October 9, 2009

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize...WTF?!

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I was busy working on a project at home today, so I didn't have my eyes glued to the TV or the internet.  Imagine my surprise when, later in the evening, a friend told me that US President Barack Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

My initial reaction was very straight forward - WTF?!

Not that I don't like Obama.  He's a very likeable guy.  Is he a good President?  He's certainly making a lot of effort in many different areas, and I have high hopes for him.  But in all honesty, it's too early to tell.  He's only been in office for less than a year.

My understanding - being a layman - is that Nobel Prizes are awarded based on the achievements of the laureates.  So what, exactly, did the people at Norwegian Nobel Committee think Obama has accomplished since his rise to fame in the last couple of years?  I'm still scratching my head on this.

Out of 120 laureates awarded the Peace Prize - 97 of them individuals - 15 of them have been heads of state, including 4 US Presidents.  Most awards were handed out while these heads of state were in office, and we can easily point to specific achievements for most of the awards - Teddy Roosevelt for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War; Woodrow Wilson for establishing the League of Nations; Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin for the first Middle East peace treaty...

What has Obama done?  Well...he's extended the olive branch to numerous enemies and estranged allies of the US.  He has shown the world that he wants to talk, which is a hell lot better than Dubya's attitude towards the rest of the world.  But there's still nothing concrete that we can point to.

Hong Kong TV interviewed a few local "scholars", and one of them used to phrase "the biggest joke in the world (天大的笑話)".  I can't say I disagree...

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