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Friday, October 09, 2009

Open Thread: Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Since I am sure this announcement will elicit a lot of comment, I thought an open thread might be appropriate.

Personally, I am a bit stunned and surprised by the announcement and don't have any idea what President Obama accomplished to merit this award.

I remain hopeful that one day he will fulfill the promises he has made which could, in my mind, be a strong case for eligibility.

But in October of 2009, I fail to see justification.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm kind of dumbfounded by that too. We still have Gitmo open, we still have two wars ongoing with possible escalation in one of them, Donald Rumfeld, George W Bush, and Dick Cheney remain free men, not even subpoenaed. What, do you win a Nobel Peace Prize by default for being a US president without starting a war for a year?

Factinista said...

I don't really have an opinion on the award itself. However, I am looking forward to the hilarity that will no doubt ensue from the right. Just a week ago they were celebrating how the international community had "rejected" him. The upcoming whine-fest will no doubt be classic.

GeoX said...

I agree with both Anonymous and Factinista. On the merits this is pretty strange (although I refuse to take the Nobels seriously anyway as long as they refuse to give one to Pynchon, so there's that), but the right-wing freakout will definitely be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Actually I like to read both right and left wing sites and the puzzlement and whining on this one seems to be pretty well balanced between them both. Cf. the Progressive and Nation with Free Republic and Takimag.

Michael said...

I'm in agreement: he doesn't deserve it. But I hope that some day, he will.

exanonymous said...

Rush Limbaugh thinks the committee suicided more effectively than he or "we" could ever destroy it. Funny thing, apparently 2 years ago it was prestigious enough that Levin nominated Limbaugh for it.

Also rated high on the list is the comments without thought and full of reaction is the one about it being affirmative action. Because apparently every country on the planet has the same minority profile as the US.

And last but not least is Glenn Beck stating that the tea-partiers should be awarded it. It's nice that Glenn Beck wants them to get the prize. The 9/12 protests passed the deadline, but maybe he'll work on who to approach to nominate them for next year?

Anyways, apparently it is a common myth that the award goes to people for accomplishments in the past. Evidence for this is the fact that the prize cannot be awarded posthumously unless the recipient dies shortly after the announcement. No award at all was given in 1948 because Gandhi was dead. There was one given out posthumously, but apparently the committee has since focused on ongoing efforts. So Obama does fit the bill in that while the list of accomplishments is rather short (not zero), the stated intentions and the position of power boost his abilities to work for peace in the future, and the award is more similar to a school scholarship than a job performance bonus.

CasualBrowser said...

Amen Factinista. If a committe of a few people dashing Chicago's hopes of Olympic hosting is evidence that the “World rejects Obama” per Matt Drudge, does this committee repudiate? Or will the right find another 'logic' process to jump to in order to explain how their world view is accurate and worthy?

Anonymous said...

Ironic the award comes as Obama sides with the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to not repeal but extend the unconstitutional, hideous, Patriot Act. Isn't there an award more appropriate for such a sell-out?

rewinn said...

Y'all should read the official announcement and keep in mind that what passes for News in the American Corporate Press is not necessarily the most important thing in the world.

Afghanistan: important to the Afghans, to the Americans who suffer there, and as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. To anyone else, not so much

Iraq: like Afghanistan times three.

The entire structure of foreign relations: relevant to the entire planet.

I defy you to think of any six months OTHER than the outbreak of a war which has seen such a radical change in diplomatic efforts worldwide, AND in this case it's in a positive direction.

YES it seems odd to we Americans.
Iraq and Afghanistan loom large in our minds, not to mention Bill Ayers and the Whitey Tape. But not that many people in the rest of the world really care (...except for those AQ/Taliban, the latter of which condemns the award.)

Obama of course is just one guy, full of errors and all too likely to make Afghanistan his Vietnam.

And it's entirely possible that AfghaNam will result in the election of Mitt Romney and the resumption of blow-m-up-to-help-the-Saudis diplomacy.

But if Obama retired today, he'd have made one of the biggest positive changes ever ... it's just not the sort of bleeding firey explosion that sees ad space.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I can't help but feel that, in actuality, this is really the award for "Being Anyone Other Than George W. Bush".

More a "Whew", really, than a "Award".

In a sense they're right; the entire sane world understands how good it is that Bush is gone.

...but, still, it will be nice if Obama can now do something genuinely worth of the prize.

NLC said...

("Anonymous" = "NLC")

Frank Stone said...

That mushy splattering sound you just heard was Bruce Tinsley's head exploding.

CW in LA said...

Hey, if the prize was given strictly to piss off the American feces-throwing right, it was totally worth it.

The Tinsh is no doubt going to have a meltdown in print three weeks from now.

Not THAT Anonymous said...

Some people ("Wwwwhy hasn't Obama ended teh wars and convicted everybody with his magic powars?!?!?! He's been in office almost a year!") clearly don't understand how politics work, domestic or international.

It's no surprise to see "Progressives," ashamed that they abandoned Unelectable Ralph And Another Four Years Of GOP Rule To Whine About for the sake of Lookit Me I'm Voting Black Man, starting to turn on Obama because he hasn't given them everything they wanted for Christmas before Halloween. Before long (as they have already done with Clinton, Clinton, Gore, and Kerry), they will join hands with the GOP to vilify Obama for not fulfilling every promise ever made, ever, including ones they made up in their heads, and renew their vow to vote only for longhaired stoners with animal names.

All that said, the Nobel Prize is quickly becoming a publicity-fueled joke to compete with Time's Man Of The Year. This is hardly the only controversy it's generated lately, and the committee's reaction to each complaint is to do something even more stupid, like a dumb animal thrashing in quicksand.

Still, won't it be fun to watch Mallard crap the carpet over it for, oh, two weeks? And it'll take the heat off Dave, whom I'm sure Tinsley's been scribbling nonsense about for the past several days.

I hate chuck asay said...

I explained why I believe Obama was given the Nobel Prize in the post about the cartoon; so here is my opinion of the prize. Many horrible men have received it:

* Yitzhak Rabin, an Isreali General who went far above and beyond his country's genocidal policies.
* Yasser Arafat, the terrorist leader who founded the Palestinian Liberation and invented airplane bombings.
* Henry Kissinger, the man who killed hundreds of thousands of men by bombing small neutral countries.

Nobel Peace Prizes should be the greatest and most honorable, yet, they been rendering meaningless by such recipients. Awarding the prize to dictators discourages others from peace, and encourages Nihilism, paranoia and war. Barack's prize, if my guess as to its purpose is correct, might help us and encourage our leaders to do the right things--as it, always, should.

Word Verification: Dalbanne, Mallard Fillmore should be banne' from al' d' newspapers.

rewinn said...

I suspect Americans may not understand how much Europeans hate torturers.

There are Norweigians and Spanish and others still living who remember what the great fear was like. And once our great nation of America turned to torture, do not think that they did not notice.

Quite apart from the other reasons mentioned in the award citation ... reasons which Obama's critics seem loathe to address ... the simple fact of announcing that our nation renounced torture jumped him high on the shortlist of finalists.

Ask someone who lived through Franco's Spain sometime

exanonymous said...

This one's funny:

Most of the population is not purely descended from original colonists anyways and many are come from European immigrants in the early and mid 1900s. Why the EU would bother convincing 5 Norwegians to give the President a prize as part of a master plan to take over brings this to mind:

Anonymous said...


Yeah, reading the reasoning, it's amazing how low Bush lowered the bar, that doing what I would consider ordinary, not exceptional, catapulted Obama to a Nobel Peace Prize. Using diplomacy! Working against global warming instead of putting your fingers in your ears and going lalalalala! The Nobel Not Actively Hindering Peace Prize Unlike Your Stupid Stupid Predecessor might be a more deserved honor.

Iron Dragon said...

I honestly find this kind of odd, Obama doesn't seem to have done a lot directly to have earned this. I mean maybe it's a matter of them not finding a more worthy figure for it, or they see it as sort of a carrot from the various other nations of the world 'use diplomacy, listen to experts, etc. and we will give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' It feels strange and a bit out of place. Then again, part of me hopes he accepts it and then repeals don't ask don't tell so that he can divide the wingnuts enough so that we can actually create a worthwhile national healthcare plan as opposed to the watered down waffle we currently have on the table.

Kip W said...

It's like living next door to a place that's making godawful noises at top volume for eight years. One day the noise stops, and the silence sounds like beautiful music.

Well, I'm just fishing for an explanation. Maybe all the other nominees just plain sucked.

exanonymous said...

The committee provided the following:

The last one helps explain the situation.

It appears from reading up on this and a few other things that the Nobel Prizes in other areas are somewhat different than the Peace Prize. Those require proven advancements. The Peace Prize isn't so much recognition as Nobel's personal contribution to a peace process after his death and seems more akin to a campaign donation with a name attached.

So in one sense, Obama is poised as the leader of America to make a real difference, and his initial overtures led them to believe he could accomplish further peace. It's not just a "not-Bush" thing, because Obama has taken a rather active role in opening talks even if they haven't born fruit yet.

But from a country-centrist point of view, it's pretty much managed to send a portion of the country overboard, confuse the other portion, and the 1.5 mil isn't a large sum of money compared to what the president has worked with which really leaves just the award itself, which doesn't give him much clout for domestic policy.

I'm assuming then that this really only holds meaning to the international community excluding the US. Or maybe really just Norway. But hey, it's theirs to award.

Maybe it's time someone else making billions sets aside a legacy that's a bit more understandable.

rewinn said...

If this award makes it more award for Obama to turn Afghanistan into Vietnam, by that measure alone, it was well done

CW in LA said...

I have a quibble with something I hate chuck asay said: Rabin may well indeed have done horrible things as a general.

But as an Israeli head of state, he seemed at the time willing to take a real opportunity to forge a lasting peace agreement. The mid '90s were the last time I felt any sort of optimism about the prospects for a livable agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

And unfortunately, the way things have deteriorated since Rabin's murder seems only to bear out that he represented the best and quite possibly last hope for a peaceful settlement. It's only kept getting worse since then.

CW in LA said...

One other thing: I read that one person who actually did decline a Nobel Peace Prize, as some of the usual suspects have been calling on the president to do, was Le Duc Tho, Kissinger's North Vietnamese counterpart, who thought the award inappropriate when a real peace had not yet been achieve.

So it's easy to imagine how the righties would react if Obama did decline the prize: "See? SEE? He's doing exactly what Le Duc Tho did! That proves he's a COMMUNIST!!!!1!1!!!1111!!!!!