October 9, 2009
Even CNN was shocked. Even the Obama White House was shocked.
"Only nine months into his presidency," reported a baffled CNN news anchor this morning, "President Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The announcement made jaws drop even at the White House."
When I first heard the news, I thought it was a joke.
The announcement from the Nobel Committee defies belief, even as I've come to expect the inconceivable from the committee. I learned long ago not to take the Nobel Committee seriously. And yet, this gesture far exceeds any previous towering leap of incredulity by the committee.
To be sure, I knew the Nobel Committee would at some point award Barack Obama its hallowed prize. That was a given. But right now, only nine months into Obama's presidency, when Obama himself would surely agree that he cannot name a single foreign-policy accomplishment?
Actually, the situation is worse than that: According to news reports, nominations took place eight months ago, only weeks into Obama's presidency.
How could that be? Does this make any sense at all?
It does when you consider what the Nobel Committee has become, and how it operates according to leftist political objectives. The committee has honored Barack Obama in order to make a political statement in support and encouragement of his foreign policy. The committee knows that its award has nothing to do with the absent foreign-policy accomplishments of a presidency not even a year old, or a diplomatic record that doesn't exist. Its purpose is to help Obama pursue the kind of foreign policy favored by the leftists who run the Nobel Committee.
The European-globalists on the committee agree fully with the leaders who heaped praise on Obama during the U.N. circus two weeks ago. They agree with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez that Obama has brought "hope" to the world. They agree with Fidel Castro's hailing Obama's lead on "climate change." They agree with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Obama agrees with him on America's past "ugly behavior." Like Moammar Kaddafi, they wish Obama could be president "forever."
This award is not a statement on what Obama has done but a rubber-stamp approval of his plans for America and the world. The committee wants to lend cover to Obama as he pursues a global course opposed by conservative Republicans back home and his generals and commanders abroad. To be sure, this is the kind of meddling in domestic politics that the Nobel Committee usually decries.
That said, I'm actually quite pleased with this action. Why? Because it further undermines the credibility of the Nobel Committee as an allegedly impartial organization. This further shows that the group is inherently political and unabashedly left-wing. In other words, this gesture has the noble effect of exposing the ignoble Nobel Committee for what it really is.
I would like to offer two quick examples from the very recent past:
In 2002, the Nobel Committee awarded President Jimmy Carter. Personally, I long supported recognizing Carter for negotiating the Camp David Accords, which was a great accomplishment in an otherwise disastrous presidency. And yet, the Nobel Committee waited over two decades to give Carter the prize. It awaited the presidency of George W. Bush, whose foreign policy these liberal Europeans doggedly opposed, as did a very vocal Jimmy Carter.
The committee's decision to finally commend Carter was motivated in large part by its desire to make a statement against Bush. It was a crass political move by the shamelessly partisan committee. It put a dark cloud over Carter's recognition; it stained the prize.
One more example: A decade before Carter, the Nobel Committee honored Mikhail Gorbachev.
Here, too, I think Gorbachev deserves accolades. I'm a conservative who credits Gorbachev for helping to peacefully end the Cold War. Unfortunately, the committee should have given Ronald Reagan a share in that prize. Instead, the committee specifically thanked Gorbachev for taking down the Berlin Wall, an action that Gorbachev had explicitly opposed from the outset—thus prompting Reagan's Brandenburg Gate speech. What a farce.
And now, in 2009, once again, the Nobel Committee has honored a leader in a blatantly political way—and in a way that dishonors itself.
Frankly, Obama supporters should be angry. This award, based on transparent political interests, will not be taken seriously. Had the Nobel Committee done this later, Obama's advocates would have something to applaud.
Instead, they will find themselves trying to defend the nonsensical—or, at least, the left-wing nonsense of the Nobel Committee.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include "The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand" and "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism."