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TheHalcyonYear
2009-Oct-09, 07:32 PM
Why can't people just wish someone the best on winning a prize rather than having to question the award? Are all the other Nobel Prize awards debated with such intensity?

Neverfly
2009-Oct-10, 04:52 AM
I actually had thought about starting a thread on it, myself. Then I thought, "I had better not."
Since a lot of people seem to be questioning the man in question a lot in any case, I think it's understandable that it would be questioned as to why he was awarded.

I do not know the answer, myself. I had thought that something like a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded years after any events that caused a person to be considered for the award had happened.

Obama accepted gracefully and I would say that he should be congratulated.

Gillianren
2009-Oct-10, 06:07 AM
Why can't people just wish someone the best on winning a prize rather than having to question the award? Are all the other Nobel Prize awards debated with such intensity?

Not all of them, no, but an awful lot. Even in less political categories.

Ara Pacis
2009-Oct-10, 06:28 AM
I think people like to read too much into things and find subtext where there is none, because of recent history where we got bit on the rear end by ignoring subtext. Anymore it seems to me to mean about the same level of distinction as Time's "Man of the Year" Award. Time lost me when they put a mirror on their cover and said it's "You". I always thought such awards were supposed to be something akin to a Lifetime Achievement award, which usually requires some sort of actual achievement or having at least struggled to achieve it over a lifetime-like period.

Gillianren
2009-Oct-10, 07:21 PM
For Man of the Year, at least, it certainly doesn't need to be "lifetime" achievement, though I certainly agree that the Nobel Prize should be. Man of the Year means that year. I agree that "You" was a stupid answer, but I think they were trying to be catchy. Self-centeredness has certainly been driving things of late, hence Twitter and Facebook.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-11, 06:59 PM
I think the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to someone who has actually helped the world achieve peace whether small or large.

Lately it appears that the committee has strayed from that.

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-11, 07:47 PM
For Man of the Year, at least, it certainly doesn't need to be "lifetime" achievement, though I certainly agree that the Nobel Prize should be.
Nobel didn't - his testament specifies that the prizes should be given to the person who had lent humanity the greatest services within each category during the last year.

Obviously, the Nobel committees have not felt bound by that particular bit.


(Since one cannot be too clear on the Internet: I am not saying that this deviation from Nobel's wishes is good or bad, I'm just noting it is a deviation.)

korjik
2009-Oct-11, 07:49 PM
I think the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to someone who has actually helped the world achieve peace whether small or large.

Lately it appears that the committee has strayed from that.

Ditto'ed

I dont see what peace has been achieved. That makes the award seem like a political decision, which cheapens the award.

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-11, 08:08 PM
I dont see what peace has been achieved. That makes the award seem like a political decision, which cheapens the award.
How could a prize for promoting world peace be anything but political? World peace is a political goal.

mike alexander
2009-Oct-11, 08:08 PM
Ditto'ed

I dont see what peace has been achieved. That makes the award seem like a political decision, which cheapens the award.

In general, the planet-wide correlation between Nobel Peace prizes and lack of wars over the last century seems somewhere near zero. Doesn't mean you should stop trying, though.

I also think (for myself only) that one should not lump all the Prizes in one ball of putty. Physics, Chemistry and Medicine are somewhat easier to put in context than Peace. Or Literature, for that matter.

The Peace Prize Committee seems to feel that at certain times it wants to encourage an ongoing or developing process as opposed to looking back on a completed one. Since war and peace are inextricably tied up with political processes, political considerations may indeed weigh on the decision.

Neverfly
2009-Oct-11, 09:27 PM
To the best of my knowledge, whether or not wars happen is not necessarily dependent on how hard one fights for peace.

For example, Obama is dealing with war now- but not wars he initiated.

flynjack1
2009-Oct-12, 02:13 AM
Certain awards over the last two years specifically have lessened the prestige of the awards in my opinion. I think the most recent selection was entirely political and therefore not something that can be discussed without going that verboten direction. Let us hope that the future actions of our award winner merits his reception of this award.

danscope
2009-Oct-12, 02:59 AM
Certainly, Obama has turned our image around and proved to the world that he and other parties can talk together and find common ground over difficult subjects, of which we are all a great deal safer in a modern world. For this he,
and by inference, our country has been recognized and honoured for pursuing a right path toward a better and more gracious world in which to live.
Those who would criticize that reccognition will need time to realize how
important these things are and how much better they will be because of the efforts of the few and the hopes of the many.
We are indeed proud of this man . He serves us well.

Best regards to all,
Dan

korjik
2009-Oct-12, 06:37 AM
Certainly, Obama has turned our image around and proved to the world that he and other parties can talk together and find common ground over difficult subjects, of which we are all a great deal safer in a modern world. For this he,
and by inference, our country has been recognized and honoured for pursuing a right path toward a better and more gracious world in which to live.
Those who would criticize that reccognition will need time to realize how
important these things are and how much better they will be because of the efforts of the few and the hopes of the many.
We are indeed proud of this man . He serves us well.

Best regards to all,
Dan

How has the current US president turned the image of the US around?

The US is in the same number of wars as a year ago, and actually increased the involvement in one of them. The US has the same number of prisoners in Cuba as a year ago, with no real talk of changing that in months. The French are now calling the US too timid and too spendthrift. In the last year, the US has seen the first mass protests by the conservative side in at least a century, if not ever. The current US government is gridlocked even though the side out of power is unable to stop anything short of a constitutional amendment.

When you add the IOC snubbing the leader of the free world, I dont see how there is more peace than there was a year ago, and I dont see how the US has a better reputation than a year ago.

Gillianren
2009-Oct-12, 07:26 AM
And this? This is why the subject gets political.

jrkeller
2009-Oct-12, 12:55 PM
I feel that there were probably more worthy people from the remaining 204 nominees. For me the Nobel folks have lost all credibility.

mahesh
2009-Oct-12, 01:15 PM
Well, none of us is on the Nobel Committee.

There are probably equally worthy contenders in other categories too, who have been overlooked this year, and last year and year before, and year before that...

Are we trying to criticise...oh, do let's ease up! Already!

Shall we not wait till the tenth of December and listen to / read, the acceptance speeches, for a bit more enlightenment?

crosscountry
2009-Oct-12, 01:34 PM
How has the current US president turned the image of the US around?

The US is in the same number of wars as a year ago, and actually increased the involvement in one of them. The US has the same number of prisoners in Cuba as a year ago, with no real talk of changing that in months. The French are now calling the US too timid and too spendthrift. In the last year, the US has seen the first mass protests by the conservative side in at least a century, if not ever. The current US government is gridlocked even though the side out of power is unable to stop anything short of a constitutional amendment.

When you add the IOC snubbing the leader of the free world, I dont see how there is more peace than there was a year ago, and I dont see how the US has a better reputation than a year ago.

you obviously have a strong opinion. I think you'll find that most people who have so far participated in this thread agree that the award was awarded to someone who hasn't actually achieved much peace.

Here's a thought: 1 year ago the rest of the world felt out of peace with the U.S. They may have felt hostile to us. I spent a year abroad from 2006 to 2007 and felt more apologetic than I should have had to. I have been abroad twice this year for a couple weeks, and my perception is that our European neighbors are much happier with us than before, and thus less hostile, and more peaceful.

That's the best I can offer. If you disagree that our standing in the world is important, then you and I will not find common ground.

Neverfly
2009-Oct-12, 01:49 PM
Here's a thought: 1 year ago the rest of the world felt out of peace with the U.S. They may have felt hostile to us. I spent a year abroad from 2006 to 2007 and felt more apologetic than I should have had to. I have been abroad twice this year for a couple weeks, and my perception is that our European neighbors are much happier with us than before, and thus less hostile, and more peaceful.

That's the best I can offer. If you disagree that our standing in the world is important, then you and I will not find common ground.

But do you understand the reasons behind these perceptions?

Larry Jacks
2009-Oct-12, 02:01 PM
How could a prize for promoting world peace be anything but political? World peace is a political goal.

Here's a list of all Nobel Peace Prize winners (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/). There are several politicians on the list, mostly for things they actually accomplished. Also in the list are non-political entities like Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Doctors Without Borders, and other individuals/organizations who dedicated their lives to actually (rather than potentially) helping others.

If the Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to represent an ideal, then IMO the last few years have been weak. IMO, this latest award is especially weak.

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-12, 02:12 PM
How could a prize for promoting world peace be anything but political? World peace is a political goal.

Here's a list of all Nobel Peace Prize winners (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/). There are several politicians on the list, mostly for things they actually accomplished. Also in the list are non-political entities like Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Doctors Without Borders, and other individuals/organizations who dedicated their lives to actually (rather than potentially) helping others.

If the Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to represent an ideal, then IMO the last few years have been weak. IMO, this latest award is especially weak.

What are you trying to establish here? Do you dispute that a price for peacemongering is inherently political?

Hlafordlaes
2009-Oct-12, 02:16 PM
As a US ex-pat living overseas for over 30 years, I have often been asked to interpret US culture and political actions, an informal ambassadorial role I have been pleased, and often proud, to play.

In spite of facing many challenging moments and actions difficult to explain over the years, what I can say within BAUT rules is that I always found a way to make cogent arguments, until recent times. For the first time in my life, I saw consulting client opportunities whither on political grounds alone due to my nationality. Business being business, it takes much to override economic interests to such a point.

I believe the award is highly correlated with this (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE59447120091005). This sort of turnaround is also new in my experience.

The world is a non-voting stakeholder in the US, whose leadership affects the globe in myriad ways large and small. I believe that since the Nobel voting came only two weeks after the election, it celebrates a return to hope, and a very friendly "welcome back" to all Americans.

Larry Jacks
2009-Oct-12, 04:43 PM
What are you trying to establish here? Do you dispute that a price for peacemongering is inherently political?

What were the politics of Albert Schweitzer? How about Mother Teresa? They and quite a few other previous winners of the Peace Prize dedicated decades of their lives to helping others. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if many of the 200+ nominees this year had similar records of accomplishment and dedication. Instead of honoring people for actually accomplishing something honorable and praiseworthy, the committee chose to honor a political figure who has yet to accomplish much of anything. He was nominated less than 2 weeks after taking office.

IMO, the Nobel Peace Prize has been and should continue to be something to honor the best among us. IMO, giving it for political potential or to make a political statement tarnishes the prize.

SolusLupus
2009-Oct-12, 04:57 PM
What were the politics of Albert Schweitzer? How about Mother Teresa? They and quite a few other previous winners of the Peace Prize dedicated decades of their lives to helping others.

Actually, there is criticism of Mother Theresa, including how she "helped" people (including not letting family members in to see the dying), where she got her funding, praising the "spiritual goodness" of poverty and suffering, her strong stance on abortion, and her baptizing the dying. Not to mention how much of her money was spent on missionaries for proselytizing, instead of actually helping.

Not political? Well, it's certainly close enough. It's at least a contentious religious argument if nothing else.

I don't know enough on Albert Schweitzer to say.

flynjack1
2009-Oct-12, 05:04 PM
Worse yet it appears an attempt at influencing a leaders decision making process in light of a great many very difficult decisions which may not all be resolved peaceably. One might consider this to put unrealistic expectations on a President faced not only with being a world leader but also as the Commander in Chief of the United States military in which his first responsibility is the security of the USA. I personally think he has been put in the hot box with this award.

SeanF
2009-Oct-12, 06:32 PM
...a very friendly "welcome back" to all Americans.
The implication being not only that America was previously "gone," but also - and more importantly - that the difference between where we were and where we are is that the latter is, you know, "peace."

Surely it's not too difficult to understand that a large portion of the US population would find that implication something less than "friendly."

:)

tdvance
2009-Oct-12, 06:34 PM
Why can't people just wish someone the best on winning a prize rather than having to question the award? Are all the other Nobel Prize awards debated with such intensity?

For #2, yes.

For #1, many stories have two (or more) sides--nothing unusual there.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-12, 06:56 PM
But do you understand the reasons behind these perceptions?


certainly, but I cannot go into that here. Let's just say that the new face of Americans is much friendlier than previous one.

Hlafordlaes
2009-Oct-12, 08:17 PM
The implication being not only that America was previously "gone," but also - and more importantly - that the difference between where we were and where we are is that the latter is, you know, "peace."

Surely it's not too difficult to understand that a large portion of the US population would find that implication something less than "friendly."

:)

I think the survey results in the link indicate perceptions changed positively. The why is not really a stretch to understand. If we take the view of institutional and norm-building efforts following WWII as trending toward peaceful coexistence, and their contrary as trending toward the opposite, then we can perhaps more easily identify the bases for the recent swings in world opinion. The same might be said of some internal changes in legal perspectives, but that's a bit too thorny to be clearer on here.

Baut all I can say, I reckon.

SeanF
2009-Oct-12, 08:37 PM
I think the survey results in the link indicate perceptions changed positively.
I don't doubt that foreign perceptions of the US have changed positively, nor do I doubt the reason.

It is still not complimentary to a large portion of the US population.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-12, 10:49 PM
It is still not complimentary to a large portion of the US population.

right, and it won't be till the next election cycle. I find it odd that those people you reference care not what other countries think. Do they think we go it alone in this world?

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-12, 11:26 PM
the leader of the free world
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that phrase?
It should never be used in a situation where there are non US citizens present.

Neverfly
2009-Oct-13, 12:04 AM
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that phrase?
It should never be used in a situation where there are non US citizens present.

I agree. Especially considering that we ain't exactly "free" over here any more.

jrkeller
2009-Oct-13, 12:31 AM
When it comes to any award I prefer,

Buffalo Soldier's slogan: deeds, not words!

Van Rijn
2009-Oct-13, 01:05 AM
I keep thinking: What if they had given one to George W. Bush when he came into office? It would be interesting to compare and contrast the reactions. Without being able to do the actual experiment, I think the reactions would look pretty similar, with the same basic political issues discussed, but different groups liking or disliking the results.

sarongsong
2009-Oct-13, 01:28 AM
Nobel trivia:
Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize
...The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.
Who is Qualified to Nominate?...
nobelprize.org (http://nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/nominators.html)

Gillianren
2009-Oct-13, 01:31 AM
I keep thinking: What if they had given one to George W. Bush when he came into office? It would be interesting to compare and contrast the reactions. Without being able to do the actual experiment, I think the reactions would look pretty similar, with the same basic political issues discussed, but different groups liking or disliking the results.

I know there are a lot of people who agree with Obama politically who still don't think he was the best choice, or perhaps a reasonable choice at all, for the award.

By the way, can I mention how much I love that my browser's spell check thought I would prefer to use "Obadiah" instead of "Obama"?

SeanF
2009-Oct-13, 02:32 AM
right, and it won't be till the next election cycle. I find it odd that those people you reference care not what other countries think. Do they think we go it alone in this world?
I expect (and hope) that the people of Norway, when they go to the polls to elect their leader, do not concern themselves overmuch with what the citizens of Sweden, or China, or Australia, or the US think. I would find it odd if they did.

And I additionally expect that if the US were to offer an award for Norway electing the "right" leader, the people of Norway would not consider it a "friendly 'welcome back.'"

Do you think?

crosscountry
2009-Oct-13, 05:03 AM
I expect (and hope) that the people of Norway, when they go to the polls to elect their leader, do not concern themselves overmuch with what the citizens of Sweden, or China, or Australia, or the US think. I would find it odd if they did.

And I additionally expect that if the US were to offer an award for Norway electing the "right" leader, the people of Norway would not consider it a "friendly 'welcome back.'"

Do you think?

that's a good twist. And while that serves as a two nation analogy it doesn't work for world politics. Norway just doesn't hold the hand that the US has when dealing with the UN for instance or with any other country except the first one you listed.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-13, 05:04 AM
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that phrase?
It should never be used in a situation where there are non US citizens present.

It's a term originating during the Cold War when "Free" was though to be opposite of Communist. At that time the US was the leader in the fight against Communism (whether right or wrong) and was thus the leader of the free world.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-13, 05:28 AM
So a self-declared leader by virtue of having the most power claims to lead the free.
That kind of thinking only makes sense in North Korea.:D

Jens
2009-Oct-13, 06:18 AM
What were the politics of Albert Schweitzer? How about Mother Teresa? They and quite a few other previous winners of the Peace Prize dedicated decades of their lives to helping others.

I think that if you wanted to look at it positively, you would choose those examples. If you wanted to look at this the other way, you might choose Kissinger, Arafat, Begin, Peres, Rabin, Sadat, and Teddy Roosevelt, which were also quite controversial.

Van Rijn
2009-Oct-13, 06:33 AM
I know there are a lot of people who agree with Obama politically who still don't think he was the best choice, or perhaps a reasonable choice at all, for the award.


That's certainly true. It's just interesting (to me, anyway) to think of the changes in the groups that would be very happy or very annoyed.

But I agree, in both cases there would be many supporters of the politician that would still not agree with the award.

SeanF
2009-Oct-13, 01:24 PM
that's a good twist. And while that serves as a two nation analogy it doesn't work for world politics. Norway just doesn't hold the hand that the US has when dealing with the UN for instance or with any other country except the first one you listed.
Well, yes. Keeping Norway as the example, the US government has a greater effect on Norwegians than the Norwegian government has on Americans.

But that's not the relevant data point in regards to things like the election of the US president. The US government has a far, far greater effect on Americans than it has on Norwegians.

And that is why so many US citizens have that "Keep your nose out of it" attitude. :)

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-13, 02:41 PM
I know there are a lot of people who agree with Obama politically who still don't think he was the best choice, or perhaps a reasonable choice at all, for the award.
Including big swathes of the European press. Most discussion here and elsewhere (eg. ScienceBlogs) seems to be about negative American reactions, but from what I've seen European reactions have been even more negative on the whole.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-13, 02:51 PM
So a self-declared leader by virtue of having the most power claims to lead the free.
That kind of thinking only makes sense in North Korea.:D

uh, he's definitely not self declared. That's a long and annoying process. And some would argue if he has the most power. I can't think of any alternatives right now.

So he does have the power, and at one time he led the free countries.

crosscountry
2009-Oct-13, 02:52 PM
Well, yes. Keeping Norway as the example, the US government has a greater effect on Norwegians than the Norwegian government has on Americans.

But that's not the relevant data point in regards to things like the election of the US president. The US government has a far, far greater effect on Americans than it has on Norwegians.

And that is why so many US citizens have that "Keep your nose out of it" attitude. :)

And things like this Peace Prize make Americans feel like we're being told how to vote. I'm getting it now. Sadly still, many of us are unwilling to even hear what others think.

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-13, 02:58 PM
What were the politics of Albert Schweitzer? How about Mother Teresa?
I know little of Schweitzer, but Mother Teresa publicly expressed opinions on political issues ranging from abortion to affirmative action for the casteless.


IMO, the Nobel Peace Prize has been and should continue to be something to honor the best among us.
Kissinger and Arafat are among the best of us? I should prefer to think not.

IMO, giving it for political potential or to make a political statement tarnishes the prize.
I agree it should be given for things the repicient has done, not things it is hoped that they will do, but to say that using it to make a political statement "tarnishes" the prize is absurd - the very existence of the prize is a political statement.

flynjack1
2009-Oct-13, 03:03 PM
It might be instructive to define "peace". If one defines it as an absence of warfare then they will be hard pressed to find a time in history where peace has existed (worldwide). I served in the cold war which was also considered peace time yet we had fatalities in various operations throughout the cold war, so to the soldier, sailor or airman it was merely a reduced level of conflict. In any effort to suppress wide spread warfare one could say a leader was attempting to make peace, however in such a case leaders such as Stalin could be said to have attempted to make the peace by suppressing waring factions (brutally of course). Since this definition would include objectionable leaders we might need to incorporate the concept of freedom as being present in the absence of conflict. Therefore supporting the cause of freedom is an element in creating "the peace". As we all know supporting the cause of freedom is often not a bloodless endeavor. So perhaps the real measure is to increase and secure the fertile grounds of freedom without the use of conflict. Has the reciepient increased and secured the fertile grounds of freedom?

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-13, 05:14 PM
What were the politics of Albert Schweitzer? How about Mother Teresa?
Mother Teresa followed the catholic creed of being vehemently against all types of birth control, which was ironic given that that's the only real way to solve the problem she got the price for stopgapping.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Oct-13, 05:24 PM
uh, he's definitely not self declared.
The leadership of anything except the US is self-declared by the US, because they have the power.

My statement stands.

Swift
2009-Oct-13, 05:37 PM
I will give everyone credit for trying really hard to keep politics out of this thread, on an issue that is very borderline for being within BAUT rules.

That being said, we are crossing the line a little in spots. Lets try to keep topics such as North Korean and US politics out of the discussion. Otherwise, I'll have to close the thread.

SeanF
2009-Oct-13, 06:41 PM
I notice that TheHalcyonYear hasn't posted in this thread since the OP.

I wonder if she's gotten an answer to her question...

Neverfly
2009-Oct-14, 02:13 AM
I will give everyone credit for trying really hard to keep politics out of this thread, on an issue that is very borderline for being within BAUT rules.

That being said, we are crossing the line a little in spots. Lets try to keep topics such as North Korean and US politics out of the discussion. Otherwise, I'll have to close the thread.

Speaking as a poster, I'd like to thank the Mods for not closing the thread quickly.

It's refreshing to see people speaking their minds, if not a bit constrained, at least not silenced. I, personally, think it's healthy.

Note: this post is in concert with, not in disagreement with Swifts post.

korjik
2009-Oct-14, 04:53 AM
I notice that TheHalcyonYear hasn't posted in this thread since the OP.

I wonder if she's gotten an answer to her question...

I would hope so, but just in case:

Most of the opposition to Barak Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 is due to a belief that he hasnt dont anything to earn it, and that indicates that this is a wholly political award, sullying the reputation of the Nobel Prizes as a group.

Jens
2009-Oct-14, 07:02 AM
Most of the opposition to Barak Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 is due to a belief that he hasnt dont anything to earn it, and that indicates that this is a wholly political award, sullying the reputation of the Nobel Prizes as a group.

That's probably a significant reason. I can give another angle, though. Some of the opposition to Obama getting the Peace Prize is that he hasn't done anything to earn it, and this seems like pressure by the (well-meaning) prize committee to put pressure on him to put more focus on peace/foreign affairs. So in effect, a lobbying effort. I'm guessing, but not sure, that Korjik's reason may be more important for people who don't like Obama all that much, whereas the one I put forward is probably more common among people who are supportive of Obama.

Van Rijn
2009-Oct-14, 08:26 AM
I can give another angle, though. Some of the opposition to Obama getting the Peace Prize is that he hasn't done anything to earn it, and this seems like pressure by the (well-meaning) prize committee to put pressure on him to put more focus on peace/foreign affairs.

Or on similar lines, looks like an attempt to affect how foreign affairs are conducted, or might hamper some foreign affair efforts.

Frankly, in my view, this prize will work out best if it is largely ignored.

Ivan Viehoff
2009-Oct-14, 09:03 AM
There have been plenty of controversial Nobel Prize winners in all areas, but peace prize winners are unsurprisingly more controversial than others. I am reminded, for example, of Tom Lehrer's comment that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger in 1973 made political satire obsolete. What is really unusual about the present case is that the award appears to have been made without any particular achievement to point to.

Larry Jacks
2009-Oct-14, 09:08 PM
I know little of Schweitzer, but Mother Teresa publicly expressed opinions on political issues ranging from abortion to affirmative action for the casteless.

Here's are brief bios of Schweitzer (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1952/schweitzer-bio.html) and Mother Teresa (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html) from the Nobel Prize website. As a Catholic nun, it would be surprising if she didn't follow the church principles in her words and deeds.

Rightly or wrongly, Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were awarded the peace prize for negotiating the end (prematurely, it turned out) of the Vietnam War.

Arafat, Peres and Rabin won in 1994 for, IIRC, the Oslo Accords. Also, premature as events turned out.

There are quite a few political figures in the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/). Just about all of them previous to this year won it for actually doing something, not because they might one day do something.

Perhaps I'm idealistic enough to believe that the Peace Prize should stand for something significant and praiseworthy. However, the reality of the prize suggests - at least recently - that isn't the case. Pity.

Ara Pacis
2009-Oct-15, 12:26 PM
So, Norwegians might think Americans think themselves overly important... and this in reference to a prize offered by a Norwegian who thought himself overly important and felt guilty for all the deaths supposedly caused by his dynamite... From what I've read, dynamite wasn't especially useful as a war munition. Maybe they got more utility out of his blasting cap.

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-15, 03:10 PM
Here's are brief bios of Schweitzer (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1952/schweitzer-bio.html) and Mother Teresa (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html) from the Nobel Prize website. As a Catholic nun, it would be surprising if she didn't follow the church principles in her words and deeds.
In other words, it would be surprising if she were apolitical, and indeed she wasn't.

I'm not saying Mr Obama was a good choice - I don't think it was. I am baffled that you think that the prize could or should be apolitical.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Oct-15, 06:15 PM
So, Norwegians might think Americans think themselves overly important... and this in reference to a prize offered by a Norwegian who thought himself overly important and felt guilty for all the deaths supposedly caused by his dynamite... From what I've read, dynamite wasn't especially useful as a war munition. Maybe they got more utility out of his blasting cap.

Nobel was Swedish, although his will stipulated that the Peace Prize was to be awarded by Norwegians rather than Swedes, as the others are.

His guilt was triggered over his reading a premature obituary of his that called him the "merchant of death." He also owned Bofors, and helped reshape it from a metalworks industry into an armaments manufacturer.

Nick