Friday, October 09, 2009


This is not a good thing, not even for the Obama administration. Half of America is gasping; the other half rolling on the floor laughing. As my waitress at breakfast exclaimed, while reading the news over my shoulder, "For what?"

It's a good question. The nomination deadline was February 1, less than two weeks after he took office. The voting for the prize reportedly took place many months ago, so the possibility exists that Obama may even have won the prize prior to the Cairo Speech, which is arguably the only significant policy change that he has even announced (although not much followed through on).

It is indeed laughable. The Norwegians have made a laughing stock of Alfred Nobel's intent, of Norway, and demeaned each deserving person who previously won the prize by deserving it.

Good Company

Obama isn't the first sitting U.S. president to win the Peace Price. The first was Teddy Roosevelt, in 1906. Roosevelt was not known as a peaceful man, but rather as one who was fond of shooting things and who established America a globe straddling empire. The second was Woodrow Wilson, in 1919, who is considered by many scholars to have be the worst of American presidents. Wilson was also the president who took America into World War I, a self-serving and decidedly non-peaceful decision that (even Winston Churchill concluded) lead directly to World War II.

If we know people by the company they keep, Obama having received this award bodes well for anything but peace. He is already the leader of a country that is waging war on two countries that did not attack his own, that is maintaining a concentration camp in contravention to the Geneva Accords, and a network of unlawful (no-longer-quite-so-secret) prisons throughout a network of host states.

One has to wonder by exactly what standards do the Scandicavians judge peace? Or did they just have a little too much Aquavit the other night? Perhaps this is some version of a drunken practical joke.