Ed Driscoll

Peace, They Say: an Interview with Jay Nordlinger

“You are familiar with the slogan, ‘War is not the answer,'” Jay Nordlinger writes in his new book, Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World:

But it is the answer to some questions, of course — as when it put paid to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Emerson said, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” A fine sentiment, but unfortunately not true — or not strictly true. Again, the Second World War is instructive. And you might say that understanding can lead a person, or a nation, to see that violence is the only way to put down a threat, and thereby keep or attain peace.

* * * *

It was widely thought that Mrs. Reagan wanted her husband to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in the worst way. And this had some Cold Warriors alarmed — worried that the president would make harmful concessions, in order to curry favor with “world opinion.” Indeed, “trying for the Nobel Peace Prize” became an expression of scorn and concern in hawkish circles. For some, a “Nobel” kind of peace meant, and still means, a paper or superficial peace, not a real one. As he commenced his diplomacy in the Arab–Israeli conflict, Tony Blair said to George W. Bush, “If I win the Nobel Peace Prize, you will know I have failed.” That is maybe the most stinging criticism of the Norwegian committee ever made.

Nordlinger discusses the history of the Nobel Prize and some of its more ignominious recent winners, such as Yasser Arafat, Al Gore, and, seemingly five minutes after taking office, Barack Obama, in this wide-ranging 13-minute interview. He also discusses the current culture war being raged by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner in his bid for re-election.

Click below to listen to the podcast:


(13 minutes long; 12.5 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this week’s show to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 4 MB lo-fi edition.)

Since in the past, a few people have complained of difficulties with the Flash player above and/or downloading the audio, use the video player below, or click here to be taken to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip.  Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.