Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nobel Prize for what?

  • By Butan Amedi
  • 16/10/2009

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on October 9th, 2009, President stated that “throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.”

President Obama may deserve the prize in the future, but the timing of the prize is premature. The process of selecting a nominee for the Peace Prize usually takes a full year. Every year in September, the committee sends out thousands of letters to qualified people to submit their nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. The deadline of submittal is the 1st of February. The committee then prepares a short list of nominees in February and March. The list undergoes further reviews until August. In early October, the Nobel Peace Committee chooses the winner of the prize through a majority vote. President Obama officially assumed office in January 20, 2009. It means President Obama was in office for 12 days before the nomination for the Peace Prize closes.

The commentators who are cheering the prize argue that President Obama won the prize for putting an end to the Bush era. If this prize is awarded to celebrate the end of Bush era, then the American citizens deserve the prize more than President Obama. The American citizens have a long history of practicing democracy, but President Obama’s short record in the office doesn’t warrants the prize. If the Nobel Committee wishes to celebrate the end of Bush era, then it is the American citizens who proudly elected the son of an immigrant with open heart to lead their nation. The prize then should be awarded to the American citizens, or to the remarkable American democracy, which obviously allows minorities to ascend to the most powerful office in the nation. Unfortunately, this prize, by all means, is a naked attack on President Bush who liberated Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is no doubt that most of the world is cheering the end of the Bush era in the United States. Those who criticize Bush policies, and the subsequent US involvement in the world after September 11 terrorism, forget the true faces of Saddam Hussein and the Mullah Omar. Although the post-war management in Iraq and in Afghanistan impeded progress, both of the former regimes had to be removed. The United Nations (UN) may never agree, but Saddam Hussein was regional threat, who was uncooperative with the international community, and Mullah Omar had kicked back Afghanistan into dark ages, turned his people into slaves and harbored terrorists. It is certainly thanks to Bush that both of these backward regimes no longer exist, and the world without these regimes is more peaceful.

In announcing its decision to nominate President Obama, the Committee emphasized his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” and the Committee admires President “Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

The reality is that international diplomacy has not resulted into the disarmament of Iran. The Obama Administration is dealing with a regime, which fails to understand the language of negotiations and continues to deceive the international community. Prolonged negotiations with Iran only give the theocratic regime time to further their nuclear capabilities. It was only three weeks ago when the Western intelligence blew away secrecy over the hidden nuclear facility in Qom. A nuclear Iran is a naked threat to the region and to the world, and negotiations will make the disarmament of Iran less likely.

The Nobel Committee certainly honored the United States by awarding the Peace Prize to its president. Unfortunately, the intentions surrounding the prize are blurry. The Bush Administration contributed to long-term peace by removing Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar, and time will tell if diplomacy will prevail with Iran.

Butan Amedi is a weekly columnist on the Kurdish Rojname -