President Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace prize, was awarded for the things he might one day accomplish.

He might find a peaceful solution in Afghanistan; he might successfully halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program; he might reverse global climate change (since apparently that is criteria as Al Gore was co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize).

I am sickened the committee would give the award in anticipation of what he might accomplish. It doesn’t seem like one of the most sought after, well-respected awards given out to the most influential peace advocates of the last century would be given to someone who might do something. I always thought the awards were given for concrete achievements. After all, teachers do not hand out A’s to students who might do well the night before the test.

Alfred Nobel’s will clearly states the Peace Prize should go “…to the person who 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.”

While the decision is up to the Nobel committee, and there is some ambiguity within the wording of Nobel’s will, I am curious as to what rational was used to dance around concrete language like “shall have done.”

The committee officially states the award was given for “playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting” as well as “Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

Al Gore must feel kind of cheated, after all of the lectures, books, and even a 90-minute documentary on the severity of climate change, and he got to share the Nobel. That is a low blow considering Al Gore invented “Green” (at least more so than he invented the Internet).

And if we really want to talk about what is really green, let’s talk about China, a nation of 1 billion people with one of the world’s fastest growing economies set to invest in green technology.

“China has doubled its installed wind power capacity every year for the past five, and is on pace this year to supplant the United States as the world’s largest market for new installations,” said Peter Fairley, in an article from MIT’s Technology Review.

And if we want to talk about reducing the world’s supply of nuclear weapons let’s get Iran to stop their research. A country, which for decades has been questioned about its uranium enrichment facilities and lied again and again.

A country with leaders immature enough to lie to the world community is too immature to hold a share of the world’s most destructive weapon.

When he does that, I will gladly acknowledge him as a true candidate for the award.

I understand that it is not Obama’s fault. I understand that this has created more problems for the Obama Administration than good. I think the president handled it in the most appropriate manner he could.

I can see Obama as a future recipient of the Nobel peace prize.

His nomination itself is suspect as nominations for the award were due by Feb. 1. This means at the time of nomination, Obama had been in The White House for little more than a week, barely enough time to learn how to find The White House lavatory.

There was also no shortage of candidates for the Nobel committee this year, a record number 205 people were nominated.

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the most prestigious awards, held by the most renowned promoters of peace on the planet.

The Nobel committee is tainting the value of its award by giving it prematurely for abstract reasons.


This column was originally published in The Auburn Plainsman on 10/15/2009.

Posted by:Sam Solomon

I'm a designer, writer and tinkerer. I currently lead workflow and design systems at Salesloft.

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