Why we don’t invite crazy uncles to dinner

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.


  1. Marc V

    I too was gabberflasted this morning when I saw the headline about Man of Peace BHO. Ah well, it gives him another chance to make a historic speech to a world audience “hungry” for someone to apologize on how mean the US has been over the years.

    I tried at work to talk up getting the afternoon off and honoring BHO for this special prize, giving us time to list his many accomplishments that have led up to this momentous(sp?) award. I was met with blank stares and slight shakes-of-the-head.

    I was a little surprised that Libya’s Qadaffi(duck) didn’t snare the prize, considering his stirring UN speech, his reaching out to the world and putting aside his desire for nukes. Maybe next year … if Biden doesn’t position himself for it!?

  2. Ed Flinn

    The nomination cutoff, as I understand it, was February 1, so the award is based on his accomplishments in his first two weeks in office, or what he achieved before taking office. I’m thinking Roman Polanski must be feeling pretty good about his chances at the 2010 Peace Prize!

  3. Shawn Small

    I know I am stepping into the bastion of conservatism here, but…what Americans are famously known for is their very narrow view of the rest of the world. Maybe Obama didn’t deserve it, but ask yourself why he was considered. I know it is popular theory that the rest of the world is stupid (and half of America since we are on the ‘left’) but this past election, the world was watching like no other. A vote for McCain was going to be considered such a snub to the rest of the world after Bush and his policies.

    Again, of course you don’t have to agree, but just ask yourself why people view the way they do as opposed to, if they view differently, they are probably ignorant. For example, I was very surprised to find that Arafat’s visit to South Africa was greeted with great accolades. The majority of the population understood him as an underdog fighter for liberation. He is popular with those who feel oppression. Many of us cannot fathom what that might be like.

    I know, I know, all we do is whine about things not being fair, but my faith calls for me to walk with those who suffer. I think people saw Obama as someone who would be a person that would do the same or at least try.

    I guess what I find interesting Tony is your hatred for Jimmy Carter. It has come out a lot over the years. But again, ask yourself, what was his want and his goal? I can tell you on no uncertain terms that he is a man of deep faith and true faith, not just one of the many check-God-off-on-Sunday Christians that do not actually try to practice their faith. If he failed, he did so trying to act through that faith. I don’t know if one could say the same for many other presidents or other leaders.

    Regardless, I hope you and the family are well. One thing is sure: You are missed!

  4. JB

    On his radio show today, Dennis Miller suggested the President accept the award in honor of the American soldier. Sort of a “Peace Through Superior Fire Power” theme. Read a few good books about the Taliban and Al Quida and it becomes clear why this would be appropriate.


  5. Lenise

    This one had me laughing out loud!

    Yes, the ones with the loudest megaphones on the world scene hated W. Does that make Western Europe and the autocrats of the Middle East the only ones who matter? What about the African countries who received aid to fight HIV as a result of W’s presidency? Is Bono the only one who knew about this? What about the Eastern Europeans who joined in the “Coalition of the Willing”? Are their viewpoints to be disregarded because they don’t have millions of dollars with which to reward their fans? What about the Shiites and the Kurds in Iraq? Did they think W was a horrible imperialist warmonger? I don’t think we need to be chided to think about things like “the world” does, when “the world”, by and large, refers to a slice of the richest folks on the planet. They do not have my deep sympathy.

  6. RockThrowingPeasant

    Obama was given the Nobel, not for what he has done, but as a measure of “soft power” to ensure he toes the UN line. This is how you bribe many American politicians – vanity.

    I don’t give a hoot about Obama getting it, other than I worry he cannot overcome the need to be liked at the expense of national security.

    As far as Arafat, the thug approved the attack and murder of US diplomats. Not being part of the world that shrugs it off is fine with me.

  7. Joe Strummer

    In neocon speak, “hamstring America’s foreign interests” means not bombing Iran. And America’s foreign interests apparently are the unfettered ability to wage war where ever and whenever the American government likes. In other contexts, that would mean America was a “rogue nation.” But in neocon speak, that means America is simply free to pursue it’s “interests.”

  8. sjd

    The joke going around here in Pasadena is that there is now an online petition to secure his nomination for the Heisman Trophy.

  9. RockThrowingPeasant

    Yes, indeed, I’m a neo-con. I was part of the 60s and 70s movement that went from Liberalism to Conservatism with the secret intent of taking it Leftward. And all for the sake of the Motherland, Israel!

    Oh, wait. I’m 37. I’m also a veteran who served in harm’s way several times during my years in the service of our nation. I still favor shooting the wolf from 100 yards rather than waiting for the wolf to be at my door and take him down with a knife. This was not a matter of neo-con brainwashing, but from years of seeing firsthand the costs of relativism. I was this way well before the Left created the Neo-Con boogeyman because it was my profession to spot threats, make a calculated decision on possible actions, and act on the best course of action I could determine with the facts at hand.

    Hamstringing US foreign policy is letting Europe have a veto over what we do. To the neo-con-conspiracy types, that only seems to mean the Middle East. To me, it means the Southeast Asia, South America, Russia, the Horn of Africa, and what will be an emerging power – India (a fellow democracy that shares many of the same struggles facing the US).

    European elite dithered as Yugoslavia exploded. European elite talked while Rwanda bled. European elite formed committees while HIV ravaged a generation of Africans. European elite honor Polanski, Mumia, and Arafat and mock Haval, Thatcher, and (insert Pope here). Now, to be fair, many in Europe did act when called upon. I had the honor to work with many of their young men and I respect their troops. Still, I am wary of letting European elite influence US politics. This is not disturbing to some who crave acceptance from their betters. It disturbs me.

    I do not think there is cause for “unfettered war” and I developed a test, of sorts, to determine what should and should not constitute a threat to the nation. Being a threat does not mean military action is the only course to take, though. I wonder, Joe Strummer, if you’ve actually thought out what criteria is needed for a nation, organization, etc to be considered a threat to the US. If you have, I’d like to read it. I’d be happy to post mine, if there’s interest. So, here’s “the neo-con” (cue dramatic music) saying, “Let’s have this discussion.”

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