Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize: The Middle Finger of Fame

The view of various political pundits that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama should be seen as a belated slap at the policies of President George W. Bush and his supporters is an appropriate one. This is not the first time this has happened in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize nor will it likely be the last time. The two most recent examples of using the Nobel Peace Prize as a slap at a sitting or former U.S. President happened in 1987 and 1988. In 1987 the Peace Prize went to Oscar Arias Sanchez, who was then the President of Costa Rica. Sanchez was a noted opponent of the Reagan Administration’s Central American policies which called for military support of the Contra uprising against the Sandinista regime in Nicarauga. Sanchez sought a negotiated settlement which would ease tensions and reduce armed conflict between the nations involved in the region. The following year was an even more notable slap at President Reagan. In 1987 the Reagan Administration and the former Soviet Union concluded the historic INF treaty which agreed to eliminate intermediate and short-range missiles from Europe. There was a major campaign in 1988 that President Reagan be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this historic agreement. Instead the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces. This was a real backhand at Reagan because the Reagan Administration had long shown enormous disdain towards the U.N.

So what we’ve seen in recent days is nothing new.

Past is prologue.

The only question about President Obama receiving the prize is whether he can live up to what the prize entails: the furtherance of the cause of peace and the betterment of all humanity. Only time will tell.

Oh yes, another thing. The last African-American citizen to win the Nobel Peace Prize was the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.

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