FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nobel Nonsense: Nominating Donald Trump for the Peace Prize

It seems like rich nonsense, but should peace be attained on the Korean peninsula, with arrangements entrenched to ensure durability as opposed to unconvincing window dressing, President Donald Trump might well join the list of frauds and charlatans who have obtained the Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination for the 2019 prize came in a letter from 18 of Trump’s Republican supporters in the House of Representatives to the Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen, which starkly resembled the narrative of fakery the President delights in. Trump, went the signers, should receive the prize “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region.”

The Republicans seem to have things the wrong way around.  Rather than incite instability, Trump supposedly calmed the waters.  Rather than creating teeth-chattering fear amongst allies, he brought accord where there was disagreement.  “Since taking office, President Trump has worked tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons programs and bring peace to the region.” He was the great unifier, bringing on powers such as China “to impose one of the most successful international sanctions regimes in history.” (Never let history get in the way of a good tale.)

All this, despite sketchy details of a as yet unplanned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un to take place at the end of this month or early June.  Agendas are also in their infancy: where to with the actual issue of denuclearisation, and what lasting security guarantees might be put in place.

There have been some howlers in the hall of Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and Trump’s addition to the role would be perversely fitting.  Henry Kissinger retains the mantle of the manifest absurd, despite being the blood spatted Iago of US foreign policy. Under his sagaciously poisonous direction, democracies were withered in favour of murderous regimes.  Countries – Laos and Cambodia – were subjected to illegal bombings.  Murdering high officials was condoned.

Importantly, he was given the Nobel for supposedly concluding the war in Vietnam despite frustrating the Johnson administration’s efforts to do so in 1968.  (Fun if cruel fact: the Vietnam War would only conclude in 1975, two years after Kissinger’s award.)  Along with that dark lord of mendacity and cunning Richard Nixon, Kissinger sabotaged peace talks between North and South Vietnam in an effort to gain an advantage over Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in the elections that year.  (Nixon’s order to his close aide H. R. Haldeman on October 22, 1968 was to “monkey wrench” the efforts of the Democrats.)

Closer in precedent, though not quite stratospherically venal as that of Kissinger was the award given to President Barack Obama in 2009.  Still presidentially virginal, more than a few eyebrows were raised.  “What has he done?” came the obvious question from Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times.  Obama had to agree, though accepted the award.  The Committee had obviously decided to convert the prize into something of a big push to achievement, an act of pure counter-intuition.

In 2015, former secretary of the Nobel committee Geir Lundestad admitted regret. “Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake.  In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”

What stands out in Trump’s meaningless nomination is a suggestion that the players on the ground – the Moon Jae-in administration of South Korea, and the Kim Jong Un regime of the DPRK – are mere marionettes directed by Trump and social media mist.  Tweets matter.  Targeted indignation count.  Never mind that the Koreas have taken the first steps and initiated discussions that have been viewed with suspicion by members of Congress.

Nominations, however, remain that. They do not necessarily yield the fruit of an award. President George W. Bush had been floated as a contender at some point, and Thomas E. Ricks would write with acid reflection in 2015 that he probably deserved one. “The actions of the United States have successfully bolstered the influence of Iran over the region.  Now Iraq and Iran, who in the 1980s fought a long and bitter war, are reconciled!”

A delightful spoof of the inner world of the peace prize committee, veering dangerously close to its naff rationales can be found in the Pan-Arabian Enquirer.  The satirical publication suggestedthat the Nobel Committee would award the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. “These two statesmen have been absolutely instrumental in stopping the Syrian war from escalating into a terrifying global conflict and, for this, they must be congratulated.”

Such is the rationale.  Those who start wars and wage campaigns of terror one day will, at some point, be seen in a different light.  Peace achieved, even over graveyards, can be acknowledged by way of awards.  But in Trump’s case, the resume of extensive violence waged against other states and peoples is still in its infancy. For all that, the Nobel Prize Committee may still have a risible surprise in store, something appropriate for a proclaimed age of Fake News.

 

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail