Former UN Ambassador John Bolton talks about the trend of the Nobel committee in recent years to cheerlead political philosophies, especially to American voters, and gets to the heart of why many of us found it both risible and offensive. Risible in the sense that Obama had been President for 12 days when he got nominated and hasn’t accomplished anything on the world stage since — no new treaties, no peace brokering, and certainly no change in the Bush “war priorities” that they explicitly criticized in their 2002 award to Jimmy Carter. Offensive in the sense that it smacks of lecturing America on our foreign policy rather than focusing on real efforts for peace, a number of which the Nobel committee overlooked, although by this point it’s so unsurprising as to be only barely offensive:
Liberal writer Steve Kornacki actually expressed the problem better in telling Norway that it didn’t do anything to help Obama with this transparent attempt at manipulation:
But, see, the thing is, this Nobel stuff doesn’t help Obama at all. And actually, it makes things a lot worse for him here in America.
The problem is that the caricature Obama’s opponents on the right have been pushing for more than a year—that he’s a rhetorically gifted charmer who inspires worshipful adoration from college kids and the French but who doesn’t actually know how to accomplish things—is starting to bleed over into the mainstream. …
When Americans elect a new leader, they don’t want end zone celebrations until they see some touchdowns. And when they look at Obama’s record right now, they don’t even see a field goal. (Hopefully these American football references aren’t confusing you!)
So when they see that Obama is going to receive the Nobel Peace Prize even though he may soon send tens of thousands of fresh troops to a war that’s probably unwinnable, well, it makes it a lot easier for them to buy into what the right’s been saying—that gullible Americans and socialist Europeans have been seduced by a fantasy.
The early reaction to your Nobel decision here in America is revealing: Even Obama’s own supporters don’t feel too good about this. One of them, a rather liberal friend of ours, just wrote on her Facebook page: “I now have every hope of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m a great speech writer and I’m full of good intentions.”
This is exactly what the right has been trying to get Americans to say and think for a year. You mean well, Norway, we know. But in one fell swoop, you’ve just advanced their cause immeasurably.
Which brings me to a question I’ve been considering ever since I heard the news this morning. Clearly, the Nobel committee wanted to push Obama away from military engagements. But does this do the opposite? With the Nobel in his pocket, can he now argue for increased military resources in Afghanistan with a significant increase in political cover against the left wing of his party, which has greatly resisted it? Take the poll below: