- By Daniel W. Drezner
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.
If you’re wondering why it took me a few hours before choosing to blog about Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Price award…. well, it took me that long to stop laughing.
Honestly, I’m not laughing at Obama. I’m laughing at the morons on the Norwegian Nobel Committee who made this decision to cheapen an already devalued prize.
Seriously, let’s imagine the deliberations that led to this decision:
CHAIR: Guys? Guys!! It’s 2 AM and we’ve got an award to give later today! What are we gonna do? We can’t use Jimmy Carter again — he was our emergency winner the last time we were stumped! If we don’t do this right, we’ll have less credibility than the Grammys!!
MEMBER A (clearly drunk): Hey, why not Neil Patrick Harris? For bringing peace to…. umm….. Hollywood awards shows?!
MEMBER B: Remember when Time’s Man of the Year was… you? Why can’t we do something like that? You know, say that the Peace Prize goes to all peace-loving people.
CHAIR: No f%$&ing way. What do you want me to do, hold up a mirror to the cameras when I say who won? And you know how many idiots would ask for their take of the prize money?
MEMBER A: Seriously, Neil Patrick Harris is awesome. Any of you checked out Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog?
MEMBER B: Hey, how about that Iranian guy who won the election but got screwed by the mullahs? He seemed pretty peaceful.
CHAIR: Sorry, no dice. We used up our Iranian quota this decade with Shirin Ebadi.
MEMBER B: That Zimbabwean guy?
CHAIR: If you can’t remember his name, then he’s not getting the award.
MEMBER C: Did you read how the Oscars will have, like, 10 nominees for Best Picture this year? Why not give this to all 20 members of the G-20?
CHAIR: Doesn’t the G-20 actually have more than 20 members? Can anyone name them all?
MEMBER A: And How I Met Your Mother is definitely underrated as a sitcom. NPH owns that show.
MEMBER C: Hugh Jackman was People’s Sexiest Man Alive this year. Why not double up on him, like we did with Al Gore?
MEMBER A: Get serious, man. Wolverine sucked!!
MEMBER B: Hey, here’s a crazy thought… why not Barack Obama?
General laughter and merriment.
CHAIR: How exactly are we going to justify the award? Jesus, even Jimmy Carter had done some actual peacemaking when we gave it to him. What are we going to say? "Barack Obama has succeeded brilliantly in not acting like George W. Bush in His First Term?"
MEMBER B: C’mon… the guy just lost the Olympics bid even after flying all the way to Copenhagen.
MEMBER A: Hey, how about Taylor Swift? We could guarantee Kanye wasn’t in the audience.
MEMBER B: Look, maybe it will give Obama a boost. With the massive prestige that the Nobel Peace Prize now carries in the United States because of our brilliant recent selections, maybe this will help get health care reform passed. This award would so put conservatives on the defensive!
[General nodding around the table.]
MEMBER A: Fine, no one else likes Neil Patrick Harris at this table, I get that. What about Roman Polanski? That would make a statement.
CHAIR (looks at watch): Fine, whatever, we’re way past deadline. (Points at MEMBER B). Write up the explanation. (Points at MEMBER A). Contact Neil Patrick Harris and put him on "standby" in case Obama can’t make it for the acceptance speech.
MEMBER B (scribbling furiously): Hmmm….how’s this? "Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened."
CHAIR: Hmmm…. no actual achievements other than Not Being George W. Bush in His First Term, but it sure sounds good! OK, we’re adjourned
MEMBER C (looking through nomination letters): I can’t believe that professor from Tufts nominated Salma Hayek again. Doesn’t he know that this is a serious award?!
In semi-seriousness — Bono got robbed, man.
UPDATE: I do think Obama’s response was to the hubbub was pretty good. Again, I’m really not laughing at him — I’m laughing at the Nobel Committee’s decision-making. At this point in time, there were a lot of other, more deserving candidates.
Giving the award to Obama is kind of like giving that junior professor the Teacher of the Year award — it dooms their chances for tenure.
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |