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Debate: Barack Obama awarded Nobel Peace Prize

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The Nobel Peace Prize is in the right hands of Barack Obama

Background and context

The Nobel Prize committee award Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama for "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."[1]


Accomplishments: Did Barack Obama deserve the Peace Prize based on his accomplishments?


  • Obama's re-engagement on issues of global peace justify Peace Prize. Anthony Cantor. "Obama deserved peace prize." Argus Leader. October 28, 2009: "Just as the Bush administration was a threat to world peace, President Obama's re-engagement with the Middle East peace process, calls for nuclear disarmament and commitment to end illegal torture and close extra-legal prison camps are all measures that advance the cause of peace."
  • No person did more for peace in 2008 than Barack Obama. Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said in Oslo after the announcement: "The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world. And who has done more than Barack Obama?"[2]


  • Barack Obama has not accomplished enough to warrant peace prize. Robert Reich. "Why Obama Should Not Have Received the Peace Prize -- Yet." Huffington Post. October 12, 2009: "I'd rather Obama had won it after Congress agreed to substantial cuts in greenhouse gases comparable to what Europe is proposing, after he brought Palestinians and Israelis together to accept a two-state solution, after he got the United States out of Afghanistan and reduced the nuclear arm's threat between Pakistan and India, or after he was well on the way to eliminating the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons. Any one of these would have been worthy of global praise. Perhaps the Nobel committee can give him half the prize now and withhold the other half until he accomplishes one or more of these crucial missions."
The thing is, although Barack Obama has been working on Israeli-Muslim relations (among many other things), he has not achieved anything special - yet.
  • Obama only campaigned in 2008, year for which he received Peace Prize. According to 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." And, yet, during this year, Barack Obama was only campaigning, was not the President of the United States, and had not yet implemented any concrete steps toward peace.

Future efforts: Will the Peace Prize be helpful in Obama's future efforts?


  • It can help B. Obama in future negotiations. Given the great importance and fame of the Nobel Peace Prize, failed or failing (or "problematic") states (state leaders) can see this act of giving the NPP to Barack Obama as a warranty that the American president is willing to negotiate instead of ignoring/attacking the rough states. It can place in Obama's hands even greater power and thus help him in his future missions.


  • Too much too soon. Given that the Nobel Peace Prize might lower Mr. Obama's popularity as many people feel that it was too much too soon, it won't be helpful in future negotiations, quite on the contrary. Mr. Obama will be less respected and thus have smaller influence on political issues at stake.

Vs other candidates: Was Obama the most deserving candidate among the alternatives?


  • No person did more for peace in 2008 than Barack Obama. Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said in Oslo after the announcement: "The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world. And who has done more than Barack Obama?"[3]


  • There are more deserving candidates than Barack Obama for Peace Prize. Cal Thomas. "Obama Should Have Won Toastmaster Award Not Nobel Prize." October 09, 2009: "Real peace is achieved when enemies of freedom are defeated. Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II have more legitimate claims to the prize than President Obama. Even Bill Clinton, who reaped the benefits of years of work to bring peace to Northern Ireland, as well as his commitment of troops to Bosnia to end sectarian strife, has a better claim to the prize than Obama."

War President? Does it matter that Obama may increase the war effort in Afghanistan?


The fact that Barack Obama is a "war president" only means that he inherited a war started by his predecessor. There is nothing he could influence about it at first, apart from taking a stance against the war - which he did in case of War in Iraq ('s_Iraq_Speech). I think that when we consider efforts for peace, as well as any other political issue, we should consider less what situation did politicians inherit from the previous holder of the same office than what they did with such situation.


  • Peace Prize wrongly given to Obama to influence war policy. Michael Tomasky. "Should Obama have accepted the Nobel prize?" Guardian: "will being a Nobel peace prize winner limit his range of options as America's commander-in-chief in any way? Can a peace prize winner really then go forward and put 20,000 more US soldiers in Afghanistan? Did those sneaky Scandinavian pacifists have this thought up their Scandinavian sleeves?"

Pro/con sources:



See also

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