What's happening here?

Commentary: Obama's prize doesn't 'feel right'


Maybe I'm just old-fashioned or just plain old, but when I awoke this morning to news that Barack Obama had been selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, something didn't feel right.

Having worked for six secretaries of state and four presidents and watched them struggle with a cruel and unforgiving world, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, it occurred to me that today's announcement was seriously out of whack.

A young president, barely in the 10th month of his first year in office, is receiving an internationally sanctioned peace prize when the vast majority of his predecessors, some of whom actually achieved extraordinary success in foreign policy (Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush), did not.

Teddy Roosevelt, who was the first American president to receive a Nobel in 1906, actually brokered a Russo-Japanese treaty; Woodrow Wilson, whose search for a League of Nations got him the prize in 1919, probably accelerated his later stroke and death in a heroic effort to realize his dream. Even Jimmy Carter, who eventually got his prize in 2002, didn't get it when it was warranted in 1979 for brokering an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

What was happening here? Was this the Nobel committee's down payment, in an effort to encourage the president to actually achieve something in foreign policy?

Was it a not-so-subtle slap-down of the Bush administration's war presidency in favor of the Obama administration's "we can fix things and be loved by the world" strategy? Or was I just missing something? Had the president's accomplishments merited the award?

Comment: Just tells me the peace prize is meaningless!

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