20th of January. The audacity of the nomination is mindboggling.

According to the announcement by the Nobel committee he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

There was also talk of it being because of his goal for a nuclear free world, the American acknowledgement of the climate issue, and strengthening democracy and human rights.

So a man who essentially burst onto the scene just a couple of years ago and began serving as President in January has now done enough to warrant a Peace Prize. For what exactly? The flowery language used by the committee suggests they really aren’t sure either.

He now finds himself in the same company as notable winners such as Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama and the Red Cross. And in the same company of less notable winners such as Al Gore. Considering that Al Gore won just two years ago, it is amazing how little he has been able to accomplish with that Nobel Prize backing him.

That the committee would allow themselves to be so colored by the hype of Obamania is mind boggling to me. By awarding such a respected prize to someone who has done so little, it cheapens the entire award.

I would love to see Obama earn this award. I would love to see the US take a leading position in the world on moral issues again, like human rights and democracy, and become that beacon on the hill. But with wars in several different areas of the world, a floundering economy, bitter partisan infighting at home, it is hard for me to see how the man in charge of the US at this time has earned this award.

Americans have been cleaning up this year in the Nobel Prizes. I love it. But I don’t love awards being handed out as if it were a popularity contest.

Welcome to Sweden. Where at least the Norwegians have to take the blame for this award.

For reactions (in Swedish) check out the following:
Fredspriset till Barack Obama (Dagens Nyheter)
Barack Obama får Nobels fredspris (Svenska Dagbladet)
Barack Obama får fredspriset (Aftonbladet)
Barack Obama får Nobels fredspris 2009 (Expressen)

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  1. I was totally shocked when I heard the news. What exactly has he achieved? How can a president who's running two wars be winning a PEACE prize? This is unbelievable, Is it Norway who wants him to pay them a visit in order to shine a little light on their country or what? I really can't figure this out.

    Im ashamed of being a Swede right now, this is embarrassing in every single way.

  2. I don't see when America was ever leading in moral issues? What is that anyway? Sounds like some standard republican bs to me.
    I think in part he got it because of Bush, he made so many errors that anything after him looks like a genius/saint. You can say that the world is still on shock. So far he hasn't made anything worse(or better), but there is still a long way to go and the republicans in the US are doing everything they can to ruin it for him no matter what.
    I don't really give a sh*t about the peace prize but it is going to be fun watching the reactions to this. hehe

  3. same condition here, i am also shocked when i heard the news... firstly i can't believe it .... but really he won..

  4. Normally we're on the opposite side of the political fence, but I'm stunned as well. I'm an Obama supporter. Voted for him, like him. But don't see how's he's earned this yet. Weird.

  5. He won it becuase, in 9 months he has put the US solid course to destroying its own economy. What it took Regan years to due to Russia. US no longer a Superpower or economic power. This is what the world has been waiting for the down fall of usa. Well that is where he is taken the US, Thats is only accomplishment as President.

  6. A white Obama wouldn't win.....

  7. Ha! Some of these comments are hilariously retarded.

    I think to say it was awarded too soon is an understatement. What if he turns out to be a shitty president?

    I think his inaugurial speech sent a good message, and after the previous eight years it could be argued that he has made the rest of the world like the US again. But how hard would that be to do given the previous president? A gold fish would've been better than W.

    I'm glad I'm not Norwegian, but knowing most Americans, I'll still get shit for this since I'm Swedish even though most Americans think Sweden and Switzerland are the same country.

    My hope is that he lives up to it, but I'm not holding my breath. Didn't Alfred stipulate that the prize should go to someone who, among other things, has helped reduce the number of standing armies in the world? How can a guy running the last Empire on the planet be awarded a peace prize? Boggles the mind.

    By the way, Mother Theresa was no saint. She was, in fact, quite awful and a horrible role model. I don't know much about the Dalai Lama, but anyone referred to as "His Holiness" makes me suspect.

  8. @Bazarov. I was with you up until the point you dumped on Mother Theresa.

    I too was completely shocked with this win. Let's just hope and pray that this undeserving victory pushes him to accomplish what he said he would.

    thanks for this post Hairy.

  9. Mother Theresa had a weird view on suffering. Apparently suffering is good because you suffer together with Jesus. Thats why Mother Theresa had huge hangars with poor dying people that didnt get painkillers from the medical staff, cause suffering is good... I dont think is that saintly with hoards of suffering, dying poor people that are denied help so they can die while suffering with Jesus.

    And Obama could be a great peace prize winner. If it was after his term (terms?) and he accomplished what he promised. Then it would be great.

  10. Bravo to the Nobel committee for further devaluing their award & rendering it meaningless.

    I think America is still a beacon on the hill, but Obama is doing all he can to make us look like the rest of the world. Hence, the award (in my opinion). Personal liberty is what sets America apart. When we set aside liberty, we demolish the hill. None of those other things (human rights, deomcracy) you wrote about will stand where liberty is absent.

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.”
    — Patrick Henry

  11. @SwedishJenn

    MT took money from shady sources, including S&L scammers (which she never gave back). If you look at the amount of money she collected for the Catholic Church and the amount it actually spent on helping the poor, you might realize your gut reaction to a PR figure is wrong. She talked rape victims out of getting abortion--a stance the Catholic Church enforces beyond absurdity and results in far more suffering than the Church could ever hope to alleviate. She also gave out scant help with her services, but when she herself got sick she went to get the best medical help and surgeons the world had to offer. And, funny enough, turns out she may never have believed in any of that horseshit xianity proposes anyhow. HA! I've met far better people in bars, and I'm sure you have too, they just didn't have the financial backing of the Catholic Church to do their PR for them ;)

  12. I wonder if they gave it to Obama to encourage him to live up to the Peace Prize?

  13. @Bazarov. I am a Roman Catholic. But I am also interested in the truth and will be Googling tonight. If you have any links regarding Mother Theresa that further discuss her evils, I'd appreciate them.

  14. As an American living in Sweden, I'm saddened by this award. The Nobel Peace Prize is the highest lifetime achievement award a person can receive for humanitarian action. It has now been tarnished by obvious political posturing. The Peace Prize no longer holds the grandiose position it once did. At least we can blame the Norwegians for this absolute mockery of what the prize is intended to be…

  15. "someone who has done so little"
    - I beg to differ on that one! I do agree that the prize was premature to say the least! But I am glad anyhow, because Obama is one of the best presidents the United States ever has had. But he has just started. He came in with the country in a deep crisis and responded with calm and decisiveness, pushed through the stimulus package against fierce resistance and then went on to take on the health care issue which other presidents have failed to bring home over the past 60 years, while at the same time redirecting the entire foreign policy, handling every possible international crisis with a steady hand. Not exactly "so little"!

  16. Dang. I will admit to being rather surprised. But, seriously. Why the negetivity?

    The guy is the first black person to be elected to such a position of leadership in of course the US, but also Europe, Austraila, Canada...That is a massive acheivement on its own towards peace. He has just said to every minority or person of color throughout most of the western world that you can do it. You can be somebody in these white countries. You are just as important, just as capable. Little black children just benefitted more than I bet you all reading this or I could really understand. Not to mention the major changes in racial understanding this is bringing in the US at the least. I have had many conversations with people saying how things are different now. There seems to be less racial tension. African Americans hold their heads more proudly and seem to say ok. Finally, we forgive you white world for the years of inequality that made we want to carry a chip on my shoulder at times.

    Jesus. Just becoming president of the USA as a black man was a pretty damn big step towards peace and understanding among peoples. Bringing peace can be among races, not just between countries...

  17. "I wonder if they gave it to Obama to encourage him to live up to the Peace Prize?"

    Exactly what i thought too..

  18. Oh, I'm fine with anything that helps his re-election chances as for the past election I stood in line for EIGHT HOURS to vote for him. Of course next time I'll be in Sweden and just vote absentee like a sensible person. I just wish that health care thing would get sorted out, and he would do something for gay rights. But he's working on it. BTW, I am okay with Obamania. Way better than being embarrassed by the president!

  19. Wow, I am so shocked too! Actually I found out this morning when reading your post (this kind of things can happen in the Southern hemisphere, the interesting stuff happens when we sleep) and couldn't believe it!

    I don't think it will be good for anyone, specially for Obama himself! In my opinion, what the prize entails is pressure for the awardee. And I believe been President is already an stressful job. What I mean is that what he wants to achieve takes time, and receiving such a prestigious prize means more responsibilities than he already has!

    It's not that he doesn't deserve it, it that what he deserves is time to genuinely earn it.

  20. Seriously. Does no one think just being elected is a big enough deal on its own? I do. It is so symbolic. The world hates the US and then it elects a minority into office. The whole world rejoiced. Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe in the mind of black people this is one of the biggest accomplishments? As a white person it probably is not as impactfull. But the peace prize is not only for white people. I think people of color feel more support and encouragement now than ever before. Sure he hasn't accomplished everything he has talked about yet. But he is already closing Guantanamo Bay and has lifted the restrictions on Cuba...emissions control. Reguardless of what else he does he truly has made a big impact on the entire world already.

  21. @Bazarov. I did my due diligence and read fully about Mother Theresa on Wikipedia. The lengthy article discusses all of the charges against her, levied by her critics. What that woman ultimately did was shed light on the plight of the poor. She opened countless hospices to help as many as she could. She ministered and administered to them to the best of her ability and cannot be held accountable for the actions of the likely hundreds of people administering and distributing funds. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth". Her views on abortion coincide with those of the Catholic Church. She did more for the poor of the world than the majority of us certainly ever could or would. She worked tirelessly for a good cause. She asked nothing in return. Those people who suffered in her hospices and hospitals and orphanages...where would they have been without them? I didn't see a whole lot of other options for these people. If it wasn't for some of these shady donors; likely trying to repent for their sins, the needless suffering of many would have continued. God Bless Mother Theresa. I can't think of a more deserving Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

  22. so someone should get the nobel peace prize just for being black(or half black) and being elected president? Doesn't seem quite enough to me. Remember this was decided after only about 2 weeks in office. impossible for him to have done much yet except to be elected and make lots of promises. should that be enough? i don't think so. perhaps we should wait to see if he can come thru with his promises first?

  23. He said "it's a call to action" and i say it's a good sign.

  24. I don't think being the first black president warrants the award. I feel awards should be based on actual accomplishments...not one's intentions. I intend to star in a film and act brilliantly. Where's my Oscar? The whole notion is absurd. Furthermore, many well-intentioned actions have resulted in tragic outcomes. Intentions aren't entirely meaningless, but they're not nearly as valuable as action & outcome in my opinion. What if all of President Obama's wonderful intentions lead to some truly horrible outcomes? I'm not saying this will be the case, but that's part of the danger in preemptive awards.

    As for Guantanamo...that's not going so well. Again, intentions do not equate to actual results. Talk is cheap & easy. Lots of people can talk a good game. Accomplishment is a different story.

  25. I agree with you, Hairy, in many things you wrote there. Obama seems like a good man, but the promised goals are still yet to achieve. I have my own theories in my blog, but they are written quite in the same formula as yours. Granted, we still have some 'hope' left.

  26. Getting the peace prize just a year into your office should at least affect you. Im sure of it.
    Regardless if he admits it or not, it will still be in the back of the head whenever he take decisions.

    The peace award has been used for this before. Who knows if it will work though, but in away it could be a tool to affect.

  27. Just like giving the prize to Al Gore made a topic that might have declining in popularity? new importance. As far as i know, it was pretty much declining by that time at least, the newspapers had stopped writing about it everyday etc.

  28. Iam getting next year! Nobel prize for farting ;-)

  29. @anonymous .
    what are you Peter Griffin!? :p

  30. i think we need to keep remembering this was decided only about two weeks after he was elected. REALLY? what could he have done by then to warrent such an award!!! crazy!

  31. "i think we need to keep remembering this was decided only about two weeks after he was elected."
    Do you work for Fox news or something, stop spreading false information.
    He was nominated along with 205 others at that date. He was chosen as a winner at the start of October.

  32. Agreed with many previous posters. After two weeks in office, the man could not have done much other than gesticulate and posture.

    His election campaign was full of rhetoric and promises - as are all campaigns.

    That said, was he the best man for the job? I'm Canadian, I didn't vote for him, but so far, it seems so.

    It seems to me that this was more a vindication for the African-American populace than it was related to anything Obama may have done. "See kids? YOU TOO might be President. YOU TOO may win a Nobel Peace Prize". This is all fine and good, but not really done in the spirit of the Nobel Prize. This sounds more like the "Black People's Happiness Award".

  33. As an American, it was a crushing blow to have a man who has done so little good for the country - no matter what his intentions may be - be given an award so prematurely. No, he should not be given this because he was elected for his race - that's stupidity. Who cares if the rest of the world was cheering for a "minority" being elected? A man's race is one of the least important things about him when it comes to selecting someone to run the entire country! Sure, he may have been the best choice of the two - but that isn't saying much, compared to McCain.

    I'm a young college student whose ideals follow along Democratic lines, but I'm sick of this "Obamania"! So many of my peers fall over themselves with excitement about Obama - buying T-shirts, bumper stickers, and walking around with very fluffed up egos that I am concerned very few people are even paying attention to the reality of what is going on! Yes, he stepped into a huge mess and the logistics of maneuvering through the political system are tricky, but I feel if Obama was truly worthy of the award he would be able to have gotten a better handle on SOME of the major issues by now - instead the national debt has sunk trillions of dollars deeper than average, unemployment rate keeps rising, California is bordering on failure, and the whole country feels as though its on the brink of chaos.

    If I could afford to leave the country right now and knew of somewhere I would feel safe and be able to continue in the medical field, I would leave.

  34. It may have been a bit premature, but one thing is for sure, and that he is a worthy choice! After 8 years with the disastrous Bush-Cheney presidency, which tore the world apart and boosted the moral of al-Qaida and fundamentalists around the world (including fundamentalist christians in America), America now has a president who listens to the world, actively engages with allies and is ready to talk to enemies in order to promote peace.
    We used to say ABB (Anything But Bush), but we scored as we elected Barack Obama, who was not elected because he was black, but despite his skin color (prejudice still goes deep in the U.S. and the rest of the world.) Just think of what the world would have looked like if McCain had won... the U.S. economy would have been going down the drain instead of returning to live thanks to the Obama simulus package, and we probably would have bombed half a dozen countries by now as the old man's sense of geography was a bit dim.

  35. Shocking:
    Obama does NOT get the Nobel price

  36. Why are you surprised? Of course the nobel committee is going to ass lick the person that is actually capable of earning his prize. I think it's either utterly stupid or incredibly cunning.

  37. These comments all got away from me a little so instead of responding to everyone like usually do we’ll go with a mass response. First, I’d like to point out, as I think someone else already did, that the award was not given to Obama 11 days after taking office. It was awarded at the beginning of October. The nomination however was made sometime before February 1st. Of course, we probably won’t find out who nominate him for 50 years because thats about how long the committee hangs on to that sort of information. Apparently transparency isn’t their thing.

    Also, I am not happy with the award, but despite making bad jokes like hoping to win things that I never did, this is not Obama’s fault. It is te Norwegian committees fault. I have heard people say, in all seriousness, say that this proves that Obama and the US are capable of buying anything. That’s ridiculous.

    Also, in terms of those who say that this award was deserved. No, it wasn’t. The man has been in office for nine months. He is currently debating on whether he should send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. The US is still in Iraq. The US still has the largest cache of nuclear weapons. Despite the flowery Middle East speech, the region is still not at peace. He has the potential to be a great President. But so does everyone else who has been in office for only nine months. To judge him on a historical scale suggests a lack of historical understanding and a frightening jump to conclusions that, in my mind, does nothing but undermine is abilities to get things done because instead of being lauded for things he has accomplished, he is being lauded for speeches given.

    I don’t think it matters what side of the political spectrum you find yourself on to realize that a man in charge of a country involved in two wars does not deserve a Peace Prize. While hope and promises make for great speeches, and he is a great speaker, hope and promises do not bring troops home.

    I really do hope that someday he deserves this. Being a huge history nerd means I love this sort of historical moment. But I want them to be deserved, to be earned. And as of right now, this award is not.

  38. I don't really have anything to add, I can only agree with you, Hairy Swede. Well said.

  39. Altohugh, I don't agree that the US has ever been "that beacon on the hill", regarding moral issues like human rights and democracy.

    If you look through all the American presidents they all have a lot of lives on their conscience, although their speeches would suggest something different. What I'm saying is that the US has long pretended to be moral conscience of the world but nothing could be further from the truth.

    Let's just hope that someday the US will be able to live up to all it's chauvinist nonsense statements about their alleged greatness. Then God can bless America all he wants. Then I will bow for you.

    But I don't think that ever will happen so let's hope that, at least, during Obama's years in office, the US will choose a different path than before, and that after it he will deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, retroactively, of course.

  40. do we know who else was nominated?

  41. @ Hans Sandberg: SNL agrees with you. They parodied Obama's Nobel win this weekend...Obama accepted the award "for not being George W. Bush"

    NOT a reason to win the most prestegious award in the world

    I voted for him but I'm not an Obamaniac like those crazy Norwegians.

  42. First, SNL sucks, and have sucked for a decade or more, which is why they are pretty much dead. If you want comedy, you watch the Comedy Channel, Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.
    Not being W does count for a lot though!
    I agree that it was a case of premature nomination, but once that is said, I'm happy that it went to a great president, who will probably do more enough for world peace to make the question moot. Being a Swede, I don't want to pick on the Norwegians, who are not only increadibly wealthy, but generally nice and smart.

  43. Well I don't know any Norwegians personally but they goofed on this one...that being said I'm sure they're a lovely group of people.

    True enough about SNL...not funny anymore...(although it had its moments when Jimmy, Tina, and Amy were still on...and lord knows JT is the funniest host EVER) I didn't actually watch it but saw the sketch on the news.

    I agree that I hope Obama eventually earns the prize...he's given the whole world hope for a brighter day...but thats not enough...he has to deliver.

  44. i agree with mama. he needs to deliver Before he gets the award, not get the award because we expect him to deliver!

  45. I've had some time to mull this one over. I am a supporter of Obama, and was very touched by the movement he created in an apathetic country. I was shocked at first, like everyone else- incredulous even. But a couple of things have lead me to accept it and hope that it is not such a bad thing.

    Firstly, the man seemed as shocked and doubtful as everyone else about his win. He seemed utterly dumbfounded, and maybe even a little annoyed by it. Sure maybe he should have just not accepted it, but after watching him speak and hearing his words I'm not entirely uncertain that he wasn't told by his advisors: You are going to accept it. Period.

    Secondly, in combing for clues as to the thought process of the Nobel Committee I have come to understand their choice to a point. If you recall what it felt like to be an American (even a world citizen) early last year, it was pretty shitty. The American flag had become a $1 ribbon-shaped car magnet, everyone on all sides felt betrayed, websites like "Sorry, World" rose and fell as apathy and despair kicked in.. It was pretty bad, y'all. I remember the marked change that happened here and all over the world last fall as the underdog earned the spotlight and inspired people from every side of the table to just get out and take part in their government. It was massive, touching, and pretty damn remarkable. When he was announced the winner, countries all over the world were congratulating the USA instead of scoffing or condemning it for the first time in YEARS. The hatred, resentment, and disappointment seemed to melt all over the place in an instant. Americans who had been ashamed, were walking proud and carrying the flag again.

    Now I can understand how that can be seen as doing something remarkable to restore some semblance of world peace.

    My only concern is that this seemingly untimely award hands Obama haters (on a silver platter) more fodder for resentment. I feel sorry that he'll have yet another obstacle to overcome for a group of people for whom he could never do right anyway.

    I've gone through the different emotions and thought processes. I'm down with it. The man was awarded something he did not choose to be awarded. Let's allow him his space to try to shoulder that and everything else, whether or not we respect the committee's decision.

    PS @ Anonymous:
    re: He won it becuase, in 9 months he has put the US solid course to destroying its own economy. What it took Regan years to due to Russia. US no longer a Superpower or economic power. This is what the world has been waiting for the down fall of usa. Well that is where he is taken the US, Thats is only accomplishment as President.


  46. @Robban – Im just going to stick to the part where you said you agree with me.

    @anonymous – yes we do, some of them at least. 204 other people. Plenty of whom were more deserving and actually did something. Hu Jia, Ingrid Betancourt, Morgan Tsvangirai, Piedad Cordoba, Sima Samar. Morgan Tsangari,

    @mama – I didnt really think it was a very good skit. But they did hit the nail on the head.

    @Hans – I disagree. Not being W doesn’t count for anything. I’m not W. You can’t award a prestigious prize to someone for something they are not.

    @mama – agreed.

    @anonymous – also agreed.

    @Rachael – and that is all fair enough. Obama is not to blame for this by any means. He was just an innocent bystander if you will. He didnt award himself the prize, but we shouldnt be having this discussion because he shouldnt have received it in the first place.

  47. Haha, sorry I shouldn't have spoiled that.

  48. Obama moves the masses (whether it be in a literal or physical sense)... What tangible evidence has President Barack Obama provided that will alleviate our disgust and apprehension that now defines the United States of America? He does nothing but instill a false sense of hope which has yet to be seen in this country. For the democratic populous that offered him this prestigious seat, tell me... have you seen this "change" that was offered? And if you even begin to answer that question with a swift "yes", please ask yourself whether or not the American civility you attempt to portray is in fact that American civility which is so desperately needed in these trying times.

  49. moving the masses is not enough to win a nobel prize. not unless that movement leads to accomplishment.

  50. That was the obvious decision.

  51. So I changed my mind about voting for Obama and did in the last election. I still don't agree with the peace prize decision.