October 9, 2009

The Nobel Cheese Prize

Hatched by Dafydd

The Norwegian Nobel Committee insists that the Nobel Peace Prize is not "politicized," even in the wake of today's award to President Barack H. Obama, essentially for having the "potential" to be the most internationalist, anti-American, defeat-and-retreat president in history. The chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, actually admitted the pick this year was intended to bring about a desired political result:

“It’s important for the committee to recognize people who are struggling and idealistic,” Mr. Jagland said in an interview, “but we cannot do that every year. We must from time to time go into the realm of realpolitik.

But liberals and lefties still insist the prize is meaningful, that it's not hopelessly debased and discredited because of its extraordinary embrace of leftism. They especially insist it's not partisan.

All right, so let's investigate the winners' political leanings; to trim the field to something manageable, let's restrict inquiry to American winners who were politicians, or who won the award for primarily political activity (as opposed to, say, Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, winners in 1997): Among all American politicians who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, how many were Republicans and how many Democrats?

At first blush, it appears fairly even: six Republicans and nine Democrats. But what fascinates is the distribution of those wins.

Here is a table of American political recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. To make things easier, I have colored the Republican recipients' rows reddish and the Democrats' bluish:


American political Nobel Peace Prize recipients
Recipient: Red for Republican, blue for Democrat Year
President Theodore Roosevelt 1906
Secretary of State Elihu Root 1912
President Woodrow Wilson 1919
Vice President Charles G. Dawes 1925
Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg 1929
Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Nicholas M. Butler 1931
Secretary of State Cordell Hull 1945
Diplomat Ralph Bunche 1950
Secretary of State, Defense George Marshall 1953
Chemist Linus Pauling (won for campaign against nuclear testing) 1962
Rev. Martin Luther King, jr (won for campaign against Jim Crow laws) 1964
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger 1973
President Jimmy Carter 2002
Vice President Al Gore 2007
President Barack H. Obama 2009


The point that jumps right out is the divide -- the chasm -- between those prizes awarded to American politicos up through 1931 and those from 1945 onward... which is to say, before the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (early prizes) and after World War II ended (late prizes).

There were six early prizes, and all but one went to Republicans. But this perfectly matches the party affiliation of the presidency -- six presidents during that period, only one (Wilson) a Democrat.

The early prizes simply reflect the fact that political Nobel Peace Prizes during this period were typically awarded for administrative initiatives. For example, TR received his for negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese war; while Elihu Root got his for a series of negotiations, arbitrations, and treaties while serving as Roosevelt's Secretary of State. Thus it's no surprise that a recipient's political party would correspond to that of the president who appointed him.

But look at what happened after World War II: Among the nine late prizes, only one went to a Republican, Henry Kissinger -- in stark contrast to the presidencies during the post-war period, six Republicans and six Democrats. And the only Republican to receive the award during that time had to share it with Vietnamese Communist Party mass murderer Le Duc Tho.

More telling, Kissinger won the prize for brokering a "peace treaty" that overthew the spectacular victory in Vietnam, won by Gen. Creighton Abrams after he replaced Gen. William Westmoreland, and substituted an even more stunning and inexplicable defeat, which owed more to Richard Nixon's domestic troubles than any military losses. Thus the lone award to a Republican was for betraying the conservative principle of peace through strength.

Since the end of WWII, conservatives have been utterly shut out of the Peace Prize sweepstakes:

  • Eisenhower did not win for winning the war against totalitarian fascism and Naziism;
  • Ronald Reagan did not win for winning the Cold war and liberating tens of millions from Communist tyranny (neither did Pope John Paul II, but I'm still talking about Americans);
  • George W. Bush did not win it for removing two of the three most violent, sexist, and repressive regimes in the ummah.

But Jimmy Carter (!) won the Prize for relentlessly wandering the globe, preaching appeasement of evil and bullying beleaguered Israel into signing fraudulent "peace accords" with the Palestinians, who never had any intention of honoring them.

And now Barack H. Obama has won it for... well, to be perfectly blunt, for being the first black President of the United States. He certainly had accomplished nothing else when he was nominated for the Prize, less than two weeks after being sworn in as president; and arguably, he hasn't done anything more since then to bring about actual peace anywhere. Militarily, he has continued the (victorious) Bush policy in Iraq -- and now advocates continuing the (failing) Bush strategy in Afghanistan. Some peacemaker!

I believe the point is made: Prior to the Great Depression and the huge boost it gave to the stature of international socialism, the Nobel Peace Prize was a meaningful recognition of attempts to bring about world peace -- even misguided attempts, such as Woodrow Wilson's establishment of the League of Nations (which the United States never even joined, so flawed was the design).

But after global depression and war, the Prize became a political football awarded to whomever seemed to best articulate the leftist view of politics and the advance of world socialism... whether or not his accomplishments had anything to do with fostering peace; indeed, whether or not he had any accomplishments at all. That it has remained, as today's announcement makes clear. It's unlikely that anyone associated with conservative principles will ever again win -- and certainly not for upholding those principles.

The record screams for itself.

Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 9, 2009, at the time of 5:53 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Dick E


I’m afraid my hearty Norwegian stock is turning to thin gruel.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 9, 2009 9:45 PM

The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

While discussing this at work, it hit me like a brick to the side of the head:

He won the peace prize for keeping McCain out of the Presidency.

If there's any legitimacy to be argued, this is the strongest argument they could possibly muster for actual accomplishments.

Not that I agree, of course, I'm just saying it's the best unarticulated argument out there.

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 9, 2009 10:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: Robert Dammers

While I don't dissent from your overall point, wasn't Martin Luther King a registered Republican?

The above hissed in response by: Robert Dammers [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2009 8:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

Dafydd, your points are on target, but what else could you expect from the people who brought you Vidkun Quisling?

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 12, 2009 4:34 AM

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