Why in the world did the Nobel Committee award their peace prize to President Barack Obama? The prize, according to the Nobel guidelines, is to be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses." Just one thing is wrong with their decision. Mr. Obama, based on those guidelines, does not qualify.
While he had a great opportunity just recently to justify that award, he chose not to do so when he decided to once again escalate the Afghanistan War by adding another 30,000 to 35,000 more troops. That in no way can be interpreted as a decision a peacemaker would make. He is escalating a war; he is not ending it. The only way to even begin the process of trying to find a way to peace in Afghanistan is to remove our troops.
The second question is: Why in the world did Barack Obama accept this prestigious humanitarian award when, in his heart, he must fully realize that he neither qualifies nor deserves it? Does he seriously believe that he belongs in the company of these former prize winners all dedicated promoters of peace in our world?
1993 Nelson Mandela -- President of the ANC (African National Congress), then President of the Republic of South Africa. In accepting said, "We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people."
1989 Dalai Lama 14th -- Tibet, religious and political leader of the Tibetan people. In accepting said, "I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings."
1979 Mother Teresa -- India, Leader of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. In accepting said, "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."
1964 Martin Luther King Jr. -- U.S., leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, campaigner for civil rights. In accepting said, "Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life's restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men."
1952 Albert Schweitzer -- Missionary surgeon, FounderLambarÃ©nÃ©Hospital in RÃ©publique du Gabon. In accepting said, "If altruism, reverence for life, and the idea of brotherhood can become living realities in the hearts of men, we will have laid the very foundations of a lasting peace between individuals, nations, and races."
I recently read an article about former recipients of the Nobel Prize in the 1980s, during the height of the Russian invasion and occupation. In their acceptance speeches, almost every one of them made strong comments decrying the tragedy of that conflict. Rest assured that you will hear no such comments from President Obama in the approaching Oslo ceremonies.
So, how could Mr. Obama truly deserve this "peace" prize and join the five former recipients mentioned above to go down in history as a peacemaker?
First he must renounce wars of choice forever and bring our troops home from Afghanistan. The bloodthirsty war hawks in Washington want no such thing. They have this mindset that if we pull out of that occupation, what will follow will be total chaos and disaster and we will lose our dominant position in that region. But the major problem was and continues to be our unwanted presence in that nation. If we leave there will surely be factional confrontations and strife, as has been the case throughout history, but it will not match the magnitude of what is currently happening.
If Mr. Obama was truly a peacemaker, worthy of that prestigious award, he would use his current formidable influence in the world to assemble a coalition of nations within that vast region to include but not be limited to; Pakistan, India, Russia, China and yes, Iran. Each of these nations has a special interest in that region, and, if the U.S. simply pulls out of Afghanistan, any one of them might try to take control of that nation.
For such a coalition to evolve into a viable regional organization with the objective to establish on-going stability in Afghanistan and that region of the world would certainly present significant challenges. Detractors would say that it would be pure folly, a total impossibility. But it will only remain insurmountable until a world leader who wields tremendous influence and power steps forward to begin such an important process.
Here is the very situation in which Barack Obama could become a true peacemaker and be worthy of the Nobel Prize. Difficult as it would appear to be, he would have a great opportunity to really change the world and move nations away from war. Sure, efforts to achieve world peace have been tried before with the League of Nations after World War I, which proved to be incapable of preventing World War II, and The United Nations of today which is largely an ineffective debating society. That does not mean that it should not be attempted again, because the chances of world conflict become greater every day.
Insurmountable odds did not stop the peace prize winners mentioned above from dedicating themselves and their lives to the promotion of peace and humanitarian actions. They overcame huge obstacles placed in their way by many opponents of their philosophies of peace, sometimes risking their lives.
To join those world renowned peacemakers Mr. Obama must transform himself from a war president to a president who can lead the world into peace and stability. Will he, can he rise to the occasion, and be truly deserving of that prize? Only history will tell.
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