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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