Conventional wisdom on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama
is, increasingly, that it was premature, with some insisting Obama's best option is to refuse it
After all, at nine months into his term, Obama has promised much but
accomplished little. Hoever, Jason Zengerle at The New Republic
wonders, is the whole point of the award is to promote aspirations for
peace rather than to recognize past achievements? Zengerle writes
And, I have to confess, my initial reaction was the same as theirs, and
pretty much everyone's outside the White House: What has Obama done to
deserve this? But if you think about it for a second, desert is almost
irrelevant here. Unlike the Nobel prizes for medicine or physics or
literature, the Nobel peace prize is often awarded for potential rather
than past achievement; it's like the NBA draft of the Nobels.
Crowley cites a Foreign Affairs article
by Ronald Krebs calling the Nobel Peace Prize "expressly political,"
adding that "The Nobel committee seeks to change the world through the
conferral, and, unlike its fellow prizes, the peace prize goes well
beyond recognizing past accomplishments." Zengerle writes, "Indeed,
since 1971, according to Krebs's criteria, the Nobel committee has
awarded 27 aspirational prizes."
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