Tags: obama | peace | prize

Critics Slam Obama's Fast-Track Peace Prize

Friday, 09 Oct 2009 01:01 PM

By Jim Meyers

The surprise decision to award President Barack Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize has drawn sharp criticism from many quarters, with some even calling the award a "joke."

Republican strategist Ed Rollins termed the award "way too preliminary," given Obama's lack of accomplishments during his short time in office — and the fact that the deadline for award nominations was Feb. 1, less than two weeks after Obama entered the White House.

"At the end of four years, maybe he has accomplished something and deserves it," Rollins told CNN.

"I think it has diminished the award itself."

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Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said: "At first I thought the announcement of the prize was a joke. On further reflection, the Nobel Committee has made itself a joke."

Republican strategist Todd Harris referred to "the joke that the Nobel folks just became and added: "Like most liberals, the Nobel Committee seems to think that Obama's pretty words are a perfect substitute for him actually doing something."

Writing in Britain's The Guardian, Michael Tomasky opined: "Did Barack Obama earn this Nobel Peace Prize? Obviously not.

"The world's stockpile of nuclear weapons...hasn't decreased by one that I'm aware of since he took office. He hasn't made a dent in the Middle East yet. Iran hasn't suddenly seen the light.

"And yes, there is the irony that he is in fact a war president, even now consulting with his top military people and (if I had to guess) preparing to send more troops, not fewer, to Afghanistan."

K.T. McFarland, who served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, told Fox News: "President Obama has done nothing of substance — he has not halted one nuclear enrichment plant, stopped one missile program, converted one terrorist, signed one treaty or even softened one bellicose speech by an adversary."

Aaron David Miller, who served as a Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations, wrote in an opinion piece for CNN: "Having worked for six secretaries of state and four presidents and watched them struggle with a cruel and unforgiving world, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, it occurred to me that today's announcement was seriously out of whack."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steels said in a statement: "The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?'" Obama "won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

Wall Street Journal deputy editor Iain Martin called the award "completely bizarre. President Barack Obama has just won the Nobel Peace Prize. It is unclear why. For making peace, of a kind, with Hillary Clinton? For giving up the missile shield and cheering up the Iranians? For preparing a surge of troops and weaponry in Afghanistan?...

"A leader can now win the peace prize for saying that he hopes to bring about peace at some point in the future. He doesn't actually have to do it, he just has to have aspirations. Brilliant."

Jennifer Loven, chief Washington correspondent for The Associated Press, wrote Friday morning: "The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama landed with a shock on darkened, still-asleep Washington. He won? For what?...

"The prize seems to be more for Obama's promise than for his performance."

The Baltimore Sun said in an opinion piece that giving Obama the prize "is a bit like awarding the prize for best tomatoes at the state fair while the farmer is still planning the seeds."

Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli Knesset from the ruling Likud Party, said: "This is the first time the award is given for wishful thinking."

In France, lawmaker Claude Goasguen, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling party, said: "I don't understand it at all. He hasn't achieved peace."

Anna Ek, head of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Institute, declared: "The choice of Barack Obama as recipient of the world's most prominent peace prize is shocking." Obama, she noted, is "commander of the world's biggest military power and conducting two wars in the world. This should definitely disqualify him from a peace prize."

Hisham Qasim, a democracy and human rights activist in Egypt, also expressed "shock" that Obama won. "He has achieved nothing," he told CNN. "He hasn't achieved any of his promises and nothing is working. He promised to close Guantanamo and now that's not going to happen, and the Arab-Israeli conflict looks like it's going to get very nasty."

And Gideon Rachman, a foreign affairs columnist for The Financial Times, wrote: "I doubt that I am alone in wondering whether this award is slightly premature. It is hard to point to a single place where Obama's efforts have actually brought about peace...

"While it is O.K. to give schoolchildren prizes for 'effort,' I think international statesmen should probably be held to a higher standard."

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