Nobel Prizes celebrate human achievements of a high order. The peace prize is usually awarded for solutions to complex political problems faced by the world. In that light, the award of the 2009 prize to US President Barack Obama is rather surprising.
The prize committee said the award went to Obama for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. It attached special importance to his vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
It’s another matter that that vision is yet to be realized and lives in the realm of speeches at the United Nations.
In a sense, the award is a European reaction to the George Bush Jr era. The committee gave the game away when it said that “thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role...”
But then, this is a season of life and hope in Scandinavia. This year, the prizes in medicine and chemistry celebrate the big questions of life. Hardly surprising that the peace prize went for tilting at the windmills.