Friday, October 9, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell
FRIDAY, OCT 9, 2009

As fellow Americans we always take pride in the achievements and awards of our compatriots. While we congratulate President Obama for winning the Nobel Peace Prize today, he should accept the award on behalf of the American people for all our many sacrifices to make the world a better place. Everyone recognizes, however, that the Nobel Committee awarded the prize to President Obama on the basis of hope for the future than achievements of the past. The politicization of this award saddens us when dissident leaders in China, Zimbabwe, Cuba and other dictatorships are passed over despite substantial achievements and not just hope for things to come.

More recently, Former President Jimmy Carter won the award in 2002, and Former Vice President Al Gore won the award in 2007 for his environmental activism. It is clear to everyone that in recent years, the Nobel Prize has taken on a form of a political football that Europeans are able to lob into U.S. domestic politics when they desire to.

President Obama has built high expectations for himself since he began his campaign in 2007. He was going to turn around Afghanistan, the “good war.” He was going to restore America’s leadership role internationally, and deliver global consensus on issues as weighty as a nuclear arms or universal emissions standards. So far, he has been given little time to show results to match this “promise.” While some fellow nations of the world have embraced him, other former allies like Poland, the Czech Republic and others have condemned his policies. While he has spoken of a nuclear free world, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called this vision “na├»ve.” While he has delivered speeches looking to bridge the Muslim and western worlds, he has also failed to recognize that Muslim women and men are fighting against a Taliban intent on oppression, poverty and terrorism.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not the Nobel Intentions Prize. Past winners have risked life, freedom and their families to deliver world change. Former Polish President Lech Walesa who led the Solidarity movement to free Poland from brutal Russian oppression. Or Mother Theresa who was given the award after decades saving children from famine, or Begin and Al-Sadat in 1978 who made a giant leap forward in Middle East security, bridging the gap between Israel and Egypt.

The Nobel Prize committee should have given President Obama the opportunity to meet these weighty expectations rather than diminish past achievements with a public relations award. However, the Nobel organization is a private one. And they have every right to give this award to whomever they choose. The real measure of success for President Obama will be how well he serves the American people, safeguards our sovereignty and keeps the nation secure, free and prosperous.

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