FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

From Kissinger to Obama

by DAVID R. ANDERSEN-RODGERS

Set your alarms early Friday morning because it is once again time for the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize. Each year the Norwegian Nobel Committee chooses a person, group of people, or organization that, in their estimation, did the “most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Or at least that is whom Alfred Nobel thought the Prize should be awarded to.

Out of all the Nobel Prizes, the Peace Prize is always the most controversial. Its recipients have been lauded, ridiculed or ignored. As Tom Lehrer quipped “political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” The awarding of the Prize to Barack Obama during the first year of his presidency was met with astonishment in many quarters. However, everyone was talking about it. Do you remember who received the prize the year before? I didn’t think so.

The Nobel Committee recognizes different categories of achievements when determining who should be each year’s recipient. The first, and most common, category of awardees are those people and organizations that clearly fit into the popular understanding of what a peace activist is. Martin Luther King, Doctors Without Borders, Mother Theresa, and Amnesty International all fit into this category.

The second category includes those prizes that award good behavior by those who aren’t typically associated with peace. The awards to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Perez and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 or the Rough Rider U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 fit this mold.

A third category are those prizes that are meant to send a message to an oppressive regime by giving them to a dissident in their country, for example Liu Xiaobo in China, Shirin Ebadi in Iran, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma.

A final category includes those prizes that are meant to promote a norm or ideal that is important to the Nobel Committee. For example, the 2007 Prize to former Vice President Al Gore was meant to bring greater attention to climate change.

So who will receive the Prize this year? Around this time it is common to see pleas advocating for one person or another. However, they almost rarely emerge the victor. Nominations were due last February (there were 259), so people who have only recently become newsworthy are likely not even being considered. It is also unlikely that a U.S. dissident would receive the Prize as the Nobel Committee has, through the years, tried to maintain good relations with the United States.

Many people are predicting that Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year-old Pakistani girl and education activist who was shot in the head by Taliban in October 2012 will be this year’s recipient. If she does receive the Nobel Prize she would be the youngest to do so.

Of course, none of us will know—not even the eventual winner who is only called a few hours before the announcement is made—until Friday morning. We should all make a commitment to learn about this year’s Nobel Laureate and the issues they are fighting for. Doing so will bring greater meaning to their often lonely campaigns for peace.

David R. Andersen-Rodgers, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and writes for PeaceVoice. You can follow him on Twitter @1drandersen1.

More articles by:
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail