I can't stop. Read more!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Here is an excerpt from an article by Deepak Chopra called "Dear Mr. President: Make This a Real Peace Prize" as seen on HuffPost. The whole article is worth reading. Chopra is not afraid of wishful thinking, somehow is not too jaded to keep pressing for action. The rest of us tire so easily... Maybe that's Chopra's job.
He points out something I was slow to recognize--that this was a strategic chess move on the behalf of all Europeans, and not without great risk.
"An air of pleased embarrassment is emanating from the White House today. It may be seen that this was really the Nobel Speech Prize. The Oslo committee clearly wanted to jog some elbows, particularly European ones. President Obama has made all the right moves on many fronts -- nuclear disarmament, global warming, a reach-out to the Muslim world.
This might alternatively be called the Nobel Relief Prize, as the rest of the world breathes a sigh that the U.S. is no longer a unilateral, belligerent power. Simply to back away from the military overreach of the Bush era is reason to celebrate.
But a shadow hangs over the Nobel, thanks to its record of futility. A glaring example would be all the prizes given for negotiating a peace in the Middle East that never came. Attempts at peace are laudable, and perhaps they are the best we can do much of the time, but Obama should aim higher."
"...It's in his power to make this a real peace prize.
Because he's a sitting president, he's one of the few recipients with global power. And he sits atop a massive -- mega-massive, if you will -- military budget. The two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be object lessons in peace-making. If he has learned anything from these two conflicts, which are futile, impoverishing, and seemingly endless, Obama could lay down the following policies:
--Cutting America's nuclear stockpile immediately by 90%.
--Fighting no wars without a strong array of willing allies.
--Turning any conflict into a peacekeeping mission.
--Initiating a draft for future wars so that a tiny slice of the American population, generally the poorest and least educated, doesn't bear the burden of sacrifice alone.
--Dramatically curtailing future defense budgets.
--Ending America's supremacy in arms dealing."
"... Peace begins with those who have the power to make peace. Obama stands in a unique position in this regard. Even though we've turned the corner from Bush's reckless belligerence, avowing peace isn't the same as action. The bald truth is that much of the world fears America, and our politicians and generals like it that way. But in an age of globalism, it's not feasible to want worldwide cooperation on climate change while holding all the cards in weapons. Fear doesn't fit well with cooperation."
Read the entire post here.
May we find the energy to keep hoping. Read more!
In case you were wondering:
All Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 89 times to 119 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2008 – 96 times to individuals and 23 times to organizations. Since International Committee of the Red Cross was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917, 1944 and 1963, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981, that means 96 individuals and 20 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2009 - Barack Obama (Most likely to succeed?)
2008 - Martti Ahtisaari
2007 - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore
2006 - Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank
2005 - International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei
2004 - Wangari Maathai
2003 - Shirin Ebadi
2002 - Jimmy Carter
2001 - United Nations, Kofi Annan 1/2 to each "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world" [Personal favorite]
2000 - Kim Dae-jung
1999 - Médecins Sans Frontières (LOVED the movie!)
1998 - John Hume, David Trimble
1997 - International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Jody Williams
1996 - Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, José Ramos-Horta
1995 - Joseph Rotblat, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
1994 - Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin (Strange Bedfellows Award)
1993 - Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk (Ditto)
1992 - Rigoberta Menchú Tum
1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi
1990 - Mikhail Gorbachev
1989 - The 14th Dalai Lama
1988 - United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
1987 - Oscar Arias Sánchez
1986 - Elie Wiesel
1985 - International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
1984 - Desmond Tutu
1983 - Lech Walesa
1982 - Alva Myrdal, Alfonso García Robles
1981 - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1980 - Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
1979 - Mother Teresa
1978 - Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin (Frenemies win a lot!)
1977 - Amnesty International
1976 - Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan
1975 - Andrei Sakharov
1974 - Seán MacBride, Eisaku Sato
1973 - Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho
1972 - The prize money for 1972 was allocated to the Main Fund
1971 - Willy Brandt
1970 - Norman Borlaug
1969 - International Labour Organization
1968 - René Cassin
1967 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1966 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1965 - United Nations Children's Fund
1964 - Martin Luther King Jr.
1963 - International Committee of the Red Cross, League of Red Cross Societies
1962 - Linus Pauling
1961 - Dag Hammarskjöld
1960 - Albert Lutuli
1959 - Philip Noel-Baker
1958 - Georges Pire
1957 - Lester Bowles Pearson
1956 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1955 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1954 - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1953 - George C. Marshall
1952 - Albert Schweitzer
1951 - Léon Jouhaux
1950 - Ralph Bunche
1949 - Lord Boyd Orr
1948 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1947 - Friends Service Council, American Friends Service Committee
1946 - Emily Greene Balch, John R. Mott
1945 - Cordell Hull
1944 - International Committee of the Red Cross
1943 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1942 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1941 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1940 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1939 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1938 - Nansen International Office for Refugees
1937 - Robert Cecil
1936 - Carlos Saavedra Lamas
1935 - Carl von Ossietzky
1934 - Arthur Henderson
1933 - Sir Norman Angell
1932 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1931 - Jane Addams, Nicholas Murray Butler
1930 - Nathan Söderblom
1929 - Frank B. Kellogg
1928 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1927 - Ferdinand Buisson, Ludwig Quidde
1926 - Aristide Briand, Gustav Stresemann
1925 - Sir Austen Chamberlain, Charles G. Dawes
1924 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1923 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1922 - Fridtjof Nansen
1921 - Hjalmar Branting, Christian Lange
1920 - Léon Bourgeois
1919 - Woodrow Wilson (Guy sounds familiar)
1918 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1917 - International Committee of the Red Cross
1916 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1915 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1914 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1913 - Henri La Fontaine
1912 - Elihu Root
1911 - Tobias Asser, Alfred Fried
1910 - Permanent International Peace Bureau
1909 - Auguste Beernaert, Paul Henri d'Estournelles de Constant
1908 - Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Fredrik Bajer
1907 - Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Louis Renault
1906 - Theodore Roosevelt (Best shot while mounted)
1905 - Bertha von Suttner
1904 - Institute of International Law
1903 - Randal Cremer
1902 - Élie Ducommun, Albert Gobat
1901 - Henry Dunant, Frédéric Passy
President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize, Yahoo's lead story.
This is not a popularity award (well, maybe it is) but rather one that should be awarded to, and I quote here Alfred Nobel from his 1985 will, "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."
Well, he has had some success with "peace congresses" as Andy Borowitz points out in his reaction to the news this morning:
Nobel Insiders: Beer Summit Sealed it for Obama
Another article makes a number of good points about the news, most notably that "Bill Clinton will be pissed." This from Matthew Cooper at The Atlantic:
Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize. What Now?
It also hits upon my first reaction, which was: When does he get his Oscar?
Another article takes a different slant on the award:
"Obama awarded Nobel Peace Price for not being Bush" There are SO MANY blogs erupting this morning I have already lost the source for this one. As soon as I find it, I will post the link. I saw it somewhere on the Huffington Post.
So what now? I am not the only one whose first reaction (okay, second after WTF?) was that he should politely decline it. I can list at least ten articles so far that follow this line, and you can find them easily enough. Apparently, it is not that easy to accomplish this, and I, for one, don't see him doing it. Any politician--and I mean anyone, not just Obama--who has the ego to make it to the highest office does not still retain the humility necessary to make such a bold move. That is my opinion.
After all, has anyone ever turned down an Oscar?