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Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize 2009: Obama Gets What?

Gandhi never got it. Obama did.

The Nobel Committee deliberating 2009 Nobel for Peace has just announced the winner: Presiden Barak Hussain Obama. Here is the full citation.

This may well turn out to be the watershed year in the decline of Nobel Prizes.

What were the committee members eating or smoking?

Before this surprise announcement out of left field the three leading contenders were Sen. Piedad Cordoba, 54, of Colombia, Prince Ghazi Muhammad of Jordan and Dr. Sima Sarwar from Afghanistan according to PRIO, the Committee that awards the Peace Prize.

In the past the coveted award has gone to "an individual or organization engaged in the resolution of a protracted armed conflict."

Lately the Nobel Foundation that awards these prizes has come under heavy criticism for being too euro-centric.

President Obama has his future ahead of him. Few can argue that he has made his political mark in US history. He is the first black President, has talked of nuclear disarmament, spoke about reconciliation between Islam and the West, is giving more importance to international institutions and diplomacy. But at the same time he has refrained from asking Israel, India and Pakistan to sign the NPT, has sent in more troops in Afghanistan, and is considering a request from Gen Mcchrystal for additional 40,000 troops and has rewarded financial institutions to the tune of trillions for bringing US to its knees.

Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said:“We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.”

Yes, he was talked the talk. He spoke of peace in Europe,of reconciliation in Cairo. But he has yet to walk the walk.

Right this minute he is deliberating a request to increase US involvement in the 'graveyard of imperialism' where already nearly 1000 US soldiers have died in the past eight years.

His stimulus plans favouring Goldman Sachs and other financial firms that had led US down the garden path initially has come into criticism. His health package with its public option is being opposed the Republicans as well as some of the backbenchers in his own party.

If the Norwegians are saying to the world that anyone after George W Bush is to be praised and lauded then I am afraid the Peace Nobel has lost its sizzle.

President Obama may well deserve this award in years to come. But not at this time. He has just begun his strive and is yet to leave a mark on world peace


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