I first learned that President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize from a congratulatory IAEA press release e-mail. “That’s funny,” I thought. “Looks like the Onion hacked the IAEA’s server.”
But lo and behold, a quick google search revealed that this was not a spoof. WTF?!?
This is a horrible, horrible decision on the part of the Nobel committee, one that will likely do more political harm to Obama than good by providing fodder to the narrative that the hopes being placed in him far outstrip his record of accomplishments. What’s more, it’s a terrible insult to many of the others on the list of candidates, some of whom have spent many years, if not their entire professional lives, working toward resolving conflict and promoting peace.
I would be very pleased if by the time he leaves office, or even some years afterwards, Obama earns such an honor. And I would be pleasantly surprised if winning it now helps him achieve some of the goals that would make that possible. For now, though, it is quite simply premature, and dilutes the significance of the award itself.
Update: Turn it down? Not sure. How about inviting some folks who deserve it to accompany him onstage?