Premature Praise?

Just the Peace is missing!Like every other country has its stereotypes about its neighbor country, so does Sweden has a particular one about Norway.  They consider Norwegians a little bit stupid. So when the Norwegian committee announced that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Swedes found their opinion to be proved. Why shall a man who didn’t achieve peace yet, win such a prize? What reason was there, to select the US president for such an honor? Didn’t they have anybody else?

According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who: ‘during the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

When I interviewed Karl-Erik Norrman* he said: “At first glance, Barak Obama just had good intentions and is ambitious to transfer them into action. But if you look at the things he has done so far, like pulling back the missiles form the polish border, supporting a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians, preparing Guantanamo to be closed, then you realize, that he has already tried and achieved more, than anybody else. Also if you look back to his predecessor, who was mostly disliked, this change from Bush to him and the hope he brought, is comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall.” 

So it’s true he possibly deserves this honor, because he ‘has done the most (…) for the  holding and promotion of peace congresses.’

But isn’t it sad that nobody else has done more to make this world a better place?  Or is it just Barak Obama’s popularity that brought him into the centre of attention and pushed any other candidate way behind?

So are the Swedes right or are the Norwegian just a step ahead and already realized, what wasn’t visible for the rest of the world?

 *Karl-Erik Norman worked as ambassador for the Swedish government. Since he retired from his job, he works as author and founded the European Culture Parliament among other things.

8 responses to “Premature Praise?

  1. This is an outstanding article, thank you for your insight.

  2. I think this is definitely a very controversial issue. I agree, that he showed great effort and made some changes, but is that already enough to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize? Anyway, i hope he will live up to the expectations, which come along with this prize.

  3. The discussion whether Obama deserves the peace prize or not is a very interesting one, and you definitely point out the most important question in this matter!

  4. Okay. Maybe Obama didn’t actually do much concrete work that warrants winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It might make sense for him to win it towards the end of his presidency, if all the work he’s doing starts to pan out.

    On the other hand, he changed the climate and mood of many, many people in the world by running on a campaign of change and hope. Really, he should get the prize for two simple reasons. 1) He’s not George W. Bush. 2) He is American and Americans are the awesomest people on the planet.

    As for your statement about Norwegians and Swedonians, I think both groups are a little stupid, but only because they weren’t born in America, and anyone who doesn’t choose to be born in the greatest country on the planet is a little slow. USA!! USA!! USA!!

  5. GOD! so well structured, reflected and researched, I am so proud of you!

  6. @ Mr. Softee
    First: Don’t call a country, who’s countrymen you do not even know the correct word for – it’s SWEDES not SWEDONIANS – stupid. This really just makes your argument fall flat.
    Second: I agree with you that Obama deserves the prize for simply bringing hope to so many people and changing the climate in many other countries than just America. The USA is after all probably the most powerful country in the world right now, and Obama has shown the right attitude for an elephant to have towards smaller elephants and ants.

    Thats all. Norwegians can’t be stupid if you stick to your own argument that America is the best – they gave the peace prize to an american.


  7. Rebecca Parlakian

    Rest assured, Americans are also scratching their heads over the Obama pick. Even OBAMA seems to be amazed he was selected. I think at some level, he won the award simply for NOT BEING BUSH. Which, really when you think about, does a whole heck of a lot for world peace.

  8. @Jenny
    This is a complex and provocative subject requiring digging a bit beyond the obvious. …but, first lets answer the stated question: “Didn’t they have anybody else?” This was answerred by my well connected Norwegian friend, who showed me the list of the 3 runner-ups. These were:

    1.) Dick Chaney (USA) — for finally not having the power to make war;
    2.) M… Ahmedinejod (Iran) — for making many of his own people rest-in-peace;
    3.) Vladimir Putin (Russia) — close, but Georgia interfered.

    Seriously, were there any real peace makers or real candidates for the peace prize in 2008? If you know of any, list them and forget about hope and climate change — leave those to a future “hope” prize (I hope) and a “climatic” prize — we are talking here strictly about a peace prize, the peace prize!
    In 2008 the traditional peace-makers took a backseat to those who tried to save the world economy from total collapse. This would have been the type of mega-collapse, which, often leads to major wars. So, if Mr. Obama was instrumental in saving the world economy (which I believe he was), he may have also been instrumental in preventing international chaos and very likely wars. Perhaps those “stupid” Norwegians are not so short-sighted or narrow-minded! Maybe, just maybe, they also looked at the precursors of wars, as they should. (… and wouldn’t you if your runner-up list was made up of the above-listed “esteemed” characters?)

    (Hey, Mr. Softee, Jenny straightened you out about Swedonia, eh? Go Jenny!! Besides, Mr. Softee, the greatest country is Canadia, Canadia, CANADIA!!)

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