Really? I mean, really? I know the Nobel Peace Committee has a sad history of defaming itself, beginning, some would say, with its award to Henry Kissinger in 1973, and solidified, any reasonable person would agree, with the award to Yasser Arafat in 1994. The 2002 award to Carter suggested that it’s good thoughts and firm leftism that count, so maybe there’s precedent for this Obama stunner. Still, Carter spent decades slobbering all over murderers, rapists, and tyrants, often actively engaging in policy sabotage that, had it occurred under presidents with less concern for public opinion, would rightly have landed him in prison (recall, for example, how he jetted about the Middle East during the lead-up to the Gulf War, trying to talk national leaders out of cooperating with the United States).
The point is, Obama hasn’t even begun to hamstring American foreign interests yet. This isn’t a matter of the Nobel Committee getting it right; by now we all know these people are like a crazy uncle who lives by himself in the woods and shoots at stray dogs — he’s mostly harmless, but not somebody you’d invite over for dinner, and certainly not someone whose opinion you’d take seriously. Sort of like Ramsey Clark, in other words. So we don’t expect them to know anything about world peace, except that it would be nice to have.
But is a little consistency too much to ask? It seems to me that if you’re going to be in the business of making disastrously bad, ridicule-inviting choices, you need to select people with a long track record of feckless, reckless, irrelevant, crowd-pleasing stupidity on an international scale. People like Jimmy Carter, in other words.
Seriously, couldn’t the committee find a murderous thug who, seeing that his bread might be buttered on the side of temporary peace, recently signed some meaningless treaty? And if they wanted an American, couldn’t they find someone with a solid history of lecturing his countrymen about our moral failings?
What’s missing this year, in other words, is outrage. There’s just nothing to be incensed about. Obama certainly shows plenty of promise of becoming Carteresque, what with looming inflation and a seeming inability to make decisions about the military, but he needs time to stumble into that role. Giving him the award now just makes everyone go “Huh?” And I think what the committee is really looking for is “Ack!”
With the Nobel Peace Prize, as with baseball, there’s always next year. It’s going to take some doing to overcome the banality of this year’s choice, however. Maybe Kim Jong Il could be persuaded to accept in 2010. That would sure be a stick in the eye to the West. And let’s face it — that’s all the Nobel Peace Committee really cares about.