Obama Nobel Peace Prize A Close Call

Still interested in President Obama being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize? Hope so, because I’ve got some revelations here about what went on behind-the-scenes. They come from a Ritzau report taken up in Berlingske Tidende (Nobel committee was split about Obama). “Split”? It seems that, for most of the time, three of the Peace Prize committee’s five members definitely did not think Obama should be awarded the Prize – he had only been in office as President for nine months, for Heaven’s sake!

Actually, the Ritzau/Berlingske coverage here is really at-one-remove, as they basically pass on original reporting that appeared in the Norwegian newspaper VG. That article you can find here (“Nobel-majority argued against Obama”), and even if you don’t understand Norwegian you really should click through to take a look, because it offers a great prize: there you can see in a photograph, sitting around a table, the actual group of Norwegian notables (“socialists,” “muddled-headed Europeans,” “Obama-groupies,” “Devil’s spawn,” however you want to characterize them) who were directly responsible for him receiving the prize. The three ladies with their heads circled were actually the doubters; in fact, Berlingske quotes the right-most of them (i.e. turning to her left to address the camera) as remarking later to the press “I had expected more debate, especially over the fact that I myself regard as problematic, namely the war in Afghanistan.”

By the way, the committee doesn’t have six members, but five, so that one of the gentlemen off to the right is not actually a voting-member and doesn’t belong there. I’m guessing that the bona fide guy is probably with the red necktie, and that would be the committee chairman, former Norwegian prime minister and current Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. He’s really the one Obama can thank for his Prize (assuming that Obama is actually grateful for the Prize; there are reasons for thinking that he isn’t): despite the three nay-sayers dismissing the President’s candidacy from early in the selection-discussions, Jagland persevered as chairman (with some support from the one lady whose head is not circled, Sissel Rønbeck) and finally got his way. “The rest,” as they say, “is history” – but one can still speculate on what the outcome would have been had the three dissenters been male and the committee chairman female.

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