On Friday, the Nobel Committee announced the winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, and it wasn’t President Donald Trump. Instead, the Nobel Peace Prize honored the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), which was created in 1961 and which provides food to over 90 million people annually. Rather than acknowledging ground-breaking peace deals, the Nobel Committee focused on a longstanding U.N. program. Trump has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, and it remains unclear if he was also nominated for the 2020 award.
The Nobel Prize awarded WFP “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunter as a weapon of war and conflict.”
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 9, 2020
WFP’s efforts to combat hunger are extremely important and deserve recognition, but it seems odd for the Nobel Peace Prize to celebrate a longstanding program rather than historic strides toward peace in the Middle East.
Last month, Trump announced the previously unthinkable: two Arab Muslim states — Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — normalized relations with the Jewish State of Israel in the Abraham Accords. Shortly before that, two Balkan countries put aside their historic enmity and normalized relations — and promised to open embassies in Jerusalem, recognizing the City of David as the capital of Israel. Each of these separate deals would be enough to get Trump in the history books, and the president received three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in the wake of these tremendous accomplishments.
Norwegian Parliamentarian Christian Tybring-Gjedde nominated Trump for the UAE peace deal, Swedish Parliamentarian Magnus Jacobsson nominated Trump for the Serbia-Kosovo deal, and four Australian law professors nominated Trump for the “Trump Doctrine,” a new approach to foreign policy that achieved historic peace results in the Middle East. Each of these nominations involves the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced next October. A whopping 211 individuals were nominated for the 2020 prize, and Trump may have been among them. The list remains unknown.
“What he has done with the Trump Doctrine is that he has decided he would no longer have America in endless wars, wars which achieve nothing but the killing of thousands of young Americans,” argued David Flint, one of the law professors. “So he’s reducing America’s tendency to get involved in any and every war.”
“The states are lining up, Arab and Middle-Eastern, to join that network of peace which will dominate the Middle-East,” Flint added. “He is really producing peace in the world in a way in which none of his predecessors did, and he fully deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Former President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen diplomacy and cooperation between people.” It seems Trump deserves one for his “extraordinary results” in the same area.
While President Barack Obama campaigned on peace and withdrawing from Iraq, he also sent U.S. troops into Syria. His withdrawal tragically enabled the growth of the Islamic State (ISIS).
President Trump also promised an end to America’s endless wars, and his approach has proven more successful. Trump invested heavily in the U.S. military, aiming to achieve peace through strength. He is scaling back U.S. troops in foreign lands. Trump has encouraged hydraulic fracturing and other energy developments that made America no longer reliant on Middle-Eastern oil.
For decades, countries like the UAE and Bahrain refused to recognize the Jewish state, standing in solidarity with the Palestinians and likely terrified of nearby Iran and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which had a massive presence in the Middle East before Soleimani’s death.
Trump shook up the Middle East by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, abandoning the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, and assassinating the terrorist Qasem Soleimani. Experts warned that these moves would spark a war, perhaps even a world war. Yet these historic events laid the groundwork for a massive transformation in Middle East diplomacy — a previously unimaginable transformation.
Indeed, it is difficult for Americans to realize just how monumental this diplomatic shift is. Before the signing of the Abraham Accords, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia announced they would open their skies to Israeli flights to the UAE. As part of its rapprochement with Israel, the UAE agreed to order hotels to serve Kosher foods in Abu Dhabi, delivering a powerful symbol of Jewish acceptance in a notoriously anti-Semitic part of the world.
In Europe, the Balkans are a notoriously fiery region, with centuries-long animosities sparking multiple wars, including World War I. The dueling Muslim and Christian empires of Turkey and Austria-Hungary wrestled to rule over ethnic groups that hated one another and religious minorities that proved a thorn in any ruler’s side. Yet Trump brought Muslim-majority Kosovo and Christian-majority Serbia together for a historic agreement that included promises to set up embassies in Jerusalem.
If Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins in November, he may undo much of this impressive progress by reinstating the Iran nuclear deal. Unfortunately, much of the legacy media has effectively buried news of these historic diplomatic developments. While Trump did not win the prize this year, it remains to be seen whether the Nobel Committee will recognize his achievements next year.
Correction: The original version of this article suggested that Trump had been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize despite the fact that each of the nominations for Trump mentioned above involves the 2021 award.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.