The Nobel Peace Prize is a joke. Let’s start off by acknowledging that. If the award ever meant something once, it has since become a joke by having been awarded to several controversial, politicized, and undeserving people over the years.
One of the best recent examples of an undeserved award went to Barack Obama in 2009; he won the prize simply for not being George W. Bush. His award was purely symbolic, as he was nominated at a point where he had no foreign policy achievements. None. Nada. The only good thing about the award was that it preceded a series of foreign policy failures. Obama’s policies on Iraq and Afghanistan snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and perpetuated those wars. His intervention in Libya completely destabilized the country and the region. And his apathy towards the threat of Islamic terror allowed it to grow virtually unchecked on his watch. He dropped the ball by failing to recognize the rise of ISIS. His inaction with Syria, his support of the Arab Spring, and his foolhardy nuclear deal with Iran have made the world a much more dangerous place than it was when he first took office.
Obama was lucky that the committee gave him a symbolic award so early in presidency. His actual record on peace was so terrible that Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, expressed regret over awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama in his memoir Secretary of Peace. “No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama,” he wrote. “Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake.” In an interview with the Associated Press, Lundestad said the committee believed the award “would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect.”
Truthfully, the Nobel Peace Prize had its fair share of embarrassing awards before Obama. Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Yasser Arafat are all Nobel Peace Prize laureates, too. Last year, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif were frontrunners to share the prize for their roles in securing the Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal that has been repeatedly violated by Iran.
How can the Norwegian Nobel Committee redeem itself after such embarrassing selections and nominees?
It could start by awarding the prize to President Trump.
Less than a year and a half into his presidency, Trump has done more to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize than his predecessor. Thanks to Trump, the war against ISIS has gone from suffering repeated setbacks to repeated victories. While many speculated that Trump’s efforts to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea and his rhetoric towards Kim Jong Un would lead to disaster, instead they resulted in the historic denuclearization agreement between North and South Korea.
Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, has even said Trump deserves the award for bringing the two warring countries to the table. “President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Moon said. “What we need is only peace.”
The denuclearization agreement is only the first step, and there’s plenty of reasons to be skeptical of North Korea. But even at this early stage, Trump has proven himself to be a much better peacemaker than Obama could ever claim to be.
There’s momentum behind the idea that Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. Eighteen GOP lawmakers officially nominated him this week. In their nomination letter to the Nobel Committee, they wrote:
Since taking office, President Trump has worked tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons programs and bring peace to the region. His Administration successfully united the international community, including China, to impose one of the most successful international sanctions regimes in history. The sanctions decimated the North Korean economy and have been largely credited for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.
Will the Nobel Committee give Trump serious consideration? I’m guessing it will not.
As I mentioned before, the Nobel Peace Prize already had a history of poorly chosen laureates; redeeming itself clearly isn’t something it cared to do before. And imagine his opposition’s outrage. Imagine how the same people who claimed Trump was on the verge of starting World War III would respond if Trump’s foreign policy achievements were vindicated by the Nobel Peace Prize. Nope. Not gonna happen.
A panel of liberal journalists on ABC’s Q&A largely dismissed the idea. The Guardian’s Masha Gessen called the idea “idiotic,” telling the panel: “Come on, he has tweeted insults and now we’re supposed to think that has made an actual policy difference in the world?” Lowy Institute senior fellow Richard McGregor dismissed Trump’s role: “How much is Trump responsible for that? Maybe a little bit, it’s very hard to tell.” Left-wing actor and activist George Takei (who is also an accused rapist) also dismissed the nomination of Trump:
18 GOP Congressmembers have nominated Trump to receive the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. In related trolling, 18 Deatheaters in Azkaban have posthumously nominated Voldemort to the Wizarding World Hall of Fame.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 2, 2018
If Trump were to win the prize, liberal heads would surely explode. And, while there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of North Korea at this stage, we’ve seen plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Three U.S. political prisoners in a North Korean labor camp are now going to be released very soon. This is something the Obama administration failed to achieve. And Trump did it without ransom payments or five-for-one prisoner swaps.
Even if Trump wins it, it won’t make up for the Nobel Committee’s history of bad choices. But perhaps it would show the world that actual accomplishments towards peace mean more than politics. And it would, at the very least, make up for the absurd nomination and awarding of the prize to Obama.