Reminder: President Obama awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2009


by NW Spotlight

The Nobel Committee announced in October 2009 that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama was nominated for the Peace Prize less than two weeks after becoming President. He was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, and the nomination deadline for the Nobel Peace Prize was February 1, 2009.

The Huffington Post reported in October 2009 “The announcement drew gasps of surprise and cries of too much, too soon. Yet President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday because the judges found his promise of disarmament and diplomacy too good to ignore.”

The chairman of the Nobel Committee said “Some people say – and I understand it – ‘Isn’t it premature? Too early?’ Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond – all of us.”

At the time, the Nobel Committee praised President Obama’s “pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease U.S. conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen its role in combating climate change.”

Fast forward 4 ½ years to this week.

On Sunday, the Washington Post Editorial Board ran an op-ed titled President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.

And then an essay in the American Interest from Monday points out that President Obama’s “desire to see a nuclear-free world” may be “one of the biggest casualties” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The essay talks about how Ukraine agreed to turn over remaining Cold War Soviet nukes after security guarantees from the United States and the United Kingdom in the “Budapest Memorandum.” If Russia ends up taking land from Ukraine and President Obama doesn’t put teeth into the security guarantees, the essay notes that it will be the second example of nations losing land after relinquishing their nuclear arsenals – with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi providing the other example.

The author writes “It is almost unimaginable after these two powerful demonstrations of the importance of nuclear weapons that a country like Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions,” and “North Korea would be foolish not to make the same calculation, and a number of other countries will study Ukraine’s fate and draw the obvious conclusions.”

Barack H. Obama with his Nobel Peace Prize Medal and Diploma at the Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, 10 December 2009.
Copyright © The Norwegian Nobel Institute 2009