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Obama’s Nobel a Downer?

12 October, 2009

I was trying to avoid confronting Obama’s prize nomination. I was convinced it was something I had heard in Japanese on NHK while I was still half asleep. But now Alexander Downer has come out and said what many people must already thinking (perhaps not most, but many), I now know it istrue.

Taking a shot at the Nobel Prize committee rather than the US President himself, Downer has called the decision, among other things, “stupid” and a “hideous display of cynical politics”. Downer offers some more deserving candidates:

How could he have snatched the prize from such people as the great Zimbabwean humanitarian and champion of freedom, Morgan Tsvangiri, or the renowned Greg Mortenson, a former U.S. Army doctor who has set up schools for girls in tough, Taliban-dominated areas of Afghanistan.

Most of Downer’s criticism goes to former Norwegian PM Thorbjorn Jagland, whose 2am phone call to Downer demanding the Tampa land in Australia has not been forgotten by the former foreign minister.

But Downer is right on the money with regards to the timing of Obama’s Nobel nomination. His declaration in Vienna pledging that the US will take leadership in ridding the world of nuclear weapons “so far as is possible” (hmmm) is nothing short of historic, and almost appeared to be a contemporary portrayal of JFK’s “I am a jelly doughnut” speech in Berlin.

Yet I thought the Peace Prize was reserved for those that had brought about lasting peace, or had suffered in their efforts to do so. But perhaps aspirations are more important than results? If that is the case, I will start adding more to my wishlist.


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