Ex-Nobel secretary, Geir Lundestad, admits that awarding the committee’s esteemed Peace Prize to Barack Obama in 2009 was a mistake.
A press release at the time announced that Obama had earned the award based on “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” though he had only been in the White House mere weeks when he was nominated. The committee awarded the prize to Obama based entirely on his media popularity, not based on anything he actually did.
Lundestad, aside from admitting that the stunt had proven a failure, revealed the reason behind it wasn’t exactly in keeping with the credibility of the panel or the award, once a symbol of excellence.
The former secretary told the Associated Press that “the committee hoped the award would strengthen Mr. Obama.”
Understanding nearly a decade later that strengthening an American president wasn’t exactly in the committee’s job description, Lundestad voiced some regret.
BBC News – Nobel secretary regrets Obama peace prize https://t.co/JnmE4r9WBL
— Kimberly Guilfoyle (@kimguilfoyle) January 3, 2019
“No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama,” Lundestad writes in his memoir.
“Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,” he adds. “In that sense, the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”
Obama expanded and continued war and tensions across the globe
While it’s good to hear Lundestad admit the Obama Peace Prize was a mistake, it isn’t simply because the committee wasn’t able to strengthen his presidency that made it so.
The real reason is that they awarded a prize for peace to a man who had no diplomatic achievements, would allow terrorism to flourish throughout the Middle East, and who would become the longest wartime president in history, expanding war into several countries like Libya and Syria.
The committee at the time wrote, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”
That ‘better future’ didn’t quite pan out. A report in November of 2015 indicated that terrorism-related deaths had more than quadrupled since Obama took office, actually peaking in 2014.
America, Rolling Stone reported, had been at war under Obama “longer than under George W. Bush — or any other U.S. president, for that matter,” and that over 2,500 Americans had died in Afghanistan and Iraq by May of 2016.
Peace wasn’t exactly Obama’s strength.
The failed former president is no longer pictured in the section titled “Featured laureates” on the Nobel website, reserved for such individuals as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa.