The Obama Watch

Buying Barack

The Norwegian Nobel Committee would end up waiting for Godot if it expected Obama to "accomplish" anything.

By 10.16.09

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The bestowal of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize upon Barack Obama, a mere nine months a president, is both a reward for a historic achievement and a down payment for similar actions in the future. 

First, the down payment. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is using what currency it has to pay the President of the United States to behave as it wants him to behave. The committee itself has admitted that Obama's award is an encouragement to certain conduct, 

The committee is more crafty than foolish. Its members look at Obama and see a man who cherishes praise and adulation, who loves the flash of the camera and the uplifted gaze of a teary eye. What better way to direct this particular American president's behavior than to grant him the world's most prestigious award? 

As the committee put it, Obama has "captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future." Translation: the non-American world hopes the President of the United States continues to put the interests of other nations before the interests of his own. 

"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," the committee fawned. 

Indeed, as Obama said in addressing the United Nations General Assembly late last month, "We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and our work must begin now." 

Obama really believes that "mutual interest and mutual respect" can be found on any issue and among any parties. Thus his assertion in May that "It is not in their [Iran's] interest to pursue a nuclear weapon and they should change course." Not in their interest to possess the most powerful weapon in history? It is in every nation's interest to obtain such a weapon. It's called "self-preservation." Obama, blinded by the catch phrases of collectivism, fails to see that. 

Apparently motivated almost entirely by the desire to be liked, Obama seems to assume that other world leaders share that primary motivation. They do not. The Norwegian Nobel Committee might well be as deluded as Obama is. But what if it isn't? That would mean it is cleverly encouraging Obama's delusion. If the president has a propensity to weaken his own nation by chasing after the adoration of foreigners, then the surest way to damage the United States is to shower the president with affection. 

Why not reward Obama after he accomplishes a major diplomatic victory? Because the committee understands that Obama's dialogue with tyrants and dictators will fail. If it waits for an achievement, it will be waiting forever. Besides, rewarding success is not the committee's goal. Diminishing the power, prestige and influence of the United States is.

Obama won, the committee proclaimed, "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 without nuclear weapon." 

No human being with a functioning brain believes there will ever be "a world without a nuclear weapon." The committee members have brains. Their real reason emerges in the second graph of the committee's statement: 

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.

Ignore the bit about democracy and human rights. The evidence shows quite strongly that the opposite is true. China, Iran and Russia are imprisoning or murdering dissidents without the slightest regard for what the President of the United States thinks. Britain released the Lockerbie bomber -- which it would not have done on Bush's watch. And, to placate China, which brutally cracked down on Tibet only last year, President Obama refused to meet with the Dalai Lama. 

The Nobel committee is really interested in "multilateral diplomacy" regaining "a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play." When "multilateral diplomacy" regains "a central position" in world affairs, the United States will be sidelined, reduced from superpower to just another member state of the United Nations. That is what the committee is after. 

The committee couldn't slip Obama cash under the table to undermine America's interests. The president is far too moral a man to ever accept such a thing. But the committee could present him with the world's most prestigious award in the hope that it would steel his resolve to remain utterly passive and malleable when conducting America's business abroad. And that's just what it did.

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About the Author

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. You can follow him on Twitter at @Drewhampshire.