I’ve come to the conclusion that the most interesting thing about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is how much people have lost their heads over it. I was confused by Obama’s win at first, but then I actually thought about it. The Nobel Committee votes for who they want to win. It’s not a math equation, it’s a gut-check/wishful-thinking/popularity-contest type of decision, and it always has been. That’s why I don’t think it aught to be taken as seriously as people seem to be taking it now.
Was Obama most deserving of the prize this year? Probably not, but if we were to go by the standards of history, I think it’s pretty clear that he is more deserving than Al Gore was back in 2007 (if Global Warming has anything more than an extremely tangential relationship to peace, I’ve yet to be convinced of it). I think people tend to forget how bad international relations were under George W Bush. It’s not in the media much, but our relationship with Russia was in very bad shape under Bush. So bad, that if things continued the way they were going, it might have actually come to military action. Obama comes in, nixes the military instillation (the “missile defence shield” which couldn’t do anything like defend against missiles) we were building on Russia’s door step under Bush, and suddenly Obama gets Russia to decrease it’s nuclear arsenal. Obama hasn’t done much to change our relationship with the nations in the “axis of evil”, but there’s a lot more to international relations than Iran and North Korea.
People rightly question the validity of the Nobel Peace Prize every year. The only real difference this year is that it comes on the heel of a popular Saturday Night Live skit claiming the person hasn’t done anything. Given how much people in this country take comedy as gospel truth, we’ve ended up with a lot of people being confused and angry that the rest of the world doesn’t do the same.