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Nobel Nonsense: Nominating Donald Trump for the Peace Prize

It seems like rich nonsense, but should peace be attained on the Korean peninsula, with arrangements entrenched to ensure durability as opposed to unconvincing window dressing, President Donald Trump might well join the list of frauds and charlatans who have obtained the Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination for the 2019 prize came in a letter from 18 of Trump’s Republican supporters in the House of Representatives to the Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen, which starkly resembled the narrative of fakery the President delights in. Trump, went the signers, should receive the prize “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region.”

The Republicans seem to have things the wrong way around. Rather than incite instability, Trump supposedly calmed the waters. Rather than creating teeth-chattering fear amongst allies, he brought accord where there was disagreement. “Since taking office, President Trump has worked tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons programs and bring peace to the region.” He was the great unifier, bringing on powers such as China “to impose one of the most successful international sanctions regimes in history.” (Never let history get in the way of a good tale).

All this, despite sketchy details of a as yet unplanned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un to take place at the end of this month or early June. Agendas are also in their infancy: where to with the actual issue of denuclearisation, and what lasting security guarantees might be put in place.

There have been some howlers in the hall of Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and Trump’s addition to the role would be perversely fitting. Henry Kissinger retains the mantle of the manifest absurd, despite being the blood spatted Iago of US foreign policy. Under his sagaciously poisonous direction, democracies were withered in favour of murderous regimes. Countries – Laos and Cambodia – were subjected to illegal bombings. Murdering high officials was condoned.

Importantly, he was given the Nobel for supposedly concluding the war in Vietnam despite frustrating the Johnson administration’s efforts to do so in 1968. (Fun if cruel fact: the Vietnam War would only conclude in 1975, two years after Kissinger’s award). Along with that dark lord of mendacity and cunning Richard Nixon, Kissinger sabotaged peace talks between North and South Vietnam in an effort to gain an advantage over Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in the elections that year. (Nixon’s order to his close aide H. R. Haldeman on October 22, 1968 was to “monkey wrench” the efforts of the Democrats).

Closer in precedent, though not quite stratospherically venal as that of Kissinger was the award given to President Barack Obama in 2009. Still presidentially virginal, more than a few eyebrows were raised. “What has he done?” came the obvious question from Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. Obama had to agree, though accepted the award. The Committee had obviously decided to convert the prize into something of a big push to achievement, an act of pure counter-intuition.

In 2015, former secretary of the Nobel committee Geir Lundestad admitted regret. “Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake. In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”

What stands out in Trump’s meaningless nomination is a suggestion that the players on the ground – the Moon Jae-in administration of South Korea, and the Kim Jong Un regime of the DPRK – are mere marionettes directed by Trump and social media mist. Tweets matter. Targeted indignation count. Never mind that the Koreas have taken the first steps and initiated discussions that have been viewed with suspicion by members of Congress.

Nominations, however, remain that. They do not necessarily yield the fruit of an award. President George W. Bush had been floated as a contender at some point, and Thomas E. Ricks would write with acid reflection in 2015 that he probably deserved one. “The actions of the United States have successfully bolstered the influence of Iran over the region. Now Iraq and Iran, who in the 1980s fought a long and bitter war, are reconciled!”

A delightful spoof of the inner world of the peace prize committee, veering dangerously close to its naff rationales can be found in the Pan-Arabian Enquirer. The satirical publication suggested that the Nobel Committee would award the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. “These two statesmen have been absolutely instrumental in stopping the Syrian war from escalating into a terrifying global conflict and, for this, they must be congratulated.”

Such is the rationale. Those who start wars and wage campaigns of terror one day will, at some point, be seen in a different light. Peace achieved, even over graveyards, can be acknowledged by way of awards. But in Trump’s case, the resume of extensive violence waged against other states and peoples is still in its infancy. For all that, the Nobel Prize Committee may still have a risible surprise in store, something appropriate for a proclaimed age of Fake News.

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  1. babyjewels10

    What a topsy turvey world we live in where hate, stupidity, greed and fantasy rule.

  2. kristapet

    The world is now entered The Theatre of the Absurd and everything is back-to-front

    What An Insult to the rest of the world

    Not even funny as a joke!!!

  3. Kronomex

    What happens if the tantrum throwing spiteful child in an adult body scuppers the peace deal (which on consideration could happen knowing Trump’s volcanic unpredictable nature)?

  4. Keith

    It seems much easier to hold the view that the two Koreas formed soft alliance through the Winter Olympic Games and the alliance developed from there. The big question is will Trump stuff up negotiations already developed?

    While a nomination might be made it is of the extremely unlikely that Trump would receive the award on the basis of the number of investigations taking place against him.

  5. Kronomex

    Keith, I can picture The Donald going up to Obama’s front door, ringing the door bell while jiggling with glee, and waving his Nobel Peace Prize in Obama’s face when the door opened. He’d blow a raspberry and then run away.

  6. Zathras

    Tom Lehrer retired from musical comedy when Kissinger was awarded his Nobel prize, claiming that there’s no way that could possibly be surpassed for satire and prizewinner-in-advance Obama went on to bomb more countries than his predecessor.

    Politically inspired commendations like these devalue the Nobel prize generally and degrade it to an X-Factor type popularity event.

    Trump reminds me of those African and South American despots who used to strut around in military uniforms with a chest full of medals they awarded to themselves.

    Perhaps he could get one if they created a new category. Best display of petulance? Biggest ego? Consistency of lies?

  7. STUART Anderson

    Look at it this way. Obama got a Peace Prize, so Trump being a malignant narcissist must get one, or he will be rated lower than Obama as a ‘statesman,’ which would be intolerable for him. Moon suggested he get a Prize. Why? Moon knows China was responsible for the reapproachment on the Korean peninsular. By China supporting the sanctions North Koreas food situation is dire and not sustainable. Kim wouldn’t give up his nukes because he rightly fears US regime change a La Saddam and Gaddafi (that’s what happens when you give up your weapons of mass destruction) but China is prepared to support NK in the face of a western invasion. So the only remaining problem is the hawks in the US administration – but offer Trump a Nobel Peace Prize and he’ll overrule them. Nobel Peace Prize to Trump – small price to pay for avoiding war on the peninsular. What do you think?

  8. lawrencewinder

    It’s all a Kafka-esque farce!

  9. Michael Taylor

    You have a point, Stuart, and it’s one that has crossed my mind.

    We all know that Trump doesn’t deserve the prize, but we all know there’ll now be an almighty dummy-spit (with consequences) if he misses out.

    The thought of Obama staying one up on him would be unbearable.

    As Trump’s biographer – whose name escapes me – recently said; “He’d start WW3 just to prove he was right” (or words to that effect).

    Maybe he should get it, if for nothing else to ensure stability in the troubled region.

    The sad thing, is that it won’t ensure stability on his own doorstep. Either way, people in the US will take to the streets. If he doesn’t get the prize then the Trumpsters will go on a rampage. If he does get it, the demonstrations will be massive.

  10. michael lacey

    the Nobel Peace Prize, has been perverted. It’s been turned into a propaganda tool, a form of institutionalized revisionism, for which war is upheld as a peaceful endeavour, creeping alongside power struggles called “humanitarian interventions” in a fantasy tale we call history.

    Neither Henry Kissinger, nor Barack Obama and the European Union (EU) deserved a peace prize. How can the EU deserve a peace prize when it’s been using its military might in the Middle East and Africa for over a decade?
    Perpetual war is the order of the day and we nominate award war mongers!

    War and Peace

  11. Carmel Lovelock

    Perverted & TRIVIALISED. An absolutely GROTESQUE proposal, which would ensure that this award was MEANINGLESS. SAD!!

  12. Josephus

    At least China may presumably have got the US out of the South as the price of not nuking the world. Trump is being used by the astute Chinese. The EU by the way has no army though a few member states have contributed to UN peacekeeping.

  13. jimhaz

    Methinks Mike Pompeo told Kim Jong Un at their recent secret meeting that the US would assassinate him and others and he believed them – as it is something Trump would not hesitate doing.

    Kimbo is just recognising Trumps arrogance, temper, volatility and tough guy attitudes. Pompeo gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

    This is OK for me, but it is high risk (for Sth Korea) and probably not transferable to any other situation.

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