Obama’s Peace Prize a ‘dog treat’ of encouragement

Nathan WuertenburgNathan Wuertenberg

Commentary Editor

Accomplishments to Obama’s name so far (according to the Nobel Committee):

1) speech in Prague made promising an end to nuclear proliferation

2) speech in Egypt made asking for renewed and higher levels of cooperation between the Muslim and Western world

3) statements made hoping for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.

For this, Obama has been given a Nobel Peace Prize. For saying and hoping what nearly every other president (save his predecessor) says and hopes, he has been rewarded with one of mankind’s supposedly highest global honors.

Don’t get me wrong, if only as a slap in the face of Obama’s illustrious predecessor this award is worth it. But let me put this into perspective for you. This decision was made about two weeks into his presidency, and announced after nine more months. In that time, he has managed to fulfill a very small number of his campaign promises.

Health care reform continues to be mired in a sea of partisanship (thanks Republicans), US troops remain in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, and Obama is just now addressing the issue of sending more troops to Afghanistan, where the situation has only worsened since his first day in office. He has not addressed climate change. He only just mentioned “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and he has yet to address the issue of the past torture of suspected terrorists or do anything about “No Child Left Behind,” (thanks Saturday Night Live). So, the first thought after reading all of this, is that maybe he doesn’t deserve a pat on the back and a cookie just yet.

But, let’s look at some of the past winners and losers of the Nobel Peace Prize, shall we. According to the selection committee, the Peace Prize is not the same as the other Nobels. The others, like Physics and Economics, take a lifetime to achieve and actually make a difference. The Peace Prize, on the other hand, is given more to encourage someone who has just started to continue doing what they have been doing. It is, in essence, the dog treat of Nobel Prizes. This explains the Nobel Committee’s selection of Al Gore (for making a movie and stuff), Yassir Arafat (for deciding not to be a terrorist anymore), Jimmy Carter (for engineering a peace plan between Israel and Pakistan that almost worked), and finally Barack Obama (for crossing his fingers and hoping good things will happen). Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. (who led entire nations and races to freedom and continue to serve as inspirations for the oppressed masses of today) got jack diddly.

Maybe if Obama closes his eyes and clicks his heels twice, he’ll accomplish enough to deserve some actual recognition, and not just a good scratching behind those big ol’ ears.