Friday, October 9, 2009

The Nobel WAR Prize 2009

My NYT Comment #485.
New York City
October 9th, 2009
8:36 am

The 2009 Nobel WAR Prize
Hope at least some will protest to the the Nobel Committee for awarding the Nobel PEACE Prize to a man who is waging war in South Asia. Obama didn't earn it, he does not deserve it.

Hope loses. Hype wins.

Outrageous. Herring laced with "realpolitik."
Svenska Freds President Anna Ek is right. "Shameful and counterproductive" (see her statement below)
NYTimes copyright
What Does a Nobel Do for U.S. Leaders?
By The Editors
October 10th, 2009
My NYT comment #220October 9, 2009, 5:02 pm
New York City
12:13 pm

Not Either/Or, but BOTH. It will help and it will hurt.
But mostly the award has hurt the rest of the world's aspirants involved in peacework.

1. Norway was ethically remiss in giving the Peace Prize to Obama. He does not deserve it, he did not earn it. By their own admission the Nobel Committee members played "realpolitik' with the award.

Can something good come out of something bad? Yeah perhaps, sometimes. But overall, Ethical Means Result in Ethical Ends.
Of course, we can't blame Obama for winning and then accepting, though he could have declined it. Like Le Duc Tho of Vietnam.
But we can blame the Nobel Committee for playing dirty politics with the award, and pretending they did a good thing. It's a travesty of authentic peace efforts. It devalues the award itself.
This infamous announcement sets up a negative spiral of derisive questioning about the award, awardee and future peace aspirants. It denigrates the urgent and noble work of peace and peace workers.
Q. Who will the next awardee be?
Q. The anti-Obama? Q.
Just as this one is the anti-Bush?
Q.When actually Bush and Obama are pretty much the same in terms the actual WAR strategy, are they not?

2. A majority of ordinary people opposed giving the prize to Obama, if comments on numerous sites in Europe and The Global South are any indication.

3. The Taliban or Al Queda are particularly impressed, yeah right. It probably will encourage them and their numerous sympathizers. They actually have a point. The US is in their country, and the US has done more damage than they have, Taliban and al Queda combined.

4. Certain Global South nation-states rightly see the award as adding fuel to their already oppositional anti-US sentiments (which are justified). That will spell trouble for the US for a long time to come, beyond the Obama presidency.

NYTimes copyright
Gandhi Wuz Robbed
Two former presidents hash out, and bond over, who should have been candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.
My NY Times #216.
New York City
October 11th, 2009
12:27 pm
Dowd's Surgical Strike

Thrust and parry, all in the right places. Nice work, Maureen.

Except the wisecrack about Gandhiji that you put in W's mouth.

Gandhi once said, when asked about his meeting at Buckingham Palace with King George VI, who as usual was dripping ermine and diamonds (stolen from India) --

His Majesty was wearing enough for both of us.

Now this MTV-style Emperor in the White House is wearing nothing at all -- except the 2009 Nobel War Prize, thanks to Norway, herring laced with 'realpolitik'

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Swedish News copyright
AP/Yahoo copyright
In a surprise, Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

2009 Nobel Peace Prize goes to President Obama

By KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers

OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

"Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do," Jagland said.

The Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"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," Jagland said.

Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.

"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.

"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.

The award appeared to be a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.

"You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase," Jagland said. "And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize."

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.

"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."

Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.

"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.

Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.

The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.

Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.

Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.

Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.

In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now as about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.

But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."

Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.

Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the award on behalf of its founder Nelson Mandela, who shared the 1993 Peace Prize with then-South African President F.W. DeKlerk for their efforts at ending years of apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic country.

"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."

The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.
Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland contributed to this report.
Svenska Freds comment copyright
Swedish Peace President Anna Ek:
"Utnämningen av Obama är skamlig och motverkar sitt syfte"

"The appointment of Obama's shameful and counterproductive"

Publicerad: 2009-10-09, Uppdaterad: 2009-10-09 Published: 2009-10-09, Updated: 2009-10-09

USA bedriver idag krig på flera håll i världen och uppfattas av många som en extremt negativ kraft. USA Today carries on war in several parts of the world and is perceived by many as an extremely negative effect. För att göra sig förtjänt av världens förnämsta fredspris borde man i rimlighetens namn också leva upp till ett antal normer som resten av världen anser vara viktiga, skriver Svenska Freds och Skiljedomsföreningens ordförande ANNA EK.

To earn the world's finest Peace Prize should be reasonable if the name also meet a number of standards as the rest of the world considers important, writes the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society President Anna Ek.

Om författaren About the author

Anna Ek är ordförande i Svenska Freds och Skiljedomsföreningen.
Anna Ek is chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.

Norska Nobelkommitten har tappat greppet. Utnämningen av Obama är skamlig och motverkar sitt syfte. Norwegian Nobel Committee has lost grip.
The appointment of Obama's shameful and counterproductive.

USA spenderar årligen 600 miljarder amerikanska dollar på sina militära styrkor. United States annually spends 600 billion U.S. dollars on its military forces.

Det utgör hälften av världens samlade militära utgifter.
It represents half of total world military spending.
USA innehar idag 2700 av världens 8000 kärnvapenstridsspetsar.
U.S. holds today in 2700 the world's 8000 nuclear warheads.
I dagsläget bedriver USA två krig där tusentals civila dödas varje år.
If the current situation carries on the U.S. two wars in which thousands of civilians are killed each year.
Senast i förra veckan kom nya rapporter på hur civila dödats av flygstridskrafter och andra offensiva delar av det amerikanska kriget mot terrorismen
i Afghanistan, operation Enduring Freedom. By last week came new reports of how civilians killed by air power and other offensive parts of the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom.

Obama må vara en bättre president än George W Bush.
Obama may be a better president than George W. Bush. Men det kvalificerar knappast någon till att per automatik få världens finaste fredsutmärkelse.
But it hardly qualifies one to automatically get the world's finest peace prize. Utmärkelsen säger en hel del om hur mycket krig Nobelkommittén tycker är okej för att fortfarande ses som en fredshjälte.
This award says a lot about how much war the Nobel committee thinks is okay, to still be regarded as a peace hero.

Kommitteén tycks premiera retorik snarare än faktisk handling.
Kommitteér seems to reward rhetoric rather than actual deeds.

Tänk om litteratur- eller medicinpriset skulle fungerat på samma sätt.
Think about literature or medicinpriset would work the same way.
"Hej, jag lovar att fixa ett vaccin mot HIV till nästa år". "Hey, I promise to get a vaccine against HIV by next year."
"Jag kommer inom en snar framtid skriva en ny klassiker".
"I will shortly write a new classic."

Det är givetvis glädjande att Obama tar steg i rätt riktning på många områden.
It is certainly encouraging that Obama is taking steps in the right direction in many areas.
Ett sådant är skrinläggandet av planerna på en kärnvapensköld baserad i Europa, samt de nedrustningsinitiativ han har tagit.
Such as the cry submission of plans for a missile shield based in Europe, as well as the disarmament initiatives he has taken.
Men detta är trots allt små steg och än så länge mest retorik. But this is, after all, small steps and so far mostly rhetoric. Därmed riskerar Nobelkommitteen att faktiskt devalvera fredsprisets värde.
Result is likely Nobel Committee Teem to actually devalue the peace prize value.
Vi tyckte att det var nog magstarkt att ge priset till en tidigare amerikansk vice president, bara för att han sade det självklara, när Al Gore för två år sedan fick dela priset med FN:s klimatpanel.
We thought it was bit rich enough to give the prize to former U.S. Vice President, just because he said the obvious, when Al Gore two years ago had to share prize with UN climate panel.

Den norska Nobelkommitten vill antagligen sända en signal som stödjer den positiva retorik Obama gett uttryck för.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee would probably send a signal that supports the positive rhetoric, Obama has expressed.
Samtidigt måste man fråga sig om världen i övrigt ser samma sak.
At the same time one has to ask whether the world at large sees the same thing.
USA bedriver idag krig på flera håll i världen och uppfattas av många som en extremt negativ kraft.
USA Today carries on war in several parts of the world and is perceived by many as an extremely negative effect.
För att göra sig förtjänt av världens förnämsta fredspris borde man i rimlighetens namn också leva upp till ett antal normer som resten av världen anser vara viktiga. To earn the world's finest Peace Prize should be reasonable in the name also meet a number of standards as the rest of the world considers important.

USA har inte ratificerat den internationella brottmålsdomstolen ICC för lagföring av krigsförbrytare, USA har inte skrivit
under U.S. has not ratified the International Criminal Court ICC for prosecution of war criminals, the U.S. has not signed
Ottawakonventionen som förbjuder landminor eller konventionen som förbjuder klustervapen. Ottawa Convention banning landmines or convention banning cluster munitions. USA står för hälften av medlemstaternas skulder till FN, i USA:s fall 1,5 miljarder dollar, vapenexporten från USA har ökat under den senaste valperioden och president Obama har nyligen backat från sitt tidigare löfte att ge Guantanamo-fångarna civila rättegångar.
U.S. accounts for half of the Member States' debts to the UN, the U.S., from 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, arms exports from the United States has increased during the last presidential election and Obama has recently backed down from his earlier promise to give Guantanamo detainees civil lawsuits.

Det borde finnas en del för Obama själv att bocka av innan han kommer på fråga.

There should be a part of Obama himself to check off before he comes to question. Och har Nobelkommittén rentav gjort honom en björntjänst?

And the Nobel Committee actually done him a disservice?

USA är center för många positiva krafter inom människorätts- och fredsområdet. U.S. Centers for many positive forces in human rights and peace zone. Varför inte uppmärksamma dessa aktivister och aktörer istället?
Why not pay attention to these activists and actors instead? Human Rights Watch är en av världens främsta människorättsorganisationer som årligen avslöjar grova missförhållanden världen över.
Human Rights Watch is one of the world's foremost human rights organizations that annually reveals serious abuses worldwide. Organisationen hade varit en utmärkt amerikansk mottagare av Nobels fredspris.
The organization would have been an excellent American recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Frågan är vem som kan komma på tal i framtiden. The question is who might apply in the future. Det känns just nu som att ribban sänkts rejält.
It feels right now as to the bar been lowered substantially.

Anna Ek (2 artiklar) Anna Ek (2 items)
Anmäl Report
Times of India copyright
Facts about the Nobel Peace Prize
REUTERS 9 October 2009, 03:02pm IST
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Following are some facts about the Nobel Peace Prize:

* The 2009 winner was selected from a record 205 nominees.
* The 2009 prize was awarded to US President Barack Obama for his efforts "to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".
* Mother Teresa refused to attend a Nobel dinner in Oslo when she went to collect her prize in 1979, saying the money would be better spent on the poor. The banquet was cancelled.
* The International Committee of the Red Cross is the most successful winner, with prizes in 1917, 1944 and 1963. Red Cross founder Henri Dunant of Switzerland shared the first award in 1901.
* Protesters threw snowballs at the US ambassador in Oslo when he arrived to collect the 1973 prize on behalf of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for brokering an unsuccessful deal to end the Vietnam war. North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho turned down the joint award, the most controversial in the prize's history.
* Past nominees have included Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin .
* Hitler banned Germans from accepting Nobel prizes in disgust after the 1935 award went to pacifist anti-Nazi writer Carl von Ossietzky. The ruling affected three German scientists awarded prizes for chemistry and medicine in the late 1930s.
* The 2008 prize was won by Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades to resolve international conflicts.
* The 2007 prize was won by former US Vice-President Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for raising awareness of the risks of global warming.
* The 2006 Peace Prize was won by Bangladeshi economist Mohammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded for their work to help millions out of poverty by granting tiny loans, pioneering a global movement known as microcredit.
NYTimes copyright
Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace PrizeBack to Article »

In a surprise move, the Nobel Committee honored President Obama less than a year after his election “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”