Posted by: oatmealbear | October 9, 2009

Operation Oslo

“They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity.”

So laments the paternal figure in Pixar’s The Incredibles. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts but Obama’s efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners’. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.

He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate,” Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. “Some people say, and I understand it, isn’t it premature? Too early? Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us.

Preemptively handing out awards for nothing more than verbal promises and well-crafted speeches is sheer lunacy. As anyone who went to elementary school learned, recognition is based on merit, meaning ACTUAL WORK. I know that giving each player on the team a trophy has become standard in America, but I didn’t realize that the Norwegians had embraced the same philosophy. Maybe tomorrow my boss will follow their lead and start dropping bonuses on my desk for all the projects I might theoretically accomplish during the next three years.

For the most part, Obama has kept American military operations status quo in the wake of his predecessor, which makes his reception of the Nobel Prize, somewhat counterintuitive.

Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.

Apparently, lobbing around buzz words like “nuclear disarmament” and “global community” nullify all those mundane details. Doubly ironic is the Nobel committee’s apparent lack of understanding concerning recent international events:

The award appeared to be at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Brilliant, a politically charged gesture that showers praise on the individual responsible for maintaining the very military “unilateralism” that the committee has essentially condemned.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the prize in 1983, questioned whether Obama deserved it now.

“So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act,” Walesa said.

Some have suggested that this is intended to “encourage” Obama into achieving heroic feats of international diplomacy. No matter how you slice it, this entire event is appallingly premature. Obama may accomplish incredible deeds that echo through the hallowed halls of history; until then let’s leave the accolades for someone who has actually walked the path.

Whether the Nobel Committee realizes it or not, they’ve progressively managed to undermine and denigrate the reputation of their own award. Al Gore was recognized in 2007 for his “work” on climate change. At one time, the Nobel Prize meant something, even if it was Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations. To quote The Incredibles once more, “If everyone is special, then no one is.”

The world doesn’t just need hope. It needs careful analysis, foresight, and coordinated action. See my previous post about the passing of Common Sense. He will be sorely missed.


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