Why would anyone care about race at all if one were a genuine human being who values everybody for who and what they are? I couldn’t care less if US President Barack Obama was black, white or Eskimo. But what riles me is that the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, in its infinite wisdom, conferred — or bestowed — upon Obama the glittering Nobel Peace Prize. It’s a rash decision by the Committee yet and, to be sure, politically motivated.
Conferred, bestowed, whatever: all are poor word choices. Equally, the idea that the Nobel Prize Committee possesses infinite wisdom. How else would one rationalise its rash decision? It heightens, if nothing else, the Committee’s decision-making process and style.
Having made a total mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Committee may as well have given the prize to George W Bush who, for eight years, had led some of the paltriest, most ghastly neoconservative, right wing warmongers. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, William Kristol and company were all empire-builders.
So great democracies were the Bush and British Tony Blair regimes that they saw no moral problems in secretly conducting ‘rendition’ — torture — of suspected Islamic terrorists through their allies in Egypt and Pakistan.
Iraq and Afghanistan from the Bush regime. Yet, it’s a war that he has more or less supported when he was senator. He also has inherited the ‘spy games’ war against terrorists wherever they are thought to be operating whilst also stating that rendition by US intelligence agencies is over. But the fact that he has continued to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and especially in the wake of even more damning evidence that the US will be thrashed in these countries the way they were thrashed in Vietnam, ought to question the extent to which Obama is, in fact, a man of peace.
Everybody understands why someone like Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader jailed by the Burmese military junta, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. That was two years into her detention by the antidemocratic regime. Suu Kyi is still being held in detention today for her struggle for democracy and human rights, all of which are routinely abused by the junta.
Obama is no more Aung San Suu Kyi than he is Mother Teresa. The Committee says it had awarded the prize to Obama for his ‘extraordinary’ efforts in international diplomacy and hastening nuclear disarmament. Extraordinary? Really? What has Obama done in his nine months in office as US president that the Committee felt compelled to crow about his peace achievements?
Remember the old 197o song War – What is it Good For? by Edwin Starr? It was an anti-Vietnam War hit that rallied strong anti-war protestors in America (and around the world) in numbers that made every successive US administration — from Nixon to Johnson to Ford — shudder in its jocks. War: What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Obama should have been given a prize for his oratory skills. If there were a prize for the best rhetoric, he’d win that too. Hands down. But what efforts has he made since becoming president of the most powerful country on earth to bring an end to the wars in the Middle East and northwest Asia? What has he done to bring a political settlement closer to reality in the war between Palestine and Israel?
And what of his standoff against Iran and its regime’s secretive nuclear armaments development policy? It’s not exactly a policy credo that would win him the confidence of the Iranian regime and their president, Mohammad Ahmadinejad. And why did he order his UN ambassador in the Security Council mid-October to use its veto to condemn Israel’s war atrocities against Palestinians.
Irving Kristol, the founder of US neoconservatism, labeled the Republican Party rightwing movement as having being ‘mugged by reality’. I wonder how long before we start seeing the same traits of Obama. But here’s Obama, now, who says he wants peace with Iran and drops George W Bush’s plans to erect an anti-missile defense shield system in Poland, on Russia’s doorstep.
He remains a man of peace but still wages war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Better still, he wants to boost US troop numbers by as many as 40,00o. And he’ll compel NATO states and America’s allies, such as Australia, to also increase their troops and weapons, not find ways to peace through political solutions but to inflate the wars.
For this, Obama gets the Nobel Committee’s peace gong? How can Obama be a man of peace and justice and democracy on the one hand and wage war and death and destruction and misery on the other? What’s more, Obama was nominated just seven days into his presidency.
Yes, go figure. And go figure why the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, for all its infinite wisdom, even accepted, let alone entertained, the nomination of a man a week after he was sworn into office and was still picking over his cabinet and other appointments?