Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Nobel Peace Prize, Three Years Later

Alfred Nobel made a fortune from selling explosives.  When he died he willed his estate to establish awards to recognize achievements in the sciences to better mankind.  There are awards in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature.  All are awarded by the Nobel Prize organization in Stockholm Sweden.  It is also fitting that since his developments of explosives contributed to the destruction of man that he established a fifth prize for the advancement of Peace and took the unusual step of completely separating the award from the other four, even to the point it is not awarded in Sweden but in Norway.
The first recipient, in 1901, was Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross. There have been four American Presidents who’ve won the award, starting with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, for his involvement in ending the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.  The next was President Woodrow Wilson, who received the award for 1919 in 1920, for his work on the Armistice that brought World War I to an end.  In 2002 the Norwegian’s awarded President Jimmy Carter the prize for as they said, “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights and to promote economic and social development.”  The fourth, President Barrack Obama, was awarded his prize after 10 months in office for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.  The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world free of nuclear weapons.”  At the time I wrote this short observation on the The Nobel Peace Prize.  Now, three (plus) years later, perhaps its time to see how this Nobel Laureate has furthered the cause of peace.
On the domestic side, he has called the Tea Party terrorists and the sides with OWS crowd as representative of the typical American.  He has encouraged the furtherance of class warfare and racial divide whenever there is a subject that calls for us to come together.  For example, his repeated segregation of the 1% and his condemnation for their wealth, in his statements on the Travon Martin shooting, or interference in state issues such as the union protests in Wisconsin.  As the democrats rammed home his signature piece of domestic legislation, the “Affordable Health Care Act" we certainly didn’t see him working for that peaceful solution with the opposition.  It will be interesting to see what the SCOTUS determines this summer regarding the constitutionality of this legislation.
Internationally, has he slowed the proliferation of Nuclear weapons as the Nobel Committee so hoped for?  I am not aware of any new treaties, and certainly Iran continues to move forward with its nuclear program and development of a way to deliver it to either Israel or Europe.  As someone in the Administration has leaked he personally oversees the drone strikes intended to assassinate leaders of the terrorist networks.  He has reduced the combat troops and called an end to the Iraq war, especially after they asked us to leave, but Afghanistan still continues with no clear strategy to victory, just a plan to pull back U.S. troops in 2014.  He supported the overthrow of the Egyptian and Libyan governments, while watching the Syrian regime continue its slaughter of its citizens.  In the process he has allowed over 10,000 advanced Libyan (Russian) shoulder fired surface to air missiles to go missing. It is true that in many of these issues he has followed the leadership of European countries like France, to help determine if it is in the U.S. national interest, so for at least that, some part the Nobel Committee should be happy.

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