Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Was Obama right to accept the Nobel Peace Prize?

With my mother's side of the family hailing from Kongeriket Norge, I've gathered from personal experience that Norwegians (the ones I know, anyway) have a super-squishy soft spot for President Obama. This morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made its country's infatuation practically official:

President Obama, who has pledged to place diplomacy ahead of confrontation and reached out to a skeptical world with offers of mutual understanding, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace today for what the Nobel committee called "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

"I will accept this award as a call to action, a call to all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century," Obama said in a White House Rose Garden appearance. "This award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity."

Professing humility and surprise in the awarding of the prize, the president said, "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as a recognition of American leadership. . . .

"To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize," Obama said, suggesting that the prize has not always "been awarded just to honor specific achievements," but also to lend some momentum to the cause of peace.

I'm surprised, but not completely thrown for a loop. Norway, not being much larger than the city of Los Angeles in population, is deeply involved in world affairs to level that would suit a country the size of, say, France. Its diplomats have actively sought out peaceful resolutions to bloody conflicts in which Norway seemed to have had no practical national interest (the landmark 1993 peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis is called the Oslo Accords for a reason -- and yes, for their efforts the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin the Nobel Peace Prize). So when the leader of a nuclear-armed superpower, whose previous presidential administration disregarded parts of the Geneva Convention as "quaint" and was known for starting expensive wars it couldn't finish, reassures the United Nations General Assembly that the U.S. should not seek to dominate weaker nations, you can bet the Norwegian Nobel Committee took notice. So yes, chalk this up as a nakedly political statement, wishful thinking that the president's actions will align with words or some other kind of naïveté, but the Norwegian Nobel Committee had its reasons.

Enough Norse talk; click here for more reaction.

What are your thoughts on the award? Take our unscientific poll, post a comment or do both.


Comments () | Archives (25)

The comments to this entry are closed.


I think the wording of the poll is unfair and biased. The question is leading, and there is only one out of four responses that indicate he deserves the prize. Additionally, that one response sounds naive, "Why wouldn't he?". Is it too much to ask for an option that sounds more like "Yes. He deserves it for his diplomacy-oriented approach to foreign policy, and goals for world peace." or "Yes. The prize is often awarded to encourage people to continue their work at critical junctures, not for past accomplishments."?

Gordon Potik

The question for me to ask is why are you asking this question in the first place. Do you ask this question when others win a Nobel prize? What is going on here?

The answer to me is ... SURE, YES, WHY NOT!!!!

Barack Obama has done more during is short time on the National and International stage than most other Politicians.

Anyone that comes to the International Stage and affects so many, should be awarded. Now the world will either respond and move toward world peace or fail.

The "Open Hand for Peace" has been extended by President Obama. Lets see who will accept the offer.


Why isn't there a poll option for "I'm not sure?"

andrew nelson

I think this might have been timed for a different outcome to the Israeli-Palistinian talks, that did not go well. And did not spark the era of peace that the campaign had promised.

Instead, it highlights the significant gap between our expectations and reality. A philosophical person, who has read Albert Camus, would point out that this fits the classic definition of absurdity.

No ones fault really. It's just absurd. Obama, his administration, and the liberals of western civilization who would call him king, need to begin to see the world as it is, not as they want it to be.

That way, they might have a chance to deal with those realities to move the world to where they want it to be.

just me

Ezekiel 13:10-11 " 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth.

Where's the peace? Obama is for warmongering and abortion

Albino Mussolini

A "moonshadow" is what the Nobel award will bring to the dark knight's presidency. It sets the tone for a worldwide passive America. Obama will preach for peace knowing that Iranian rockets cannot strike the lunar surface. Shifting polarities to smile like Jimmy Carter.

Jaap den Haan

The Nobel Peace Prize for Obama at this point indebts him and is a bit embarrassing. But he hinted at this already himself, which moderates the shame. It was not his own initiative. Rejecting it in fact could add to the embarrassment. He may have done much. Out attention is now turned although to the nature of the Nobel Prize. Obama was given the peace prize for being black and peace-loving, obviously something of such extraordinary achievement for a man of his colour that he deserved it. We have to understand we are talking about Scandinavia. In most Northern countries we see this type of compassion.

José Luis Fernández Debesa.

Dear Sir,

Mr Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Prize, as you suggest in your editorial, has made the Nobel Prize Committe the laughing stock of the world, as the Prize is given normally for deeds not for nice speeches and good intentions.
Adolph Hitler too, had both .
José Luis Fernández Debesa.

robert c. maize

"liberal" or "conservative, what’s a armadillo to do?

Remember! It was a group of others on a chosen special committee that voted for the choice of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, For what ever their reasons it was their choice to make so with out much a’ due and the wisdom of good taste “suck it up” and act like “civil” ladies and gentlemen that President Obama was their choice.

Let us all be proud that the United States of America was the recipient through President Obama.

Have some dignity, self respect, and pride in the U.S.A. for each of us are a part of this nation and any one selected for an honor by others share in the dignity and self-respect of their choice.

if you don’t agree then speak to the people that made that choice in a manner of civil discourse.

Not a public display of a babbling mouth disease of a spoilt child that has not yet learned to be a responsible human in the course of using one’s gray matter to add quality and dignity in matters of state.

It would seem to me that people do not know the difference between the words "liberal" or "conservative" or what this all adds up too.

This is just another element of "cybertribualism" a creation of how primitive homo sapiens still is.

With lack of gray matter and the fear, terror and lack of self-respect in the virtual reality we live in as Phil Collins song says "Just another day in paradise"!

I would say we all need a rehab for learning disorders and this is what reality is all about.

Just a thought from an old armadillo trying to understand what “man” is all about.

The world is full of sick jokes and those who rant, scream and wish to PR this to promote hate, dishonor for the sake of their desire for power, money self adulation in their own “cyber ghetto following of thoughtless lemmings looking for a truth that will never come.”

This is the gang of the nightmare of non think whom fear, anger and hate rule for they are always acting in as just another "Kafka cockroach" looking for their dung on a bath room floor in the lost great media tent of bought and paid for PR tape worms that live as parasites of others gray matter.

Damien Casanova

Reading the some of the comments below reminds me of the hypocritical society we live in. It is true that empty vessels make the loudest noise; especially those disguising themselves behind bible quotations. At a time that all Americans should be proud an honor like this was bestowed on our President, we have idiots like Republican Chairman Michael Steele (a perfect Uncle Tom) making negative comments. Being intelligent and objective comes with knowing when to talk and when to keep your mouth shut! And if you don't anything good to say, it is always prudent to do just that!

mohammed suerte bennani

Obama Nobel price for Peace 2009 :
Thinkers ( Communists in America ; intellectuals in France ) are so worried, desperate about peace issues, wars, unemployment, financial and social crisis, NATO, coalitions, and they are right to do so.
This award is a strong invite to President Obama, to stay calm and serene in the tough times to come.
People are awarded for great things they do; some receive an award to crown their oustanding career.
With this Nobel price, we have got an award for things we are begged to do.
It's a preventive war, kind of, and this one is good for peace.

mohammed suerte bennani
surgeon and author


Oh please, you are worrying about whether Obama deserves this instead of congratulating him?? Maybe you should worry about the economy.

Think about it- George Bush is gone and we just had a black President give a gay rights speech. Now that's progress.

Juan Meden

Absolutely he deserves the peace prize. Just look at the comments in response to this article. Isn't it amazing how we are all getting along now? Ole buddy Barak is just bringing America together. I feel like singing Kumbaya!


Even if he is pushing the United States in the left direction, it is unlikely to be far or fast enough in a political culture resisting the provisions of our Constitution. The short answer is "Mr Obama was, is, and always will be un-deserving of what used to be an honorable and prestigious award but now is simply a political pressure tool".

Bob Vargas

In less then nine months, Obama has built a strong foundation in critical areas: 1.By being honest & respectful in all areas & to everyone, which earned the American people & other countries trust. 2. By hiring & successfully managing top gifted political professionals in critical areas, which includes health care, energy, education, & infrastructures. Even thou Obama will invest large amounts of money into these investments, the American people still support him because they know that they will produce excellent results for generations to come. 3. By quickly using diplomacy to build partnerships with other countries. Diplomacy & sanctions must be exalted until our national security is threatened before starting a war. We must be trusted worldwide, assuring that the US will never start any war until the last resort has been reached & verified. Developing partnerships with other countries will help in sharing ideas, resources, & information in order to defeat and manage the war on terrorism. Trusted united partners & allies should be a strong deterrent in diminishing terrorism. The more trusted partners & allies we have, the better.

Patricia Donnellan

I did not like the way the poll was worded either. The
"Why Wouldn't He" makes it sound as though he did not deserve it. This country had Bush years and that put a bad taste in the mouths of people everywhere. Now we have a President who is striving for peace, who recognizes that there are other countries in the world besides the USA. He has charisma, poise and is a cool, cool guy! I am glad I voted for him. He wants this country to be UNITED as it should be. Remember, the UNITED STATES of AMERICA. Not the Red States or the Blue States - the UNITED States.


I'm an Obama supporter, but I don't think that he has done enough to deserve this award. In particular, the award places some unwanted expectations and restraints on his role as Commander-in-Chief of the country's Armed Forces. It will be used--not only by his enemies, but also by his allies--not just to criticize, but also to mock him if he decides that military force is necessary to meet a current or future threat to the country's security. He should thank the Nobel commmittee, but humbly ask that they consider his achievements for the award at a later date. Keeping the award may prove more embarrassing--to both the President and the committee--than gratefully declining the award. The committee really should have spoken to him privately before offering this award. I believe the committe itself will come to regret giving out this reward for expectations rather than real achievements.


Ouch, this is a big old wedgie Mr. Prsident! Now you have to act and succeed and live up to this award. I hope you don't compromise the memory of the victims and their families, our heros and our nations' proud history of 9/11 whilst trying to live up to this fisco! The smartest thing you can do is to decline and still go forward, this prize as it is is not worth it!...


I am completely disappointed in the Nobel Committee. Being awarded (in international affairs) for something that hasn't happened is not ethical. I don't care what Obama says about "lending momentum to the cause of peace," no peace award (for international affairs) has been given without an agreement or compromise put into action, until now. All that has been accomplished through this is a discredit of the modern Nobel Committee. They spoke too soon.

And to John's response, "Why wouldn't he?" implies that he deserves the award, while the other promotes international politeness. It is completely fair- if you think that Obama actually deserves it, choose that option. Listing the reason's why he could possibly deserve it is completely redundant in this case.


This indebting award would cost the USA more money than the award itself. Who's going to pay for this trip? Does this prize belong to the Office or is this a personal award? If this is a personal award, Obama should pay for the trip himself!!!

M Krishnamachary

President Obama deserves more than a Noble Prize. America he won. With the Nobel he wun the world. An exceptional American indeed is he. He would achieve more with his clear thinking both at home and abroad. Perhaps the Nobel Committee will give him this Peace Prize a second time too.

maria jimenez

Hope you had fun at the reception mr. president of your nobel peace prize and had a good time you deserve that award and more than you for trying to save us i hope that you will continue to search for pows lost around the world because of criminals that have discovered our secrets of different colors system, and how to get into different worlds and in and out of jail where they hide out at night. thank you, and cheer on without fail while discovering the truth and stay strong for us so that we too can remain strong until you find us

Pro America

His whole life has been a story of "lies" and false rewards/accolades. This unfortunately fits in with all of the other undeserved things he has been handed. No wonder why he has no respect for the voters who elected him nor the country is being paid to protect.

Dan Jeffs

President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after only 8 months in
office with no real accomplishments comes as no surprise. It is merely Nobel
candy with costly strings attached.

Obama, along with former president Carter (2002) and former vice president
Gore (2007) were given their Nobel Peace Prizes, not for their achievements
in making peace, but as European cheap tricks to put the burden of world
problems -- real or imagined -- on the backs of American taxpayers.

The leaders of Egypt and Israel, Sadat and Begin, had already made an
agreement before they went to Carter to host the so-called Camp David
Accords because they needed us to pay the costs. Likewise, Al Gore together
with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded the
prize so that America would bear the primary costs of questionable global
warming. It didn't matter that the awards were based upon fraud and deceit.

Of course the Peace Prize Committee followed that up by saddling President
Obama and the United States with what Obama already put in motion to battle
climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which if carried
out would certainly break our economic back and leave us defenseless.
Indeed, the Committee has turned the Nobel Peace award into a corrupt
political tool rendering it irrelevant, and damaging most of the other Nobel


As I understand the definition of the word prize is an award to appreciate achievement. So for those that support this award to Obama, please expand what his achievement of the keyward "PEACE" of The Nobel Peace Prize?

Some thing to consider:

TNT advanced to nuclear bomb to hydrogen bomb....HYPOCRISY!



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

In Case You Missed It...