Obama, America and the Nobel: What about the judges’ self defense?


Thorbjoern Jagland
n a rare move, the Norwegian judges who selected Obama as this year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize have gone public with their rationale. That’s Thorbjørn Jagland above, the head of the panel and one of the judges who stepped back into the global spotlight on Tuesday.

According to press accounts, members of the committee reaffirmed that Obama best met the conditions specified in Alfred Nobel’s will. Here is the relevant excerpt:

The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind…

What is now called the Peace Prize goes “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” (Read Nobel’s will here.)


Members of the committee mentioned Obama’s efforts concerning nuclear disarmament, ending plans for a missile shield in Europe, reaching out to the Muslim world, and approaching foreign policy in a multi-lateral way. (In the shadows, of course, was the so-called Bush Doctrine of unilateral pursuit of American interests.)

Detractors have called the five judges a bunch of Norwegian leftists who are using the award to further Europe’s political ends at the expense of American interests.

Were you surprised to learn of the Nobel committee’s public defense?
    Do you agree with it? Or, is it just spin?

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