The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize went to Al Gore and the IPCC. The 2008 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel went to Paul Krugman. And now, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Barack Obama.

Really? I mean, really? I like the guy as much as the next person, and it’s nice to see somebody in Washington trying “to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” But he really hasn’t accomplished anything, yet.

Seriously, the best explanation for this is that they’re trying to make American right-wingers’ heads explode. That, or they’re still trying to atone for Kissinger.

Comments

  1. #1 Anton P. Nym
    October 9, 2009

    “Seriously, the best explanation for this is that they’re trying to make American right-wingers’ heads explode.”

    An amusing-enough hobby, one must admit. It could also be a result of a reaction akin to the endorphin rush one can get after a persistant pain is removed, ie, Bush. I don’t know how well folks in the US know how thoroughly despised the previous administration was in international circles.

    Still, even I (a thoroughgoing Bush despiser myself) think that this award is premature; the Nobel committee should’ve waited until there some results from Obama’s efforts before deciding whether to award the prize to him.

    — Steve

  2. #2 Sandra in Ireland
    October 9, 2009

    For the first time in a long time people around the world are starting to feel positive about the US because we see a president who doesn’t want to bomb all opposition back to the stone-age. A man with a vision for a nuclear weapon free world is something we long ago stopped hoping to see in the US. Also now that someone who is capable of understanding the science of ACW is in charge of the country that adds most to the problem maybe we have some chance of preventing world catastrophe.

    Perhaps it is too soon for this prize but maybe it will give Americans a sense of the despair the world felt at the actions of the the US before Obama was elected. This is a man who everyone should be supporting because if even a fraction of his vision for the US and the world comes to pass it will improve life for all of us. This prize is the world saying to conservatives – stop your foolish bickering and get behind your country and the world. Every man is not an island.

  3. #3 Katharine
    October 9, 2009

    For what it’s worth, I am happy that it’s a signal sent to the conservatives to tell them that the rest of the world thinks they’re a pack of idiots, and faintly amused that they decided to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama when he has only been in office for 10 months.

    The Nobel Peace Prize is a bit odd, though. I’d honestly prefer, looking back on the varied individuals it’s been given to (HENRY KISSINGER?!), that it be abolished in favor of distributing the proceeds normally given it equally among the other Nobel Prizes.

  4. #4 Sigmund
    October 9, 2009

    Here in Sweden there has been a universal reaction from absolutely every person who I have seen hear or read this news.
    “What?, Are you joking?”
    It seems that his ‘intent’ is enough for the Noble Peace Prize committee.
    Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Medicine, Chemistry and Physics committees for despite my intent to cure cancer, develop a cheap process that removes all the CO2 from the atmosphere, and solve the question of dark energy they yet again failed to award me these prizes!

  5. #5 Matt Springer
    October 9, 2009

    I just think it’s funny that on the day of the announcement, the US is bombing the moon.

  6. #6 Janne
    October 9, 2009

    As a Swedish citizen I too find this embarrassing, and can only try to excuse myself by pointing out that the peace price is given out by Norway. I mean I’m as happy as anybody that Bush is finally out of the picture, but come on, being better for peace than George W. Bush is not exactly a high bar to clear. If that’s the criteria I have head lice that should be packing for a trip to Norway about now.

  7. #7 Jeff Darcy
    October 9, 2009

    My first thought, as well as my wife’s, was that the award was less about Obama than about Bush. The guy’s gone, folks, and good riddance. The less time we spend thinking about him as a person, the more time we have to fix the problems he caused. The more obscure he becomes, the better. I feel bad for all the other people doing wonderful things for peace, who were passed over so the committee could make this petty gesture. It’s all a big step backwards for actual peace.

  8. #8 Kjerstin
    October 9, 2009

    Well, the guy has singlehandedly changed the international climate for diplomacy in a way that most of us had given up all hopes of seeing. I’d say that amounts to a tiny bit more than nothing, and that’s why he’s been given the prize. The work he’s started towards nuclear disarmament is important, and was a major part of the committee’s considerations. Though I grant you these things may have been noticed only by non-US countries.

    One can hope that he’ll spend the remainder of his period(s) trying to live up to the prize, while at the same time the prize will lend authority to his initiatives. That can only be good news for the world.

    But then, I’m Norwegian, so I can hardly be considered objective.

  9. #9 momama
    October 9, 2009

    Well, we Norwegians do have an odd sense of humor, but this took us all by surprise. I guess that’s what we get for electing an idiot to be head of the Nobel Institute.

    Oh, and the Swedes are to blame for Krugman, not us…

  10. #10 Fred
    October 9, 2009

    They’re giving a peace prize to a man who just snubbed the Dalai Lama?

    This prize is the world saying to conservatives – stop your foolish bickering and get behind your country and the world.

    I hate to disappoint you, but American conservatives don’t accept international calls.

  11. #11 PattyP
    October 9, 2009

    @Matt: XTREME WIN

  12. #12 Christina Pikas
    October 9, 2009

    “I hate to disappoint you, but American conservatives don’t accept international calls.”

    +1000 for Fred, lol

  13. #13 John Novak
    October 9, 2009

    Well, once I convinced myself it wasn’t actually a joke (I expected it to be some lame-assed Republicans-imitating-The-Onion style thing) my reaction was, “For what?”

    Honestly, the Nobel Peace Prize could be vastly improved by a rule that it only be given to people who have been dead for at least twenty years. This would prevent stunning lapses in judgement like Yassir Arafat (which is when I stoped taking it seriously) and Henry Kissinger, and sad punts like “The International Labor Organization” and “The International Atomic Energy Agency.”

    In other words, it might turn the prize back into an award for things done, rather than for things promised. That said, they really got it right in 2006… but again, that was a case of a prize being given for a long, long track record of transformative work, not just intents.

  14. #14 Josh
    October 9, 2009

    I definitely have been a BO fan in general but I’m not sure what the point of this is. It would be nice if it does act to heighten his moral authority and accomplish future goals but that seems like a stretch.

    The real winners are those among the punditocracy which will get to yammer on endlessly about this. The left will of course laud the wisdom of the committee and the right gets to feed its persecution complex and rile up the base. Fail-fail.

  15. #15 Bob Hawkins
    October 9, 2009

    Now I really feel bad for having never won one.

  16. #16 CCPhysicist
    October 9, 2009

    I think they are just doing it to push Rush Limbaugh’s button. Makes me think they have a beer drinking game planned for today.

  17. #17 Dennis
    October 9, 2009

    “I’d honestly prefer, looking back on the varied individuals it’s been given to (HENRY KISSINGER?!), that it be abolished in favor of distributing the proceeds normally given it equally among the other Nobel Prizes.”

    Maybe they can abolish the peace prize and establish a Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

  18. #18 IBY
    October 10, 2009

    Wait, so what is wrong with Paul Krugman? From what I know, he got the prize for his work in international trade.

  19. #19 Rajesh
    October 10, 2009

    The World (or the Nobel committee, same difference) thinks that saving the US economy and leading it, may be even the world, out of the Great Recession, saving Iran (and may be other countries like NK or Grenada) from a bomb-bomb-a-bombing by defeating McCain and the GOP was a deed so stupendously monumental that it deserved a Nobel Peace prize. As a bonus, Rush Limbaugh had apoplexy.

    What’s not to like?

  20. #20 milkshake
    October 10, 2009

    Historically, a sure way of winning Nobel Peace Prize was to do some terrible deeds, like starting a war or organize a terrorist bombing campaign; and only after this has gone on for awhile (and a sufficient number of civilians has been blown up) making a pragmatic pledge to stop. In this respect the american administration deserves the honor.

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