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October 09, 2009

"For What He Has Done in the Previous Year"
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

The history of the Nobel is filled with mid-stream attempts to encourage and reward initiatives -- many of which didn't pan out, frankly.  Sadat-Begin was very much a work in progress at the time.  Woodrow Wilson got his in office, before it was clear that the US would never join the League of Nations.  There was some commentary about Tutu's prize at the time for the same reason.  Willy Brandt's came while people felt very uncertain what the ultimate fate of his efforts would be.

As a French journalist said to a friend this morning:  "they're betting on hope."

Remember:  you can't get a Nobel after you're dead and it's clear what your achievements are. The Committee clearly sees the prize as a tool to encourage approaches to the world that it thinks will promote piece.  The Chairman said:

We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.

Other committee members weighed inexplicitly as well:

 Agot Valle, a Norwegian politician and member of the five-person Nobel committee that chose this year’s winner, said the choice of President Barack Obama was primarily related his stance on nuclear disarmament.

“There is a criticism about the war in Afghanistan, and I understand that,” said Valle in a telephone interview. “But this was primarily an award on his work on and commitment to nuclear disarmament – and his dialogue. Of course there will be criticism, because he hasn’t achieved his goals yet. It will take time, but this is a support.

Earlier, at the Nobel press conference, committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland defended the choice of Obama.
“If you look at the history of the Nobel Peace prize, we have, on many occasions, tried to enhance what many personalities are trying to do,” he said. “For instance, when Willy Brandt got the prize back in the 1970s. He launched Ostpolitik in Europe, which was so important to what happened in Europe many years later. For instance, giving the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev, who changed the world completely. And now to President Obama, who is contributing to improve the international climate.”


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"For What He Has Done in the Previous Year":

think many Americans conveniently forget that we are still THE Super Power Nation when it's convenient for them. The world has a vested interest in our not having our head up our ass. When the Nobel was announced I checked the Doomsday clock. The Doomsday Clock has been maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - it uses the analogy of the human species being at a time that is "minutes to midnight", wherein midnight represents "catastrophic destruction". Originally, the analogy represented the threat of global nuclear war, it now also takes other factors into consideration.

Here's the most recent Doomsday Clock positions:


think many Americans conveniently forget that we are still THE Super Power Nation when it's convenient for them.

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