I really have to stop reading comments on the Net. Generally the criticism Of President Obama's selection for the Nobel Peace Prize goes something like this: he was only in office for 11 days when the nominations were made; he hasn't brought about peace any where; he hasn't done any thing; he's the sorriest president ever; he needs to be thrown out of office; he should give it back; etc. Allegedly, there is a petition circulating via the Net calling upon the selection committee to revoke the award. I didn't seek it out; I really don't want my head to explode. Following is my general response to all of this anti-Obama claptrap. I don't recall there being this much hate when Yasser Arafat was a recipient.
There is no prerequisite that a Nobel Peace Prize recipient must be a president of a country so Obama's time in office isn't relevant. Indeed, most of the recipients are not presidents of any country. He's been a voice publicly calling for diplomacy and peaceful resolution of conflict since he began his campaign for president more than two years ago. The award is not for being president, it is for advocating for the use of diplomatic means to settle disputes and for advocacy on behalf of engendering peaceful interactions among nations. All past members have not necessarily been successful at accomplishing their goals; many have failed. President Woodrow Wilson received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to start the League of Nations which ended up being a dismal failure, primarily due to the United States refusal to be bound by the tenets of the League. The current United Nations evolved out of the ash heap of residual ideals left from Wilson's efforts.
I'm not interested in debating whether people share my belief that Obama does deserve the honor bestowed upon him. I know that you can't change my mind and I doubt that I can change anyone's mind who doesn't agree with me. However, I do think that the discussion needs to be framed in relevant facts.
In addition, the Nobel Peace Prize has never been awarded based on world consensus. The committee has never in the past called up the U.S. and asked us how we feel about a proposed selection. It's sheer arrogance to believe that Americans should be able to dictate how the selection is made. The nominees do not nominate themselves and they don't campaign to win. The nominees are not even made aware of their nomination until the winner is announced.
President Obama did not seek this honor. I've read comments on other sites where people have taken him to task for not refusing to accept the award. What an insult to the selection committee and the entire process for him to do so! He respectfully and with humility thanked the committee. To do otherwise would contradict all precedent.
Finally, if we examine past recipients, this isn't a new thing to select a winner based on that person's philosophical ideology, a person who has not brought about peace or brokered a treaty. Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa come to mind. Tutu was recognized for his opposition to apartheid, his strong support of human rights and his message of reconciliation in South Africa. He has never ruled a country or held a political office. Mother Teresa was recognized for her leadership and self-sacrifice in her humanitarian efforts to attend to the needs of those living in poverty. Again, she was not a ruler or elected to public office. I don't note this to disparage the selection of Tutu or Mother Teresa. To the contrary, I believe that both were deserving based on their commitment to offering a consistent message regarding our obligations to humankind, especially those who have the least of any of us. Their ideological beliefs motivated their actions in actively advocating for change to ensure advancement in human rights. However, Tutu didn't eliminate apartheid nor did Mother Theresa eliminate poverty.
If you are interested in reading a history of the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize there is a very informative article online, The History of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1901-2000, that provides some insight as to the criteria for selection.