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The Nobel “They Like Me, They Really Like Me” Prize

That’s what the Nobel Peace Prize has become.  This was evident when Yassar Arafat won it in 1994 for pretending to go along with a peace agreement with Israel while continuing hostilities.  This was evident when Al Gore won it in 2007 for his work on climate change of all things, because it might, maybe, in the worst of all possible worlds, lead to conflict.

When Jimmy Carter won it in 2002, it was not so much for his work on peace in the Middle East, because that was in 1978 and when he rightfully should have shared in it.  No, the belated award was a poke in George W. Bush’s eye, and the committee said as much.

Little by little, this award is becoming more about politics & intentions than about actual peace.  And today’s awarding of it to President Barack Obama continues that descent.

For one of America’s youngest presidents, in office less than nine months — and only for 12 days before the Nobel nomination deadline last February — it was an enormous honor.

The prize seems to be more for Obama’s promise than for his performance. Work on the president’s ambitious agenda, both at home and abroad, is barely underway, much less finished. He has no standout moment of victory that would seem to warrant a verdict as sweeping as that issued by the Nobel committee.

When even the Associated Press recognizes that this is entirely premature, that’s saying something.

Lech Walesa had this to say:

“So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far,” former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, said Friday. “He is still at an early stage.”

In 1983, Walesa actually did something to promote peace. That was well-deserved.

12 days after taking office? Again we see, starkly, that for the liberal elite, talk is more important, promises more esteemed, than action actually is.  “If you want what we want in the way we want it, that’s good enough”, is the message.  The Nobel Peace Prize is slowly losing its meaning.

Even in Norway, where Mr. Obama enjoys huge popularity, the decision raised eyebrows among some. “It is just too soon,” said Siv Jensen, leader of Norway’s main opposition party, the Progress Party. “It is wrong to give him the peace prize for his ambition. You should receive it for results.”

She said that the decision to bestow the award on the president was the most controversial she could remember and was one of a number that had moved the prize further away from the ideals of Alfred Nobel.

Others made the same point in somewhat more diplomatic language. Amnesty International, which won the peace prize in 1977, congratulated Mr. Obama but said he couldn’t stop there. “President Obama has taken some positive steps towards improving human rights in the U.S.A. and abroad, but much remains to be done,” said Irene Kahn, Amnesty’s secretary general.

The Nobel Committee, by trying to give clout to someone who hasn’t produced results yet, is watering down the very clout that they’re intending to confer.  If results don’t matter, neither will the prize.

Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes.

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