A pleasant surprise woke up President Barack Hussein Obama Friday morning. His Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called in with the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a later news conference at the White House Rose Garden, the president said about being the laureate, he does not «view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments,» but instead, as of the goals he has established for the country and the world.
“I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize,» he added.
But the whole world has reacted to the committee’s decision and analysts say awarding Nobel Peace Prize to Obama is premature and takes away credibility to the process.
Questions on the reasons of the decision are based on the issue that the Nobel Committee included Obama in its candidate’s list, anytime within its process’ deadline for nominations which was February 1 -barely 11 days after the U.S. presidential inauguration. A quite short period of time to achieve anything.Conclusions lead to the version of an ideological and politicized motivation.
History tells us only two other sitting presidents have been awarded the Peace Nobel Prize, these are Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, for brokering an agreement between Russia and China, and Woodrow Wilson in 1919, for his role in ending World War I and creating the League of Nations.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.
The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons,” says the announcement posted on the committee’s web site.
Those news also caused a simultaneous guttural reaction from reporters present at the press conference hosted by the Norwegian committee.
However, Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel stated in his will, that the Peace Prize should be awarded «to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.»
In that sense, the prize now seems to be more for promise than performance. Running two wars in the Eastern hemisphere and possessing an unaccomplished task list, from which some mockery was done just last weekend on a U.S. self-identified liberal network, it seems that in peace matters, nothing has been tangibly achieved.
Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal quoted former Polish President Lech Walesa, winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, as surprised.
«Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast, he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet,» the Jourmal’s Website quoted Walesa as saying.
Allan Lichtman, professor of history at American University said to the media that it’s far too early to compare Obama to either of his predecessors.
«[Roosevelt and Wilson] were six or seven years into two-term presidencies, and Obama has not completed a single year of his presidency, so it makes very little sense.»
«It remains to be seen what his foreign policy legacy will be,» he said. «It is premature. This was to encourage rather than to recognize an accomplished fact.»
Analysts say by giving the award to Obama, the committee is trying to discourage him from sending more troops to Afghanistan. Conclusion not too crazy if we take into account the committee its left leaning and it opposes any possible continuity to the prior U.S. administration’s policy. I other words, they’re anti-Bush to the core.
Despite analysts’ recognition of merit or not, the fact is less than nine months in office, Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Previous winners also include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Vice President Al Gore, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Controversial nominees, meanwhile, have included Adolf Hitler, Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.
Obama will go to Oslo in December to accept the honor, which includes a $1.4 million award; amount that has been announced will be donated to an unnamed charity.
The hope is that Obama will eventually create a track record worthy of receiving such prize.
Below some of the world’s headlines after the announcement (please note some direct links have been included):
Financial Times: What Did Obama Do to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?
The Guardian: Should Obama Accept the Nobel Peace Prize
Der Spiegel: Obama’s Nobel Prize Is More of a Burden Than an Honor
Bild: «Wow!» Barack Obama Receives Nobel Peace Prize
Krakow Post: «Too Fast» for Obama Nobel, Says Walesa
The Globe and Mail: Obama’s Premature Prize
Toronto Star: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
National Post: Shiny Prize Went to the Nice Man Who Gave the Best Speech
China Daily: Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize to Mixed Reviews
Al-Jazeera: Doubts Voiced Over Obama Peace Win
Jerusalem Post: Peres, Barak Congratulate Barack Obama
Haaretz: Obama Administration Official: President «Humbled» by Award
The International News: Iranians Call Obama Nobel Award a Mistake
Dawn: Wartime President Wins Nobel Peace Prize
El Universal: Compliments and Doubts from the World After Awarding of Nobel to Obama