Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Vaniver » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

Crius wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:No, I'm going to continue believing that this was simply some old Norwegian politicians trying to influence policy in the US. That's far less depressing.


This implies that the peace prize it just a political tool, which is pretty depressing by itself.
But, look at the Bush-era nominees, and see how many Bush opponents show up. I don't think this is new.

TiPerihelion wrote:As far as the prime question as to whether Obama deserves the award, I am with Iv on this one. Obama's approach to politics via peaceful rhetoric and the power of discourse is in fact so revolutionary that no one has even acknowledged it for what it truly is. Speech, rhetoric, discourse - these are the currency of politics. Amassing support from those with power and influence. Those who discount the power of words to effect change in the world remain sadly blind to the way things really work. As some have pointed out, MLK's "actions" would have been meaningless without the power of the ideas he professed. MLK was not assassinated for the things he did, but for the things he dared to say. I, for one, believe his legacy lives on in Obama.
But, a number of pundits on the right acknowledge Obama for what you say he is- all talk. You just think that's the realistic position, while they think it's the unrealistic position. Perhaps now is different from the rest of history- but I'm betting with the conservatives.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby jestingrabbit » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20091008/tt ... 02f96.html

Wanted - a peace maker or rights activist engaged in a current conflict whose influence would benefit greatly from winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Skip related content

That is who Norway's Nobel Committee will choose for 2009 Peace Prize laureate if, as experts expect, it returns closer to Alfred Nobel's notion of peace.

...

Maltese-based bookmaker Betsafe lists Betancourt at 5-to-1, and Tsvangirai at 6-to-1. Austrialian Centrebet has Cordoba and Samar at 6-to-1 and both Obama and Tsvangirai at 7-to-1.


This wasn't a complete surprise, it seems.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Vaniver » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

Hm. Looking at the quoted text from the will- Obama does seem appropriate as someone who did quite a bit for increasing fraternity among nations. But if he did that simply by not being Bush, that doesn't really speak to him. And if he did it because of policy changes, well... the only differences have been abandoning American values, like the friendship of Israel and the Dalai Lama to make others happier. There are such things as bad peace.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:41 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:But if he did that simply by not being Bush, that doesn't really speak to him.

I'm not saying that this is the only way to interpret the prize, but I think it's significant that Obama is an elected head of state, making him both representative of the will of the American people and the representation of American sovereignty. In that sense, the prize might be partly directed at America for electing someone who, at the very least, seems different from Bush.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Sourire » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

Brother Maynard wrote:It should also be remembered that nomination, as far as I know, is in early February.

I.e., TWO WEEKS after the inauguration.

In short, Obama managed to get a Peace Prize for his campaign promises.

Nomination does not equal award assignment. He may have been listed as someone to watch based on campaign promises, but after that point, one of two scenarios would have unfolded.
1) They waited/debated/in any other form did not reach a decision immediately, giving Obama more time to build a track record.
2) They put Obama's name in an envelope two weeks after he took office, and have been hiding it under their pillow in case his actions didn't match what they wanted in a Laureate.


And call me crazy, but I really like the fact that Obama won the award. Now before I say anything, I absolutely hate the hero complex that the majority of the world seems to have for him. But he's been vocal in terms of supporting disarmaments, and has not been drawn to repeat the alliance-lined actions that may have caused international conflict. Despite whether or not you approve of his actions (and globally, most people do), I know I personally feel as though we're making forward progress in a very definite way. And I appreciate that the Nobel committee can recognize the efforts put forth. It's positive reinforcement at worst, and I think there's a strong case to say he deserves it. Just in a way that doesn't necessarily jive with the popular social ideas of what a Nobel Prize should mean.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Lord Aurora » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:59 pm UTC

Sourire wrote:And call me crazy, but I really like the fact that Obama won the award. Now before I say anything, I absolutely hate the hero complex that the majority of the world seems to have for him. But he's been vocal in terms of supporting disarmaments, and has not been drawn to repeat the alliance-lined actions that may have caused international conflict. Despite whether or not you approve of his actions (and globally, most people do), I know I personally feel as though we're making forward progress in a very definite way. And I appreciate that the Nobel committee can recognize the efforts put forth. It's positive reinforcement at worst, and I think there's a strong case to say he deserves it. Just in a way that doesn't necessarily jive with the popular social ideas of what a Nobel Prize should mean.
And yet, for all his talk about doing shit, even most Democrats will agree with you in that he hasn't actually done shit.

We didn't elect him so he could dick around not doing shit.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Garm » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

Lord Aurora wrote:
Sourire wrote:And call me crazy, but I really like the fact that Obama won the award. Now before I say anything, I absolutely hate the hero complex that the majority of the world seems to have for him. But he's been vocal in terms of supporting disarmaments, and has not been drawn to repeat the alliance-lined actions that may have caused international conflict. Despite whether or not you approve of his actions (and globally, most people do), I know I personally feel as though we're making forward progress in a very definite way. And I appreciate that the Nobel committee can recognize the efforts put forth. It's positive reinforcement at worst, and I think there's a strong case to say he deserves it. Just in a way that doesn't necessarily jive with the popular social ideas of what a Nobel Prize should mean.
And yet, for all his talk about doing shit, even most Democrats will agree with you in that he hasn't actually done shit.

We didn't elect him so he could dick around not doing shit.


I wouldn't necessarily say that he hasn't done shit. There was that whole economic thing that he acquired from his predecessor. There's that whole war thing in Iraq that he's dealing with and there's the accompanying keeping the country safe from terrorism that netted some arrests recently. So, you know, the man's been busy. It's just that he could have been a bit better about repealing DADT and shutting down Gitmo, pulling the troops out of Iraq... things that are actually peaceful and stuff.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby H2SO4 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

Garm wrote:I wouldn't necessarily say that he hasn't done shit. There was that whole economic thing that he acquired from his predecessor. There's that whole war thing in Iraq that he's dealing with and there's the accompanying keeping the country safe from terrorism that netted some arrests recently. So, you know, the man's been busy. It's just that he could have been a bit better about repealing DADT and shutting down Gitmo, pulling the troops out of Iraq... things that are actually peaceful and stuff.

And what did he do with that whole economic thing? Absolutely nothing. And Iraq? Nothing good.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Garm » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:32 pm UTC

So the extremely conservative Hoover Institute says that the Stimulus failed. If I remember correctly they were one of the groups talking about how the housing bubble would never burst. Lets go to the phones and talk to someone who predicted the whole downturn in the first place:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200907/roubini

My point about Iraq is that it would have been nice to see more progress on pulling troops out. I think that's pretty clear. The whole thing is a huge drain and a huge distraction.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby H2SO4 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

Garm wrote:So the extremely conservative Hoover Institute says that the Stimulus failed. If I remember correctly they were one of the groups talking about how the housing bubble would never burst. Lets go to the phones and talk to someone who predicted the whole downturn in the first place:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200907/roubini

My point about Iraq is that it would have been nice to see more progress on pulling troops out. I think that's pretty clear. The whole thing is a huge drain and a huge distraction.

Look at who wrote the article. It was technically in the WSJ (which helps a little bit; not as conservative), and look at who *wrote* the article.
Authors wrote:Mr. Cogan, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Taylor, an economics professor at Stanford and a Hoover senior fellow, is the author of "Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged and Worsened the Financial Crisis" (Hoover Press, 2009). Mr. Wieland is a professor of monetary theory at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

You can't say they all have conservative biases. A *Stanford professor* and a professor of monetary theory at *Goethe University,* two of the most left-leaning schools I've ever heard of.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby aleflamedyud » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:39 am UTC

OK, so we already knew that the peace prize is a political blue-ribbon given out to make people feel good about themselves. For God's sake, Yasser Arafat and Henry Kissinger got these things -- they're the walk-in door prizes of peace.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:44 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Look at who wrote the article. It was technically in the WSJ (which helps a little bit; not as conservative), and look at who *wrote* the article.
Authors wrote:Mr. Cogan, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Taylor, an economics professor at Stanford and a Hoover senior fellow, is the author of "Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged and Worsened the Financial Crisis" (Hoover Press, 2009). Mr. Wieland is a professor of monetary theory at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

You can't say they all have conservative biases. A *Stanford professor* and a professor of monetary theory at *Goethe University,* two of the most left-leaning schools I've ever heard of.


The WSJ is a conservative newspaper and Ronald Reagan was a conservative president, and you're saying Taylor doesn't have a conservative bias because he's a professor at Stanford? Condoleezza Rice was Stanford's provost, is she a liberal too?
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Garm » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:56 am UTC

Here's an interesting take from Ezra Klein:

During the campaign, one of the arguments for Obama's candidacy was that his election would give us a costless shot of international goodwill. That the symbolism of his election would aid America's international standing without forcing any substantive policy concessions. At the time, that was a very big deal: Leaders were winning elections in other countries in no small part by tying incumbents to George W. Bush. That made it a lot harder for our allies to loudly support our initiatives. Fixing that was not going to be easy. Candidates and countries pay a lot of money to better their public image. Obama, some said, could do some of it on the cheap. Andrew Sullivan made the argument well:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man — Barack Hussein Obama — is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.


The Nobel Committee said, in essence, thank you for proving us wrong. The prize was about what Obama meant to other countries, or at least to the Nobel Committee. Not what he currently means to America.


link: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/10/obamas_nobel_prize.html
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:44 am UTC

I've always argued that if the United States was a parliamentary republic where the Prime Minister ran the show and the President was a symbolic figurehead, Obama would make a great President.

Pity he actually runs the show, though.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Kayube » Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:55 am UTC

It may be too early for him to get a prize like this, but it should at least end all the crowing from conservatives about how "the world rejected Obama" by not giving the Olympics to Chicago.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Kain » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:27 am UTC

I am going to completely ignore the debate about whether or not Obama deserves the prize, and instead just state that I wish they had awarded it to him next year. Maybe then there would be much less debate on the internet about him "doing nothing" (heh, yeah right, like the internet would ever suffer a lack in debates on just about anything), and maybe it would have helped with the midterm elections...

Anyways, as an American it seems that this should be a moment of pride for our country, and not that xenophobic type of pride I keep hearing when I am forced to listen to Fox News... (sorry for the hate, but, well.. they deserve it).
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby H2SO4 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:18 am UTC

Kain wrote:Anyways, as an American it seems that this should be a moment of pride for our country, and not that xenophobic type of pride I keep hearing when I am forced to listen to Fox News... (sorry for the hate, but, well.. they deserve it).

'Xenophobic type of pride?' Please, defend these accusations.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Phen » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:59 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
Kain wrote:Anyways, as an American it seems that this should be a moment of pride for our country, and not that xenophobic type of pride I keep hearing when I am forced to listen to Fox News... (sorry for the hate, but, well.. they deserve it).

'Xenophobic type of pride?' Please, defend these accusations.

Are you being serious? I can't tell.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

Oh he's totally serious. And the fact that Fox News loves John Bolton so much totally won't be enough for him.

John Bolton wrote:There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that's the United States, when it suits our interests, and when we can get others to go along. I think it would be a real mistake to count on the U.N. as if it's some disembodied entity out there that can function.


Or that pretty much all of their anchors and hosts buy into the idea of American Exceptionalism, which used to mean "we hold ourselves to a higher standard" and now means "we're just straight up better than all y'all"
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Velict » Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

That excerpt isn't too inaccurate. America is the dominant geopolitical and economic power in the world (although competitors such as China, India, and the EU are emerging), and arguably the only superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90s. Call it "American exceptionalism", but this bit of nationalism does have its roots in the political structure of the world today. America is, possibly to a lesser extent, where Great Britain and Germany were at the dawn of the 20th century.

Also, there's some truth in the inefficacy of the United Nations. Thanks in part to American politics (i.e. using the UN as a tool to create international support for American policy), the UN holds very little actual power in the world today.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Kizyr » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:14 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:The WSJ is a conservative newspaper and Ronald Reagan was a conservative president, and you're saying Taylor doesn't have a conservative bias because he's a professor at Stanford? Condoleezza Rice was Stanford's provost, is she a liberal too?

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

If Jesus Christ returned to endorse Barack Obama, there would be an op-ed in the WSJ ranting about how a once noble spiritual guru had lost his credibility and become a laughingstock. The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful. The fact that that is up for contention shows how the American right has lost its credibility and become a laughingstock. Sometimes, even in a tit-for-tat game like politics, one side is more deeply wrong than the other.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Oh he's totally serious. And the fact that Fox News loves John Bolton so much totally won't be enough for him.

John Bolton wrote:There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that's the United States, when it suits our interests, and when we can get others to go along. I think it would be a real mistake to count on the U.N. as if it's some disembodied entity out there that can function.


Or that pretty much all of their anchors and hosts buy into the idea of American Exceptionalism, which used to mean "we hold ourselves to a higher standard" and now means "we're just straight up better than all y'all"


Far as I can tell, Bolton's making a plain, simple, statement of fact there. The UN has never done anything, especially not lately, without the leadership and the driving force of the US behind it. Without that driving force, the UN is insufficient. But with the driving force of the US, the UN is also unnecessary--in Yugoslavia, NATO served as the organizing party.

Woxor wrote:If Jesus Christ returned to endorse Barack Obama, there would be an op-ed in the WSJ ranting about how a once noble spiritual guru had lost his credibility and become a laughingstock. The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful. The fact that that is up for contention shows how the American right has lost its credibility and become a laughingstock. Sometimes, even in a tit-for-tat game like politics, one side is more deeply wrong than the other.


So a bunch of retired Norwegian politicians use the Nobel Peace Prize to endorse a do-nothing Democratic president (rather than what the prize was intended for, to recognize actual peacemakers who have actually made peace somewhere), and the Republicans are the ones out of line for complaining?
Last edited by Philwelch on Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby i » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

Maybe if they stopped giving it out every year they wouldn't have to deal with such sub-par candidates.

There are senators who have single-handedly done more than Obama has ever promised.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Velict » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:07 pm UTC

Woxor wrote:If Jesus Christ returned to endorse Barack Obama, there would be an op-ed in the WSJ ranting about how a once noble spiritual guru had lost his credibility and become a laughingstock. The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful. The fact that that is up for contention shows how the American right has lost its credibility and become a laughingstock. Sometimes, even in a tit-for-tat game like politics, one side is more deeply wrong than the other.



I don't see this being self-evident. Can you explain your logic?

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:42 pm UTC

Velict wrote:I don't see this being self-evident. Can you explain your logic?

You're right; it's not necessarily self-evident. (That said, I also don't feel like my logic is all that far-fetched.) Here's where I'm coming from:

First, we're talking about the Nobel Peace Prize. This isn't a daytime Emmy or even a Time Magazine "Person of the Year" award, and there is a certain amount of prestige and history that accompanies the institution. In that sense, the Nobel Institute has amassed credibility over the last century, and a couple of fairly recent controversial choices don't erase that credibility. To the contrary, the prestige and credibility should earn, at the very least, a charitable interpretation of why the award was given. In short, a historically meaningful award should not be written off as meaningless just because it is given once or even a few times to people whose political opponents feel don't deserve it.

The charitable interpretation which I feel is deserved is that the award was given, as stated, as a show of support and approval. I feel the folks at the Nobel Institute did a very good job justifying themselves:
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
In other words, Obama, the leader of the most powerful country on Earth, holding what is arguably the most influential position in world politics, represents exactly the international philosophy that the Nobel Prize is intended to encourage. After all, this prize is not just intended to make people feel good about themselves. Its purpose is to promote peace; giving the prize to someone whom the world sees as representing a new era of cooperation and sanity does just that.

To a relevant loyal opposition with a legitimate point, this time would be an opportunity to demonstrate good sportsmanship and remind independent voters of the opposing perspective. The sitting head of state has just won the Nobel Peace Prize for ostensibly promoting cooperation and understanding ... say, "Congratulations to the president, we agree with cooperation and understanding, and we're glad that the world views America in a better light. We hope that the president will use this award to help promote such things internationally, but we would caution him against two things: failing to live up to the responsibility of promoting cooperation and understanding, and using the prize as a political tool domestically, since all the Nobel prizes in the world won't fix the economy, and a more logical fiscal policy is badly needed. Lower taxes, cut government spending, blah blah blah, etc." Or something to that effect. Don't just shit on the award, unless peace and cooperation really isn't a desired objective, because that's all it's intended to promote.

EDIT:
Philwelch wrote:So a bunch of retired Norwegian politicians use the Nobel Peace Prize to endorse a do-nothing Democratic president (rather than what the prize was intended for, to recognize actual peacemakers who have actually made peace somewhere), and the Republicans are the ones out of line for complaining?

No, and yes. He's not a "do-nothing" president, and see above.

EDIT: See, this is how it's done:
John McCain wrote:"I can't divine all their intentions -- but I think part of their decision-making was expectations, and I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "But as Americans, we're proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category."

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:32 pm UTC

Woxor wrote:First, we're talking about the Nobel Peace Prize. This isn't a daytime Emmy or even a Time Magazine "Person of the Year" award, and there is a certain amount of prestige and history that accompanies the institution. In that sense, the Nobel Institute has amassed credibility over the last century, and a couple of fairly recent controversial choices don't erase that credibility.


Actually, I'd say the Nobel Peace Prize has no credibility left.

It's beyond "a couple of fairly recent controversial choices", since it dates back to 1906 (Theodore Roosevelt), 1973 (Kissinger), and 1994 (Arafat), among others. It's been given for peacefully resolving the Vietnam War (which ultimately was not peacefully resolved), twice for peacefully resolving the Israel/Arab conflict (which has yet to be resolved), and so forth. Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have included dictators, terrorists, war criminals, warmongers, and frauds.

Woxor wrote:To the contrary, the prestige and credibility should earn, at the very least, a charitable interpretation of why the award was given. In short, a historically meaningful award should not be written off as meaningless just because it is given once or even a few times to people whose political opponents feel don't deserve it.


What if it is given several times to people who have accomplished nothing to earn it, and a few times to people who actively oppose peace?

Woxor wrote:The charitable interpretation which I feel is deserved is that the award was given, as stated, as a show of support and approval....In other words, Obama, the leader of the most powerful country on Earth, holding what is arguably the most influential position in world politics, represents exactly the international philosophy that the Nobel Prize is intended to encourage. After all, this prize is not just intended to make people feel good about themselves. Its purpose is to promote peace; giving the prize to someone whom the world sees as representing a new era of cooperation and sanity does just that.


The problem is that Obama has done absolutely nothing to further the cause of world peace other than making some nice-sounding rhetoric and getting his ass elected, which is what every president does. He hasn't even diffused a single international incident (like Bush did with the Chinese in April of 2001).

Woxor wrote:Don't just shit on the award, unless peace and cooperation really isn't a desired objective, because that's all it's intended to promote.


Most people I've heard, even those supportive of Obama, think the prize was premature. If you really think he's all that and a bag of chips, don't you think they should have saved the peace prize for when he actually did something?
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:17 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Actually, I'd say the Nobel Peace Prize has no credibility left.

That's a perfectly understandable but suspiciously-timed opinion. If you don't believe it's credible per se, I still think the cultural impact must be acknowledged: it's not like saying "I'm going to win a Nobel prize!" is the same as saying, "I'm going to Disneyland!" For most people, Nobel prizes are prestigious.

Furthermore, trashing the prize is not a constructive stance at all, while the prize at least attempts to do something good. It's hard to demonstrate real harm that comes from the prize. If people view the prize as more prestigious, it will be, meaning that those who dismiss it for political reasons may be actively harming any chance it had of promoting peace.

Philwelch wrote:It's beyond "a couple of fairly recent controversial choices", since it dates back to 1906 (Theodore Roosevelt), 1973 (Kissinger), and 1994 (Arafat), among others. It's been given for peacefully resolving the Vietnam War (which ultimately was not peacefully resolved), twice for peacefully resolving the Israel/Arab conflict (which has yet to be resolved), and so forth. Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have included dictators, terrorists, war criminals, warmongers, and frauds.

The missing observation here is that the prize can function as a promotional tool; if it couldn't, it wouldn't have much reason for existing. Kissinger and Arafat might not have deserved the prize in the sense of having earned it through achieving peace, but the Vietnam war and the ongoing Palestinian crap are both threats to peace, and it's meaningful to show support for ending them.

Philwelch wrote:The problem is that Obama has done absolutely nothing to further the cause of world peace other than making some nice-sounding rhetoric and getting his ass elected, which is what every president does.

Seems like every president should be getting this award, then. It seems to me, though, that Bush's terrible, warmongering rhetoric is what made this award meaningful: Obama reassured the world that America actually intends to promote peace instead of invading countries for little to no reason. Maybe if the world moved closer to believing us, there would be less anti-American sentiment. Contrary to the modern Republican talking points, we should care what the rest of the world thinks, because that is precisely the context in which wars and terrorism occur.

Philwelch wrote:Most people I've heard, even those supportive of Obama, think the prize was premature. If you really think he's all that and a bag of chips, don't you think they should have saved the peace prize for when he actually did something?

Maybe, unless the cause of peace would be advanced more by giving it now, which sends the clear message, "We like where you're going with this. Dump the warmongering and unilateralism."

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:05 am UTC

Woxor wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Actually, I'd say the Nobel Peace Prize has no credibility left.

That's a perfectly understandable but suspiciously-timed opinion.


They had little credibility with me before, but awarding it to Obama just for getting himself elected and saying the right things hurts the credibility of the prize more than it helps Obama.

Woxor wrote:If you don't believe it's credible per se, I still think the cultural impact must be acknowledged: it's not like saying "I'm going to win a Nobel prize!" is the same as saying, "I'm going to Disneyland!" For most people, Nobel prizes are prestigious.


Yes, but awarding the prize for frivolous reasons erodes that prestige.

Woxor wrote:Furthermore, trashing the prize is not a constructive stance at all, while the prize at least attempts to do something good. It's hard to demonstrate real harm that comes from the prize. If people view the prize as more prestigious, it will be, meaning that those who dismiss it for political reasons may be actively harming any chance it had of promoting peace.


So your solution is that we all pretend the emperor is wearing clothes whenever the prize is given away frivolously or erroneously?

Woxor wrote:
Philwelch wrote:The problem is that Obama has done absolutely nothing to further the cause of world peace other than making some nice-sounding rhetoric and getting his ass elected, which is what every president does.

Seems like every president should be getting this award, then.


Seems like a fairly meaningless award, then.

The contrast with Bush is remarkable, since the Bush Administration had the full support of the world community and multiple peaceful diplomatic successes by October of 2001.

Woxor wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Most people I've heard, even those supportive of Obama, think the prize was premature. If you really think he's all that and a bag of chips, don't you think they should have saved the peace prize for when he actually did something?

Maybe, unless the cause of peace would be advanced more by giving it now, which sends the clear message, "We like where you're going with this. Dump the warmongering and unilateralism."


I think you've just outlined another important criticism—it's an attempt to establish foreign influence over American national security by pressuring Obama into fulfilling some idealistic mandate for peace. Take Afghanistan, for instance. To the extent that Obama respects the international community and the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be reluctant to apply additional forces or implement a "surge" in Afghanistan.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Malice » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:11 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:I think you've just outlined another important criticism—it's an attempt to establish foreign influence over American national security by pressuring Obama into fulfilling some idealistic mandate for peace. Take Afghanistan, for instance. To the extent that Obama respects the international community and the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be reluctant to apply additional forces or implement a "surge" in Afghanistan.


Unless he determines that the quickest and least bloody way to fight the war is to focus efforts and end it now, Truman style.

(Er. I don't mean Obama should drop a nuke; I mean that, like Truman, he should use overwhelming force to decisively win a war.)
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby The Reaper » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:46 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Philwelch wrote:I think you've just outlined another important criticism—it's an attempt to establish foreign influence over American national security by pressuring Obama into fulfilling some idealistic mandate for peace. Take Afghanistan, for instance. To the extent that Obama respects the international community and the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be reluctant to apply additional forces or implement a "surge" in Afghanistan.


Unless he determines that the quickest and least bloody way to fight the war is to focus efforts and end it now, Truman style.

(Er. I don't mean Obama should drop a nuke; I mean that, like Truman, he should use overwhelming force to decisively win a war.)

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Aikanaro » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:06 am UTC

Semi OT, but not totally:
Spoiler:
a bizarre thought occurred to me today: "Ending" the war, i.e., just doing SOMETHING that would provide Americans with a sense of closure, might also be a good start to fixing the current economic situation, by way of providing a nice surge to the stock market. Catching bin Laden (assuming it's doable, at this point) might be a good way of doing this.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:41 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:So your solution is that we all pretend the emperor is wearing clothes whenever the prize is given away frivolously or erroneously?

Not really. I'm saying that there's no harm in focusing on the most constructive aspects of this prize. The goodwill is ours to utilize by accepting it for what it is, or to piss it away by dismissing it. As a country, we gain nothing by doing the latter.

Philwelch wrote:Seems like a fairly meaningless award, then.

The point is that not every president gets the award, meaning something in this case is different. Therefore your argument (that Obama has done nothing that isn't done by every president) must be missing something.

Philwelch wrote:The contrast with Bush is remarkable, since the Bush Administration had the full support of the world community and multiple peaceful diplomatic successes by October of 2001.

Yes, all the more remarkable in that Bush went to war that month, and then again a year and a half later. And generally acted with or without international cooperation, with a more-or-less explicit policy of disregarding diplomatic options. Bush is a perfect example of how an American president can squander international goodwill and act in a way that undermines any global drive towards peace and diplomacy. Obama is building it back up.

Philwelch wrote:I think you've just outlined another important criticism—it's an attempt to establish foreign influence over American national security by pressuring Obama into fulfilling some idealistic mandate for peace. Take Afghanistan, for instance. To the extent that Obama respects the international community and the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be reluctant to apply additional forces or implement a "surge" in Afghanistan.

That's his decision to make, and there's absolutely no threat to our national security posed by the Nobel Peace Prize. The only way that the prize grants any foreign influence over our security is if Obama is willing to sacrifice our security for his global political consistency, in which case you might as well worry that he'll sacrifice our security on a bet or for a bribe. It might be true, but I'm betting not.

The idea that Obama will be painted into a corner by accepting the award is a false narrative: the conservative talking heads are essentially saying, "If Obama accepts this award and then amps up the war, we will totally call him a hypocrite." So what? Let them. They will anyway.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:01 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Philwelch wrote:I think you've just outlined another important criticism—it's an attempt to establish foreign influence over American national security by pressuring Obama into fulfilling some idealistic mandate for peace. Take Afghanistan, for instance. To the extent that Obama respects the international community and the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be reluctant to apply additional forces or implement a "surge" in Afghanistan.


Unless he determines that the quickest and least bloody way to fight the war is to focus efforts and end it now, Truman style.


That's exactly the kind of thing the Peace Prize pressures him not to do.

Woxor wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Seems like a fairly meaningless award, then.

The point is that not every president gets the award, meaning something in this case is different. Therefore your argument (that Obama has done nothing that isn't done by every president) must be missing something.


Yes: Obama has massive amounts of celebrity, a highly unpopular immediate predecessor, and an unusual racial heritage for an American president. Each of these things has gotten him hailed as some savior and historic figure without him even doing anything, even before he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Please tell me a single constructive, exceptional thing Obama has actually accomplished for world peace.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:34 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Please tell me a single constructive, exceptional thing Obama has actually accomplished for world peace.

... and we're back to the beginning.
Woxor wrote:The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful.

The question of whether he has "accomplished [something] for world peace" is loaded, because obviously it's premature to evaluate his accomplishments. It's not, however, premature to evaluate what he's done to reassure the world that our outlook is different now that he's in charge. Words are actually important sometimes, never moreso than in diplomacy.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:56 am UTC

Woxor wrote:...obviously it's premature to evaluate his accomplishments.


But it's not premature to award him a fucking medal for them?

Woxor wrote:It's not, however, premature to evaluate what he's done to reassure the world that our outlook is different now that he's in charge. Words are actually important sometimes, never moreso than in diplomacy.


How reassured is the world, exactly? Exactly which diplomatic tensions have been eased in the past nine months? What evidence of this do we have?
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Iv » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:51 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:How reassured is the world, exactly? Exactly which diplomatic tensions have been eased in the past nine months? What evidence of this do we have?

Well, for one I sleep better at night knowing that the person in the White House doesn't believe Saint John's Apocalypse has a literal meaning. I think a lot of people, including several world leaders feel that way. That he does not buy the idea of disguising a crusade into an operation promoting freedom is a way of helping diplomacy replace military tension.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:20 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:But it's not premature to award him a fucking medal for them?

You obviously haven't read a word I've written.

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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:23 pm UTC

I've read all of them. The fact that you fail to make logical sense and that I consequently reject your argument does not mean that I didn't read it.
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Re: Um... Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

Postby Woxor » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:30 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:I've read all of them. The fact that you fail to make logical sense and that I consequently reject your argument does not mean that I didn't read it.

Woxor wrote:The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful.

Philwelch wrote:Please tell me a single constructive, exceptional thing Obama has actually accomplished for world peace.

Woxor wrote:
Woxor wrote:The award is a show of support, not a reward for achievement, but that is still meaningful.

The question of whether he has "accomplished [something] for world peace" is loaded, because obviously it's premature to evaluate his accomplishments.

Philwelch wrote:But it's not premature to award him a fucking medal for them?

Come on. I'm not wasting any more time on you.


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