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An Editorial 2009-03

Oct 11, 2009

An Editorial Comment on Obama's winning the 2009 Peace Farce: If Obama were a leader with dignity, he should have refused the undeserved prize

O Tempora O Mores...

Nobel Committee metaphorically inducts rookie into Hall of Fame after first incomplete inning


An Editorial Comment on Obama's Peace Farce

by Bob Djurdjevic

Nobel Committee metaphorically inducts rookie into Hall of Fame after first incomplete inning

O Tempora O Mores...

If Obama were a leader with grace and dignity, he should have refused the undeserved prize

HAIKU, Maui, Oct 11 - "O tempora o mores" is the famous sentence uttered by one of Rome's greatest orators, philosophers and statesmen, Cicero (106BC-43BC).  Cicero used it in 63BC, when he was the Consul of Rome, as he denounced the corrupt Senator Cataline.  More than two millennia later, Cicero's "oh the times, oh the customs"-cry for fairness and decency still echoes. 

We were reminded of it after the decision of the Nobel Committee to award its Peace Prize to the American president Obama.  For, the decision has about as much merit as inducting a rookie pitcher into the Hall of Fame after his first incomplete inning.  Or awarding an Olympic gold medal to a marathon runner after the first 270 yards of the race.

An exaggeration?  Actually, maybe even an understatement. For, this Nobel laureate won his award on the basis of a nine-day track record.  (Nominations for the Nobel Prize reportedly closed only nine days after Obama's inauguration ceremony).

Anyone with a sense of fairness and decency, regardless of his/her political persuasion, nationality or race, should be shocked to learn that someone with no tangible results would receive such a "prestigious" reward.  Obama himself was quoted as saying that he was "surprised" and "humbled."  And he donated the $1.4 million cash prize to charity, sources say.

Actually, if this American President were a true leader with grace and dignity, someone who leads by example not just empty rhetoric, he should have refused the undeserved award.  As it were, he accepted it.  Which not only cheapens the Nobel Prize itself, but it opens Obama to widespread ridicule, both at home and abroad.  In turn, this will make his job more difficult in the future. 

After the first nine months in office, this Nobel Prize "Peacenik" is still fighting two overseas wars he said he would end, not to mention allowing scores of "black ops" around the world to continue.  And he seems on the verge of escalating our troop deployment in Afghanistan.

No surprise there, of course.  It took less than three months for President Obama to reverse himself on more of his campaign promises than you can shake a stick at.  And it took only six months for the awake among the American public to see that the U.S. presidential elections are no more than a very expensive "Demo Farce," as I wrote in a Washington Times column in Nov 1996 (see "Demo Farce and the American Century,” Nov 1996). 

When it comes to politicians, one must watch what they do, not what they say.  "Read my lips; no new taxes" (a famous line uttered by Bush Sr in 1988) was also a decoy statement.  Once Bush became president, he raised taxes in order to reduce the budget deficit. 

"Words are cheap; action speaks louder that words," is another old adage.  And Obama's moves since taking office have shown that he is no different than Bush Jr.  Or Clinton.  Or Bush Sr.  Four years from now, what's left of the world after 2012 will be able to see in stark colors how ridiculous and meaningless this Nobel Peace Farce was (see 2012: Toward a New Breed of Man, Jan 2009).

By the way, this is not the first time the Nobel Committee embarrassed itself in the 113-year history of the Peace Prize.  Hitler was nominated for it in 1939.  Stalin and Mussolini have also been proposed, among some famous "peacemakers."  And Henry Kissinger actually won it while the Vietnam war was still raging on.  So did Yasser Arafat and Mikhael Gorbachev. 

On the other hand, peacemaking giants, such as Mahatma Gandhi, were never even nominated.  Guess the British Empire was still too powerful back then.

In short, unlike the scientific Nobel Prize awards which are based on merit and actual achievements, the Peace Prize is evidently a political football.  It has little to do with peace and much more with appeasing the powers that be.   Peace?  It's what politicians promise before sending soldiers into battle. 

"I'm not sure I understand -- this isn't for peace here, is it?" Homaira Reza, an Afghan bank teller from Kabul told a Los Angeles Times reporter. "Because we haven't got any."

Neither do the Iraqis.  Nor the Palestinians.  Nor the Israelis.  Nor do we in America, a country that is increasingly becoming a police state.  I am not sure if even the Nobel Committee know what it was for.  For laughs, perhaps?

Obama should have refused the Nobel Peace Farce until such time he delivered real peace and not just promises.  As it turns out, by accepting it, the American President has become the main character in a farce.  Not a promising career start for a great leader. 

Oh well... there's always the World Series to distract a disheartened nation's attention from global affairs.  Panem et circences... (Latin... see the "PS" below).


Bob Djurdjevic is a writer and consultant based in Haiku (Maui), Hawaii.  He is a free thinking humanist.  Which means he is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.  You can find more of his research and columns at (geopolitical) and (business).  

P.S. "Panem et circenses" (Latin) - "bread and games," distract the masses with free food and gladiator games while the (Roman) empire withers.

Also check out... O Tempra O Mores... (Editorial comment on Obama's winning the Peace Farce); Gouging the American Consumer; Squeezing the Consumer Dry (Greed Was the Fuel That Drove Both Bankers, Govts & Oilmen to Try to Squeeze Blood Out of Stone - American Consumer); The Great Divide Widens (The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer in most developed countries – latest OECD study, Oct 2008); Wall Street's Financial Terrorism (a 1997 Chronicles Magazine column that's as current today as it was when it was written); Just Say NO to Greed - Killer of Dreams! (Mar 2008) and Just Say No to Greed 2 (Oct 2008);

Also, “Plutocrats of the New World Order,” Mar 1997; “Demo Farce and the American Century,” Nov 1996; “The Great Wall Street Hoover,” Nov 1997; “The Great American Divide,” Jan 1998; “Wiping Out the Middle Class,:” May 1998; “When Will Wall Street Bubble Burst?”, Aug 1998; etc. 


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