Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize: Well deserved or too much too soon?

President Obama Targets Offshore Tax Havens

President Obama Targets Offshore Tax Havens

Too Much, Too Soon

Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for what he believes, and the hope people have in him – not for what he has accomplished or even tried to accomplish.

You might want to remember that Barack Obama was nominated for the prize in February of 2009 after serving less than two weeks as President.

As I write this the announcement from Oslo is only an hour old and thus far the overwhelming response from the world has not been congratulations, but puzzlement and concern that the always-politicized Peace Prize has now become even more a political tool designed to influence policy rather than a prestigious award in recognition of efforts that changed the world.

Barbados Free Press declared its backing for Barack Obama and even declared that he would be the next President of the United States when he was still in a run-off with Hillary Clinton in December, 2007, so our view of the award of this Peace Prize is not coloured by negativity towards the President.

We simply see this as too much, too soon. We also believe that the Nobel Prize Committee has again lowered the value of the award with a controversial decision that history may see as foolish. When will the people of the Nobel Prize Committee discover that they cannot predict or control world events?

Are they saying that they will agree with everything the Obama administration does until the end of his term? What if the United States military ramps up the war in Afghanistan and overtly goes into Pakistan? What if Obama decides to take out an Iranian military installation?

What if six months from now the USA goes on one of its heavy-handed Central American jaunts and is found to have destabilized yet another democratically elected government that just happens to have a worldview contrary to US interests?

Is the Nobel Prize Committee trying to control upcoming US policy in the near future through the awarding of the 2009 Peace Prize? They will be sorely disappointed and embarrassed.

The controversy in the awarding of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is not really about Obama – it is about a Nobel Prize Committee that has become too full of itself and detached from reality.

President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO (AP) – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama’s name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.

… from the Associated Press news feed: President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

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41 Comments

Filed under Politics, Politics & Corruption

41 responses to “Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize: Well deserved or too much too soon?

  1. Sing-a-Song

    It is ‘amusing’ (I can find no other expression) that a man who has consistently advocated the pursuit of war against Afghanistan even before becoming President, should be awarded the “Peace” prize. Kissinger should now sleep comfortably knowing that he too truly earned his prize.

  2. Rumboy

    Yes, it is puzzling as there are a lot more people that could have been nominated. Perhaps as a sign of greatness he should refuse it. Then where will his critics be standing.

  3. not me

    Has anyone noticed that the 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize stood up the 1989 winner? (The Dali Lama was shunned by Obama when recently in Washington, much to the delight of the Chinese who overran Tibet and murdered thousands, forcing the Dali Lama to flee.)

  4. Green Monkey

    IMHO, BFP, you have hit the nail on the head. My jaw also dropped when I heard this news as I had another “WTF?” moment.

  5. Mathilde

    Well there goes any credibility they had left. He hasn’t accomplished peace yet and he certainly hadn’t accomplished anything at 2 weeks into the Presidency. They should have waited until next year, there is no justifying this. If you get peace prizes for hoping for peace then there are a few thousand hippies and Bono who deserve it too then >:P

  6. i thinks that he really deserves it.

  7. russell Jones

    I don’t think he deserved it (yet) considering nominations would’ve closed around feb this year, that doesn’t quite add up for me.

    lest we forget another nominee that was eventually withdrawn –>

    http://nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/nomination.php?action=show&showid=2609

  8. The Nobel Peace Prize

    This morning he awoke to Malia saying dad you won!
    He didn’t start celebrating before more followed on
    Eagerly she continued, dad it’s Bo’s birthday!
    Noble Peace Prize is great but other responsibilities he had to portray
    Obama always said he was first a dad
    Bo the family pet was the only dog they had
    Even letting this Birthday past would be to his family wrong
    Life long award is great but with family we must first get along
    Pets are like family and must not be set aside
    Every occasion with family Barack smiles wide
    And though he is humbled that the world nations believe
    Change can start from ideas small men conceive
    Even though he is the first sitting President in 90 years
    Presented with this honor for his approach to world affairs
    Rights of world citizens are in his forefront but close at home
    Is the responsibility of family and Nation where ever he may roam
    Zilch is the significance of personal grandeur and so he
    Emphasized the involvement of all people and it starts with family

    Get an easy Download or a Hardcopy of ” Path To The White House Acrostic Poetry on Barack Obama By Khaidji The Bajan Poetry Society

  9. I don’t know what to think, really! Maybe he deserves it, maybe he doesn’t…..I can’t make a judgement because what he has done thus far, or even plans to do, isn’t something I have a full appreciation for in a global sense.

    Then again, the stance he is taking on health care is admirable! It’s not about trying to win his second term, but making sure he delivers on his health care promise….but, that’s for Americans!

    That’s a lofty position within itself, however– to have an American politician not so consumed with wanting to win his second term, to go ahead and do something that would cause that second term to be in serious danger!

    Give it to him, I guess!

  10. reality check

    Its quite ironic that the Peace Prize is named after a man who made his fortune with the discovery of dynamite.

    While I think Obama is doing an amazing job trying to tackle a myriad of problems the award is
    somewhat premature.

    Surely the test is more than talking peace but rather some measurement of success?

  11. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Caribbean: Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

  12. Pingback: Caribbean: Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize :: Elites TV

  13. Checkit-out

    Even though your arguments are generally sound re. it being too early. Who else would you have given it to given the initial attempts Obama have so far made on initial righting of some wrongs and turning the American war machine around?

    Of course he is far from winning the very dangerous battle of attempting to incrementally modify America’s warlike nature but he has already made a significant change in how America has been viewed by its enemies (Just look at the comments about Obama the man by some very anti-american heads of states at conferences he has attended this year).

  14. Foska

    Why can’t people be happy that he won the darned prize. I can’t think of a more deserving person. The man just being elected alone has changed the complexion of diplomatic relations across the world. For once, it is generally felt that peace has a chance. Not like George Bush was President and every conflict seemed to be around the corner and exploding.

    Steups…..I glad fuh de man. He should win a few more for people to get the message!

  15. Rumboy

    After giving this award a lot more thought, I believe that he was awarded this in the hope that he would bring
    ‘ peace in America ‘.

  16. An Acrostic Poem

    Suck It Up You Critics

    Sometimes we have to consider the message sent
    United States are acknowledged through their President
    Critics must realize that it is through he
    Kudos go out to the entire country
    I think like Barack said this award says
    That America has got the right remedy these days
    Under his presidency the world community has started to heal
    Politics aside, re-examine how you personally feel
    You are part of and era which is led by a great man
    One who keeps his cool under fire and gives all that he can
    Uses every opportunity to involve his worse enemies
    Calling for table talks before wars and to use all diplomacies
    Reconsider what he is about and not what he has done
    If you do you might consider he is as much the one
    This is the world saying we have faith in you
    If our neighbors can then why can’t we too
    Change is affront as its largely due to Barack
    So before you criticize, realize, Barack put the world on track

  17. ninemikemike

    He’s in good company, with Yasser Arafat and Al Bore. The prize has become a political jokefest and Alfred Nobel would be turning in his grave.
    This is no different to awarding the crown to the first Miss World beauty contestant to simper “I hope for world peace”.

    The truly ‘noble’ thing for Obama to have done would be to have demurred politely and point to those better qualified – but I fear that as time goes on we shall see less and less nobility from that quarter.

  18. huh?

    The following puts this in perspective….

  19. Checkit-out

    Huh

    That puts it in perfect perspective. Thanks! and I ask BFP and others again. Who else do you think is more deserving of the 2009 Nobel Peace?

  20. Foska

    I was just coming to put that link up but Huh beat me to it! Just can’t understand why people being anal about this! Jeez!

  21. Illuminator

    ‘just can’t understand why people being anal about this! Jeez!’

    because de whole ting is a joke . What has this man done besides be black and talk purty…….stupse. Come on now , he does both very well but …….wtf

  22. Rumplestilskin

    I think that the award is a reflection of the importance the committee places on the stated beliefs and intentions of the awardee and the impact on world perceptions i.e. a new hope.

    The committee in making this award is certainly making reference to the about-turn in hardline US foreign policy.

    While troops may still be in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is a legacy position, that cannot easily be extracted.

    Exacerbating that is the current worsening situation in Pakistan, such that, despite what the leaders there are saying, is in dire threat right now.

    If, or maybe we can even say ‘when’, Pakistan falls into chaos, all bets are off, throughout the Middle East.

    There is also a political undertone here, that of Europe reaching out to Obama to work with them going forward, by acknowledging his position.

    That overall point aside, the comments of the world and those above, do indicate the importance that is placed by us all, on an award by a European body.

    Can we not identify and praise good for ourselves, without relying on a group of people no different from you and I, to don the cap and ‘anoint’ whomever they please?

    So, one can look at it from a basic, ‘should he or not’ thought or one can understand the political and other aspects of attitudes, that pertain to the award.

    Peace

  23. BFP

    Hello Checkit-out,

    Yes, no problem at all. Irena Sendlerowa was far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than President Obama. I’m sure that if asked, the President would agree.

    Irena Sendlerowa (1910 – 2008) lost out to Al Gore for the 2007 Peace Prize. Gore was given the prize for creating a slide show. Sendlerowa was ignored.

    If you don’t know who she was, I invite you to acquaint yourself with what she DID, as opposed to what Obama SAID.

    Here’s a start: http://www.irenasendler.org/

  24. Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    President Obama was clear that he felt he did not deserve the prize but that he would accept it and that it should be seen as a call for action by all. He named several others whom he felt were more deserving.

  25. He deserved it!

    Definately deserved it.

    The award was not necessarily based on what he has achieved so far (as this would not amount to much as yet) but rather:
    1. On his ideals
    2. The hope of change that world leaders see in him.
    3. As a slap in the face to George Bush (11) and the
    Republican mottley crew of war-mongerers

    No question about it. The man who inspires “the audacity of hope”; who talks about “the dreams of his father”; who gives us courage in the slogan: “yes, we can”.

    Tell me, “Why doesn’t he deserve the honour?”

  26. Checkit-out

    Hi BFP

    Come again. Irena Sendlerowa (born 1910 – died 2008) lost out to Al Gore for the 2007 Peace Prize. That’s history, so was Irena’s work. This is 2009.

    In 2007 Climate Change and Global Warming were controversial topics that had powerful proponents on either side of the arguments. Europe and most of the world, in general, had accepted the position that Climate change was scientifically proven and that something could and should be done about it, while the American White house took the diametrically opposite position, buoyed by their powerful manufacturing and other lobbyists.

    I really couldn’t see the connection between Climate Change and a peace prize and so I was very surprised when Al Gore and a UN group (CPPC?), a leading member of which was a Barbadian, were awarded the 2007 prize. Did BFP make a protest about the award at that time? Did it feel that Dr. Leonard Nurse and by extension, Al Gore should not have been given the award? I personally don’t remember any dissenting voices at the time.

    Enter the Obama Peace prize of 2009 and the anti-Obama agents dredge up numerous arguments to support their attacks on him and they are swallowed wholesale by you and many others.

    I think that Obama ideally should have got after the Israelis for the almost genocidal and totally unwarranted attacks on Gaza. I think that continuation of the predator attacks on Pakistani territory killing many civilians is bad. I think that Obama should drastically reduce funding to Israel and tell Netanyahu where to get off as well as take the lid off of the official cover of Israel’s Nuclear capabilities. I.e. I think that there are many things that ideally I would have liked Obama to do in my concept of what would create peace in the world and what is right and wrong. But we must remember that Obama is the President of America and that if he had rushed headlong into immediately taking drastic steps to provide world peace he would not have succeeded and he might have been eliminated already.

    I think he’s done as much as any reasonable person could have expected in the circumstances.

    Re. what he has done that could justify being awarded the peace prize, I’ll let the clip above from Rachel Maddow speak for me.

    Re. Others who could be considered as better candidates for a 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. I’m not quite certain of the criteria the Swedes use (after all its their prize and not a UN prize) but I think that looking at previous honorees it seems that the following factors might have been taken into account.

    Influential position that can make a difference on a global scale, not necessarily a national one.
    Use of that Influential position to incrementally but significantly advance the global peace process.
    Some success in advancing world peace.
    Signs of potential to continue on the path to effectively pursue global peace.

    There are many people who have done significant work to advance world peace. Several of them in the US, many of them Journalists. I’ve read the works of several US, British, European and Australian journalists who have done a tremendous job for advancing peace, largely speaking out about American wars (as global peace obviously has a lot to do with American wars). However, I think none of them have the capacity to influence peace as much as a US President. Bush singlehandedly turned the clock back by several years by his extreme war policies on almost every front. Obama in a few weeks was well on the way to reversing some of those policies, to the extent possible, in a country that has historically cared little for its poor people and less for all peoples in other countries.

  27. maat

    Let us put it simply.
    America is at war in two soverign countries. Their leader and commander in chief has not put an end to the military operations in those countries.

    Can our minds be so soft that those that at are war are rewarded and called ambassadors for peace?.

    The last leader to carry this typr of charasmatic energy and whose words of change and hope were a cover for war was…….. One Adolf Hitler.

    Peace.

  28. Checkit-out

    Maat

    I have much sympathy for the position you have taken but I think that, given the reality of the American war machine and the support it has from most Americans and the fact that America is really not a democracy but a country where votes are in very large measure bought by big business, led by the munitions suppliers, and where congress marches to the drums of the lobbyists and really could’nt care less about the people (Just check out the Current Health reform debate where the Health Insurance industry has the upper hand despite most people wanting a robust Health reform bill), that it would be unrealistic to expect that the current commander in chief could end those 2 wars forthwith and survive as Commander in Chief.

    I think his espousal of incremental changes in direction in America could eventually result in some changes in the American war machine and thereby have a very large effect on global war and concominantly peace and that this promise is enough to justify his being awarded the 2009 Nobel peace prize.

    Re. your Hitler comparison, it is early days yet for Obama. One of his weaknesses appears to be pliability and a willingness to go along with the established power structures to craft outcomes that might be neither fish nor fowl. However, It is fairly difficult at present to envisage a scenario in which Obama would become a hitlerian figure but I suppose it is marginally possible if the worst case scenarios of America’s current financial troubles are mixed with the GOP hysteria and their supporters wanting their country back from a black man, along with Israeli warmongering, the Nuclear Club countries using nuclear weapons to dissuade any new entrants to their club, and a flexing of the muscles of the Military Industrial complex.

    I think, however, that it is more likely that America’s current financial debtor situation and reactions to it by some rich competitor countries will lead to a situation where peace will be enhanced as America loses some of its resources to prosecute wars and to force a number of its allies to assist monetarily and otherwise in these wars.

  29. victor

    YES WE CAN was Bob the BuiIder’s sIogan, good for his creators that they did not sue! I think the peace prize shouId be abandoned as it diminishes the other prizes given by the NobeI committee, for science etc. We aIso wonder about the prizes given by that august board for Iiterature, but not so important as the peace prize in impact. The very fact that we now have a bIack president of the US is in itseIf a sign of peace, we aII hope, in that it might draw a Iine under raciaIism in the US and I imagine that was what the NobeI committee was thinking yet anyone can see that nothing much has changed on a day to day basis. Yet the very fact of his existence at the White House at aII, has made a very significant difference in the way the descendants of sIavery see themseIves. It turns a page in the story of unfairness, even though Barak himseIf is not one of them in that he is not part of the sIavery story. To me, it is weird that a person born of a white mother and a bIack father shouId be automaticaIIy be just a bIack person. What’s that aII about? And why, just because of the coIour of skin join a group? Barak obama has sIipped through this mindset to become the most powerfuI man in the worId. Can we get over this skin thing? Is obama just a white guy raised by white peopIe actuaIIy a white guy in a bIack skin? And is that why he became president because he is reaIIy white?

  30. Checkit-out

    Hi paul sealy

    interesting paper, like all Michel Ch0ssudovsky’s papers.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091013/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nobel_peace_obama;_ylt=Agiv5.XNskqKAfXJOJkJ66Gs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTMyM2YyaDAzBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMDEzL2V1X25vYmVsX3BlYWNlX29iYW1hBGNwb3MDMgRwb3MDNgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDaW5yYXJlcHVibGlj

    Here’s another link that might be interesting. I would still like to get a definitive statement as to who nominated Obama for the prize and when the white house knew of the nomination.

  31. Tina

    If I give a good speech I guess I should be awarded the prize also.

  32. Bradley432

    Mairead Maguire founded the Community of the Peace People in 1976,in Northern Ireland along with Betty Williams. In the same year of 1976 both of these ladies were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. So what the big fuss about Obama receiving it?

  33. Straight talk

    Bradley:

    If you were issuing a peace prize, would it go to a commander-in-chief of an invading nation of not 1, or 2, but 3 developing countries?

    Not to mention the tacit support of a UN renegade state threatening a fourth peaceful country.

    If you believe his achievements merit this $3million gift for peace, I fear for our world.

  34. Checkit-out

    Bradley

    With great respect to your point of view. America is by far the most warlike country on Earth, perhaps in the history of the Earth. America’s warlike nature began with the first puritan settlers who wiped out the Indian natives that befriended them in their first winter in the new land; continued with wars on the Natives, stealing their lands and putting them in reserves and followed; during the last century with waging war on many of their neighbours as well as countries far afield in the search for global hegemony and control of the world’s strategic resources. In the last several decades American Presidents have been leading the assault on world peace with some intermissions by people like Hitler while more recently they have been following the lead, while providing the firepower, of the UN renegade state you mentioned above.

    Obama started a process of change that seeks in a small way to enhance peace by reducing nuclear arsenals, inter alia. The cards are stacked against him but he has tried. Whether or not he will be allowed to persist on this path is another matter.

    I think he deserves the arguably flawed Nobel Peace Prize for the effort.

    If the Nobel Peace prize had historically and exclusively been used as a reward for the efforts of persons who had in no way been associated with War (like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King) I would agree with you, but look at former winners like Peres and Henry Kissinger who could never have been considered as working in any way towards world peace and at least one of whom might actually be considered a war criminal.

    If they each got a Nobel peace prize why couldn’t Obama’s efforts justify one?

    If the Nobel Prize was awarded by the United Nations using strict criteria then several past honorees would not have got one. But the Nobel Prize is a national one with global reach. Perhaps we may need to convince the Foundation to change their criteria and publish certain exclusions eg. No President or Head of a Country at war with another one or even with a concept like terrorism; No President or Head of a Country in which Civil War is occuring; No President or Head of a Country in which the Civil Rights of a minority are being trampled.

  35. Lp

    I can’t imagine why Obama was given this award.
    “The flames of the war in Iraq are raising with more intensity. The siege of Gaza and the mass murder of the Palestinians have been continuing unabated. The torture in Guanatano jail has not been ended. The war in Afghanistan and insecurity in the region are spiraling up. The economic meltdown is deepening while the belligerent policy of American Administration and Obama has not changed as yet.”

  36. art

    Lp, I googled your words and see you are visiting sites that support the Taliban and the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.

    These are the same sites that got Carson Cadogan booted off http://www.url2.be for antisemitism.

    Are you in Barbados? Who in Barbados likes to be taught this propaganda?

    Why don’t you forget about the USA and Barbados? Just live the dream. Go just beyond your experience- go live in Afghanistan under Taliban Sharia.

    Take the wife and kids!

  37. Huh?

    That URL doesn’t lead anywhere art. where is it to?

  38. art

    Better for you to understand my point, and that point is that Lp goes hunting in strange places.

    So attention to those who read, to please understand a couple of things that are happening on the blog sites. Things are often not what they seem.

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