Award per­ma­nently de­val­ued

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

All my life, said Voltaire, I have had but one prayer: “O Lord, make my en­e­mies look ridicu­lous. And God granted it.” In award­ing the No­bel Prize for Peace to Barack Obama, the No­bel com­mit­tee has just made it­self look ridicu­lous.

Con­sider. Though they had lead roles in end­ing a Cold War last­ing half a cen­tury, be­tween a nu­clear-armed Soviet Em­pire and the West, nei­ther Ron­ald Rea­gan nor John Paul II ever got a No­bel Prize.

In 1987, Rea­gan ne­go­ti­ated the great­est arms re­duc­tion treaty in mod­ern time, the INF agree­ment re­mov­ing all Soviet SS-20s and all U.S. Per­sh­ing and cruise mis­siles from Europe.

Other than host­ing the “Beer Sum­mit” be­tween Sgt. James Crow­ley of the Cam­bridge Po­lice and Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Henry Louis Gates, what has Mr. Obama done to com­pare with what th­ese states­men did to make ours a more peace­ful and bet­ter world?

What has Mr. Obama ac­com­plished to com­pare with what the other sit­ting pres­i­dents to re­ceive the No­bel Prize ac­com­plished?

Theodore Roo­sevelt won in 1906 for the Portsmouth Treaty that ended the Russo-Ja­panese War. Woodrow Wil­son won the 1919 No­bel Prize for get­ting Ger­many to ac­cept his 14 Points as the ba­sis for an armistice that ended the blood­i­est war in all of Euro­pean his­tory.

And what about Richard Nixon?

In 1972, he made his his­toric trip to China, end­ing a quar­ter cen­tury of hos­til­ity, ne­go­ti­ated SALT I with Leonid Brezh­nev, lim­it­ing ICBMs, and ended U.S. in­volve­ment in Viet­nam. True, Mr. Nixon per­suaded Hanoi to sign the Paris Peace Ac­cords only af­ter 13 days of “Christ­mas bomb­ing.”

Yet that did not de­ter the No­bel com­mit­tee from giv­ing the 1973 prize to Henry Kissinger and Hanoi ‘s Le Duc Tho.

Early in the week his award was an­nounced, Mr. Obama snubbed the Dalai Lama, the 1989 win­ner of the No­bel Peace Prize, who has spent 50 years as a coura­geous voice for the rights of his Ti­betan peo­ple, who have en­dured half a cen­tury of Chi­nese com­mu­nist re­pres­sion and cul­tural geno­cide. Which of th­ese — the Dalai Lama or Barack Obama — seems more de­serv­ing of a No­bel Prize for Peace?

Since the news broke, the pres­i­dent has been a na­tional ob­ject of mock­ery and mirth. In fair­ness, this is not his fault. There is no ev­i­dence he lob­bied for the prize; no ev­i­dence he knew it was com­ing.

“Is this April Fools’ Day?” said one star­tled aide.

In ac­cept­ing, Barack was prop­erly hum­ble, say­ing that he did not be­long in the com­pany of pre­vi­ous re­cip­i­ents, that he would try to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions his No­bel had cre­ated.

It is the mem­bers of the No­bel com­mit­tee who have made fools of them­selves and fur­ther de­val­ued their prize, if that is still pos­si­ble.

For how many Amer­i­cans could, without Google, iden­tify Shirin Ebadi, Wan­gari Maathai, Muham­mad Yunus and Martti Ahti­saari? Who are they? The 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008 win­ners of the No­bel Prize for Peace. In that com­pany at least, Mr. Obama, for his will­ing­ness to talk to Amer­ica’s ad­ver­saries and en­e­mies, is not out­shone.

In­deed, looking down the list of other re­cip­i­ents in this decade — Jimmy Carter in 2002, Muham­mad ElBa­radei in 2005, Al Gore in 2007 and Mr. Obama — the com­mit­tee should prob­a­bly re­name it the No­bel Prize for Peace . . . and Stick-It-to-Ge­orge Bush Tro­phy.

By 2002, Mr. Carter, who should have been in­cluded in the 1978 No­bel that went to Me­nachem Be­gin and An­war Sa­dat for the Is­raeli-Egyp­tian peace he bro­kered at Camp David, had be­come a global pest, be­dev­il­ing Mr. Bush, as he did Bill Clin­ton, in vi­o­la­tion of the tra­di­tion of ex­pres­i­dents, all the while ac­com­plish­ing noth­ing.

While the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency was right about no atomic weapons or pro­grams in Iraq, ElBaradai him­self re­gret­ted not hav­ing been more coura­geous in op­pos­ing the war. As for Mr. Gore, his prize was the com­mit­tee’s way of pro­vid­ing pub­lic­ity for a cam­paign against global warm­ing that is a front for the lat­est scheme to ad­vance world gov­ern­ment.

As for Mr. Obama, he got the award be­cause he is the quin­tes­sen­tial anti-Bush. Yet, the No­bel com­mit­tee did him no ser­vice.

They have brazenly med­dled in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the United States. They have re­in­forced the im­pres­sion that Mr. Obama is some­one who is for­ever be­ing given prizes — Ivy League schol­ar­ships, law re­view ed­i­tor­ships, prime-time speak­ing slots at na­tional con­ven­tions — he did not earn. They have put him un­der moral pres­sure to mol­lify a paci­fist left. They have brought him to the point, danger­ous in pol­i­tics, where a man be­comes the butt of re­flex­ive jokes, as did Bill Clin­ton in the Mon­ica af­fair.

Th­ese Nor­we­gian groupies, act­ing out of “ado­les­cent adu­la­tion,” writes the Fi­nan­cial Times, have ex­posed them­selves as “an an­nex to the left wing of the U.S. Demo­cratic Party“ with a “deeply mis­guided act” that will “em­bar­rass (Mr. Obama’s) al­lies and egg on his de­trac­tors.”

The com­mit­tee did some­thing else. They en­sured that their No­bel Peace Prize will never be taken as se­ri­ously again as once it was.

Pat Buchanan is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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