Tags: obama | peace | prize

Obama Nobel Reveals Committee's Biased Agenda, Conservatives Say

Friday, 09 Oct 2009 01:21 PM

By David A. Patten

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The Nobel committee's surprise decision to award the Peace Prize to an unproven American president reveals the committee's single-minded focus on a progressive transnational agenda that marks a radical departure from the original intentions of 19th-century Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, conservatives charged Friday.

Nobel directed in his 1895 will that the 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."

Over the years, the committee has expanded the definition of the award to include important global social issues such as poverty and global warming which were not envisioned originally.

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The words "shall have done" in the award's original charter clearly indicate that the award should be based on an evident accomplishment. That President Obama appears to lack those on his resume to date accounted for the mixed reaction.

As the U.K. Telegraph observed on Friday: "Mr. Obama has no concrete achievement to his credit."

Time magazine's Mark Halperin even predicted, erroneously as it turned out, that the president would find a graceful way to back out of accepting the award given his lack of accomplishments.

"I think the best thing you can say is it's premature," Halperin told the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe program. "Throughout his time as a national figure, an international figure, Barack Obama has been criticized for being just about words, just rhetoric. He seems to have won one of the most prestigious awards in the world for just rhetoric."

On the right, the criticism was even more strident, attacking the committee for pushing a transparent political agenda.

"The transnational progressives who pass out these accolades believe America is the problem in the world, the main threat to peace, the impediment to "progress," etc.," wrote the National Review's Andy McCarthy. "The award is a symbolic statement of opposition to American exceptionalism, American might, American capitalism, American self-determinism, and American pursuit of America's interests in the world."

Most observers agree that the award has grown steadily more politicized, since former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger won the prize in 1973 — for the accords that marked the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War. The committee overlooked Ronald Reagan's role in ending the Cold War, Pope John Paul II's work to liberate Eastern Europe from the boot of Soviet imperialism, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's iron-willed defense of international freedom.

Obama, by contrast, was nominated for the award just 12 days after assuming office. While global polling indicates his international charm offensive has been largely successful, experts are hard-pressed to provide examples of how he has been able to translate America's renewed popularity into actual progress.

As the committee has snubbed conservatives, globalist figures have won the award year after year with far fewer historic accomplishments to justify their awards: the 2005 prize to U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei, for example, and the 2001 award to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

As much as Americans may take pride in their president winning the award, it appears to mark the third time an award has been given to a recipient in large measure owing to their opposition to former President George W. Bush.

When former President Jimmy Carter was presented the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, the chairman of the committee eschewed the pacific spirit of the prize by calling it a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration. In 2007, the award was presented to former Vice President Al Gore — not for "reduction of standing armies," but for making a movie and leading an anti-global warming crusade that Bush wanted no part of.

Comments from the Nobel Committee indicate Obama was awarded the prize in large measure for his departure from the rhetoric and policies of the Bush administration, which has fed the hopes of the international community.

"He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate," said Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.

"This latest award is a political statement," Nile Gardiner, the director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax.

Gardiner characterized Obama's diplomatic record to date as "thoroughly negligible," adding, "I think the Nobel Committee has consistently gone out of its way not to recognize American conservative leaders like Reagan, who have done great work advancing the cause of liberty and freedom on the world stage."

Ironically, the award was announced just a few days after Obama put off meeting with the Dalai Lama, the representative of the oppressed Tibetan people, apparently out of concern for relations with China.

"The awards have been greatly politicized," Dr. James Jay Carafano, a leading Heritage Foundation expert on defense and homeland security, told Newsmax.

Dr. Larry J. Sabato, author of "The Year of Obama" and the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said winning the Nobel may not help President Obama much politically.

"The prize reinforces the view that for Obama, the bar is set differently," Sabato told Newsmax. "Unlike other presidents, or even peace-prize winners, he’s judged mainly on style and celebrity rather than actual achievements. I think my reaction when I heard the news was nearly universal: Whether you like or dislike Obama, it’s ridiculously premature. He just got into office."

Carafano noted that the award actually might complicate Obama's global peace initiatives. Other leaders may now see Obama as being under pressure to achieve results, thereby strengthening their perceived bargaining position vis-à-vis the United States, he said.

Talk show titan Rush Limbaugh joined in that sentiment with a broadside e-mailed to Politico.com.

"This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama," Limbaugh wrote. "And with the 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program, and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States."

Limbaugh continued: "They love a weakened, neutered U.S., and this is their way of promoting that concept."

The reaction to the award was wide-ranging and unpredictable.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee cautioned that an over-the-top conservative outcry could appear to be a case of "right-wing whining."

Among the skeptics, however, was former Polish leader Lech Walesa, who won the Peace Prize in 1983 for founding the Solidarity movement.

"So soon?" Walesa said, according to the Washington Post. "Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act. . . Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act."

Obama appeared aware of the concerns being voiced, saying in his acceptance remarks that the award left him "both surprised and deeply humbled."

"I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize," he said.

And Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's reaction, as told to The Corner blog, was: "The Nobel committee is preaching at Americans."

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