Does Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

Story here.

The decision is being hailed by world leaders this morning, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Desmond Tutu.

Stateside, though, reactions are a bit mixed. The headline on the Drudge Report this morning: “For What?”

Part of the reason for the skepticism is that Obama had been president all of 12 days when the nomination process had come to a close.


Update: This topic is also Today’s Question

Update: Here’s the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s brief narrative of how Nobel Laureates are selected. The final decision sometimes takes until early October.

  • fearless bear

    a more worthy recipient would have been santa claus.

  • jane

    He deserves it. Forgive the baseball reference, but The Coach sets the tone for The Team.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I guess we will see in the years to come.

    Let’s look at the other Presidental winners:

    TR:He helped broker peace between Japan and Russia, but was a controversal pick.

    WW: His League of Nations idea never became reality, but he was one of the leading voices for global diplomacy in his age.

    JC: Camp David — hard to argue that he didn’t earn it, although some still do.

    BO: He changed the attitude of the world toward the USA just by being elected. Now he needs to make a solid record in diplomacy. Time will tell.

  • matt

    I am sure that it is because he ended the two wars we are in…eh?…whats that?…still going strong in both?…expanding one of them?…okay, it must be for closing Gitmo…oh, not quite done with that yet…what do you mean he has not even started yet?…okay it is because he is backing away from Bush’s bellicose nature…oh, I see he is sabre rattling with Iran again. Why not give him the Nobel prize for medicine and economics as well?

  • Mary

    Yes, I’m afraid that I agree with those who are not sure that he deserves it. God love President Obama, but I’m accustomed to hearing about people being awarded this prestigious honor for having completed something substantial related to the name of the award, not just for having the potential to do so. FOX News will have a field day with this.

  • Bismuth

    Not yet. Not saying he won’t eventually, but my mind boggles that they’d give the prize to someone with the majority of his legacy still to be decided. In contrast, the Nobel Physics prize was awarded for work conducted when Obama was 8 years old.

    Would you have given an international award to GWB 1 month after 9/11 (setting aside any discussion of whether he deserved an award)? There’s still way too much that can happen during Obama’s tenure in the international spotlight that might make the Nobel Committee regret its choice.

  • Nick

    I don’t get it either. I support Obama, but I’d like to see him get a few things done before we start handing out awards.

  • Tyler

    I think Obama had a chance to be a great man and refuse the Prize, based on what Mary said – he hasn’t *competed* anything, and should say so. Works-in-progress shouldn’t count.

    Personally, I think this says more about the Nobel committee than it does about what Pres. Obama has or hasn’t accomplished. I thought that the Nobel Prize was awarded for a lifetime of work culminating in a change that affects a significant amount of humanity; I also thought that the Nobel Prize recognized a lifetime of sacrifice and low expectations. Every interview I’ve heard with a Nobel winner went something like “I was completely surprised that I won – I didn’t do the work to win the award. I did it to do the work.”

    However, if, as the Committee says, this is to *encourage* Pres. Obama to do peaceful work…it may have the effect they’re looking for. Time will tell.

  • Al

    It seems to be a bit early for this. He certainly has the potential to make real progress toward world peace, I’m just not sure he’s done it yet. I wonder if the Nobel selection committee isn’t trying to sway his decisions on Afghanistan? I would think this honor might be quite a burden to shoulder for a sitting US president so early in the term. Perhaps that was the point.

  • Bill Kahn

    Of course he doesn’t deserve it. No one deserves it. We all stand on the accomplishments of those who came before us, and some of us have the opportunity to put them into wise use. President Obama has the dubious privilege of leading our nation in the twilight of its global hegemony and he has struck a chord with all but those who think it can go on forever. They could have done much worse.

  • Paul Johnsen

    It seems that his stature was elevated in the prize committee’s eyes largely on the improvement he represents relative to his predecessor.

  • jfh

    For our American values, this award says much more about the giver and less about the recipient.

    BO is undeserving of this, period. It will probably be the final straw for making his narcissim fully pathological.

  • BJ

    Nobel Peace Prize has lost all it’s value, to me.

    Controversal pick’s have happened before, but I think everyone, except the Nobel committee, thinks this has not been earned by the president, yet.

  • David Brueske

    Don’t be afraid to be proud of our president.

    Obama’s selflessness is more than admirable. It’s not about him, it’s about the change of direction and new way of thinking he represents.

    He has brought back dignity to the presidency and is a role model to individuals throughout the world. He has even made the world safer for Americans because the nations of the world are again looking to the U.S. for leadership.

    The award will place even more pressure on him to promote peace and compassion in the world – and he needs all the support he can get. From everyone.

  • Xtine

    I’m leaning toward the “premature” side. Though I’d like to congratulate him and hopes he answers the “where’s the beef?” question honorably, I’m worried/ wondering if this will do more to unite the right than help his agenda.

  • Chuck Waibel

    I hear that it was given largely for attitude. Here in the States we have little understanding of how much Bush scared the crap out of the world. On the contrary, Obama looks like a reasonable man with whom they can work. That means a huge amount. We can’t hold wars that he inherited from the Scary Guy against him.

    Also, I expect that Fundies will now declare him the Antichrist.

  • Xtine

    Chuck – I’m afraid the Fundies labeled him as the Antichrist over a year ago. This will only boost their theory. (I do Not condone this antichrist theory – or the opposing messiah theory.)

  • Lee Ann

    Sometimes the simple gesture….such as an outstretched hand. Goes a long way. I think that our President has done that these first few months in office. I think that the way he presents himself and our country, and the way he speaks gets noticed. I think that diplomacy is high on his list of things to work on while he is in office. It would be nice if more people in Government around the world had his outlook and temperament… if they did the world would be more peaceful!! Something to work towards…Hope for.

    Congratulations Mr. President!!

  • Ginger

    I think Obama deserves the Peace Prize not for his presidency, but for his campaign.

    The US could have blown up into riot and civil war but did not. Hate mongering was a constant campaign feature which Obama had to face. His ability and dedication to calming the US factions was absolute.

    He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for cooling the hot emotions caused by actions of the previous administration. He has spoken to all the people of all nations in which the populace is at odds with their leaders to show them that change can come through peace.

  • Patrick Oden

    Like others, I support the President, but I fail to see how he can possibly have earned such a distinctive honor as the Peace Prize already.

    Obviously, you don’t have to be a World Leader to earn the prize, but then for what reason did he win it? Because he won the presidency? Because he ran?

    I am as familiar with Mr. Obama’s pre-presidency accomplishments as any educated person, and I don’t see anything there to deserve the award. That leads me to believe that the fact that he won the presidency based, in part, on the idea that he would try to improve foreign relations was the only factor that could be considered at the time of his nomination.

    I think he has made good attempts at living up to his rhetoric, but this year’s prize perhaps should have gone to someone whose prospects upon nomination were a lot less speculative.

  • Emie

    Has anyone ever declined to accept a Nobel prize? Just on the basis that I do not yet deserve it?

  • David Wilford

    I think Obama was awarded the Peace Prize not for doing one big thing but for his commitment to, as the Nobel committee put it, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Sometimes I think we get so focused on awards having to be for hugely significant things that we forget that the little things matter too.

  • Nate

    Consider this a handshake congratulations to President Obama. The Nobel Peace Prize is nothing short of a tremendous honor.

    With that said, I agree with the people questioning the reason. Yes, he’s changed the way our ‘president’ is viewed. Going from Bush to Obama is perhaps the most drastic scenario possible. But he hasn’t seen any of his plans come to fruition….yet

    So far, and this is coming from the award presenter himself, Obama’s presidential campaign “Hope and Change” has taken him to Infinity and Beyond. The man presenting the award said Obama was given the award because he represents hope and change…. notice he doesn’t cite something accomplished or finished or tangibly beneficial.

    At this moment in time, no, Obama does not deserve this prestigious award.

    Somewhere down the road?

    Sure. I absolutely think he will accomplish things and be the most deserving candidate. But now? I’m sorry. He falls ever so short.

    But good hustle and I’m happy for the person he is.

    Just imagine that phone call.

    “I won what?……”

  • Chewonit

    Who’s next in line for the “No-bell Piece” Prize? President Hu JingTao of China? This must be a joke!

  • ronski

    Heard the news and watched Shaking Hands With The Devil again. Now in my eyes Romeo Dallaire deserves this as he tried as best as he could to stop the genocide in Rawanda even as the world completely turned their back on him. He was successful in saving thousands of lives as millions were slaughtered. He is someone I feel is worthy of such a Nobel Prize.

  • Michael

    If the Nobel Peace Prize is going to be handed out for good intentions instead of actual accomplishments, it loses a great deal of its prestige.

  • Dan Simon

    Those who say he hasn’t accomplished anything tangible don’t get how subtle peace is. There’s no question that our government is more loved and less hated because of Obama. We need to get in the habit of seeing peace. It looks like the opposite of “shock and awe.”

  • Michele

    Despite all the bombast the Nobel Peace Prize will continue to be an esteemed award.

    It’s funny to hear all the outrage and comments that seem to indicate the Norwegians don’t know what they’re doing. First it is their award to give to who they deem worthy, regardless of what a bunch of small minded hayseeds think about their decision. Second I think they gave the award to Obama knowing full well, and not caring, about the controversy (and outrage) it would cause amongst the hayseed set.

    The fact that people in the US will need to come to understand is that our time as world leader is dependent on our ability to consider the needs and concerns of the rest of the world. If we pursue the unilateral policies of the Bush/Cheney era we will most certainly lose all rights, actual and moral, to be world leaders; and most importantly we will lose the privileges that go along with that position.