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Author Topic: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?  (Read 6021 times)

Aamer

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Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« on: October 12, 2009, 01:37:14 pm »
It's simple, but try and elaborate a little as to why he does or does not.
On the one side, he hasn't really done anything yet. Good intention isn't enough.. where is the action?
on the other side, he has sparked global communications about nuke non-proliferations and "extended a hand" to "enemies" of the US/western world. The outcomes could be great but they could also be nothing.
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oarsof6

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 08:27:26 pm »
Should he have won the award? Well, on one hand he wasn't responsible for spilling the Vietnam War into Cambodia like Henry Kissinger, didn't facilitate numerous terrorist attacks against Israel like Yasser Arafat, so he probably shouldn't have won the award, unlike Kissinger and Arafat. On the other hand, Obama didn't lead a lifelong non-violent struggle to free the Indian people from British Colonialism like Gandhi (not a Nobel peace prize winner), so Obama gets major Nobel points for that.

In the end, it's what Obama HOPES to do that matters with the Nobel Committee. Leading up the decision, the Obama Administration has not only kept Guantanamo Bay open, not changed the troop withdraw schedule from Iraq, and continued threats on Iran, but is actually considering escalating the Afghanistan war by adding another 40,000 troops... this plan is obviously in line with Kissinger and Arafat, not Gandhi. Keeping with precedent, I agree with the Nobel Committee's decision to award President Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 02:21:45 pm by oarsof6 »

Trerro

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 08:58:52 am »
Looking up the prize, it's supposed to go to
Quote
the person who during the preceding year [...] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
(I'm quoting Wikipedia here, but I doubt they'd get that wrong.)

The key words there being "the most or the best" - if we get a year where there's no obvious choice, SOMEONE has to get it, and it has to be based on their actions that year. They may have decided that there simply wasn't anyone of Gandhi's or Mother Teresa's caliber this year, and Obama's efforts, while they've achieved little thus far, do satisfy the criteria, especially the "holding and promotion of peace congresses", which is certainly something that very much distinguishes Obama from Bush.

The specific words they chose in awarding him the prize were:
Quote
for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples
Source: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/

That is a major trait of his foreign policy, so they clearly didn't just pull it out of their asses.

So, there's 2 ways this can be invalid:
1. There's a more worthy recipient. I can't think of a super obvious name here, so while Obama is a weak choice, I'm not sure there actually was a better one. AFAIK, no serious progress was made in the middle east in the last year, no major diseases were cured, no dictatorships fell, no wars were ended... I really can't think of any case where one person did something hugely significant to award the prize on, so they have to settle with the best they can get. Obama's a rather weak choice, but the question isn't whether he was a weak choice, it's whether they were was a better one. I honestly don't know... I WANT to believe there is, but I certainly can't think of one.
2. He stands against the criteria the prizes are awarded on. You could certainly argue that sending more troops to Afghanistan is hardly "reducing standing armies", but then if the goal is to get all troops out of Iraq, while increasing troops in Afghanistan by a smaller amount, the overall balance is actually a reduction. Of course, he doesn't seem to be doing anything to speed up Iraq withdrawal, so this could be an issue. Gitmo he neither started nor made worse, so I don't think he can be DQed for that - although this is another thing that could make another candidate stand out more. Continuing warantless wiretapping is certainly a black mark on his record, but then at the same time he's protected net neutrality and he's improved government transparency... perhaps they decided these cancel out? There's certainly places to criticize, but I don't see anything Kissinger-level.

As Oars has pointed out, there's been a lot of controversial choices, the Kissinger one especially, which actually caused 2 of 5 committee members to resign.
Source: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/articles/controversies/index.html

Gandhi actually DID get one, but posthumously (see the Wikipedia article or the peace prize site.)

So... I think some of the choices for the prize have been terrible, but I don't think it's happened so often that it's a farce.

So, in the absence of any giant red "you can't give it to someone who did X!" and the absence of anyone suggesting a better choice, I can see why they'd pick Obama, although I really, REALLY hope they missed someone. If what he did really was the largest move towards world peace in the last year, we've got issues. :P
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GPH

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 11:21:45 am »
I have to say my main problem with this is that he was apparently nominated for the prize only a few days after he came to power. At which point he literally had done nothing whatsoever, including making speeches and holding meetings which is all you could currently claim.

Having said that a quick internet browse found that there were apparently over 200 nominees this year, more than any previous year, so there was obviously less far of a consensus on a few people making a large difference. Apparently the names of the nominees who didn't win won't be officially released for many years so we can't peruse them and decide ourselves if he was the most qualified, but I do find it hard to believe he'd done more in his first 12 days in office for peace than anyone else in the world in the rest of the year.

Even if you think Obama deserves the award I think it would have been highly sensible to wait until next year before nominating him so that he could be nominated based on his actual achievements instead of just his aims.
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oarsof6

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 02:47:44 pm »
Actually Trerro, Gandhi did not even win the award posthumously, obviously because he did not fit in the Nobel Peace Prize standards. Like Gandhi, 2009 Peace Prize nominee and Chinese dissident Hu Jia got it wrong. He spent the past decade focusing on the "Chinese pro-democracy movement, Chinese environmentalist movement, and HIV/AIDS in the People's Republic of China. Hu is the director of June Fourth Heritage & Culture Association, and he has been involved with AIDS advocacy as the executive director of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education and as one of the founders of the non-governmental organization Loving Source. He has also been involved in work to protect the endangered Tibetan antelope." In December of 2007, Hu Jia was jailed by the Chinese for these efforts, after peasants across China started demanding property rights.

You see, this where Hu Jia went wrong... he should have lead a violent revolt spreading into the rest of China like Vietnamese General and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner Lê Ðức Thọ... then he would have won the prize over Obama. Maybe Hu Jia can learn from this and secure the nomination in 2010 (if he can get out of the Chinese prison, of course).

By the way, what's up with the hyperlinks not underlining anything? I had to use the underline tag just to get the underline on my link.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 11:30:41 pm by oarsof6 »

GPH

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2009, 10:01:08 pm »
Quote
On November 18, 1948, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate". Chairman Gunnar Jahn wrote in his diary: "To me it seems beyond doubt that a posthumous award would be contrary to the intentions of the testator."

So basically they were going to give him the award but they decided that Nobel wouldn't have approved of giving the award to someone already dead so instead they gave it to no-one that year. Can't really say I see the logic. It would have seemed better to have awarded the prize money to a charity in his honour or some such rather than just not awarding it at all.

Does raise the interesting point though that there was obviously precedent for not awarding a Nobel prize in a given year due to a lack of any candidates standing out. Could have done that instead of awarding it to Obama but as I said, in so far as I can see I'd rather someone gets the prize money and puts it to good use than not award the prize at all.

Do I think he deserved the prize? I imagine there are those more deserving. Does it particularly bother me? I read he was giving the money away to charity, so not really.
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Lady_Shiannel

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 04:40:58 am »
*Shrugs* Who actually deserves any award, except that someone decide that they do? Obama said himself that he didn't deserve it, but even he does not call the shots. The Nobel Committee came out and said that Obama deserved the award, and because they're the ones who set who does and does not deserve the award, Obama deserved it.

Galeesa

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 09:41:42 pm »
no he did not deserve it... how do you do enough to warrant an award in you a few weeks as president? are we supposed to believe every politicians lie?i'm not about to believe in a false hope... the Nobel committee may be ready to, but America isn't
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GPH

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 09:16:07 pm »
Quote
are we supposed to believe every politicians lie?i'm not about to believe in a false hope... the Nobel committee may be ready to, but America isn't

Well to be fair he was elected by the American people on the basis of promises and hope for change. So America is apparently ready to believe in him. The rest of the world wouldn't really care who he was if the American public hadn't done so and showed that opinion by voting.

Also according to their website the people who can nominate someone for an award are many and varied so you can't blame the Nobel committee for the nomination which was my main complaint, only their final decision.

In the end of the day just because the Nobel prize award system isn't perfect doesn't mean that getting a Nobel prize means nothing. Frankly I'd imagine Obama himself is probably kinda annoyed they gave it to him this year as well, what ya gonna do :P
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illuvatar10

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2010, 03:10:37 am »
He definitely did not deserve it. Unless the nobel peace prize is based on pure intention...Obama hasn't done much if anything to merit being awarded the nobel peace prize and although I have no doubt that he "inspired hope" into many people, he has yet to make a significant impact on the global political climate.

iggy

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2010, 03:15:14 pm »
Just to be clear, what do you define as "a significant impact"?


I think he's doing a pretty good job atm, the only real mistake he's made so far is letting pointless discussions with the more extreme republicans go on for far too long before ignoring them and just doing it without their input. America's image has certainly been somewhat restored after 8 years of peeing on diplomacy. But no, he didn't deserve the nobel prize before doing anything and he still doesn't deserve it :P

It was more of a statement then anything else I think which is obviously pretty bad when you're supposed to be objective.

illuvatar10

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Re: Debate: Does Obama deserve the Nobel peace prize?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2010, 07:41:18 pm »
Well I guess i just mean something big like ending a war or just something that has global implications. I agree that he has definitely improved america's image and has definitely eased tensions with several countries that, as of late, america has been less than friendly with. He is re-opening lots of doors and I believe is making significant progress. I definitely agree about letting pointless discussions go on, some of it was a bit ridiculous.