Wed, October 16, 2002

War and a Nobel Peace

Former President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming only the third U.S. President (after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) to have the honor. Did President Jimmy Carter, who shook my hand and patted my sister on the head when we saw him at the airport as kids, gain this recognition because he brought peace? Many will point to the Camp David peace accords he helped facilitate, his work with Habitat for Humanity, or his work in overseeing elections as his work for peace. Some point to his more recent activies and assess him as “a better ex-president than president.” Yet has this gained any real peace in the world? It feels like he got this more for good intentions than actual results.

Perhaps this wasn’t about President Carter at all. “It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken,” said Gunnar Berge, the chairman of the Nobel committee. “It’s a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.”

In his recent column, A Nobel Idea of Peace, Michael Kelly suggests that a strong case can be made for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President George H. W. Bush or his son, our current President. Kelly writes:

There are many thoughts that are unthinkable to the ideologically bankrupt establishment-left that the Nobellians exemplify. Paramount among these is that war — or, to be precise, war or the threat of war sponsored by the United States — has been the modern world’s great deliverer of peace. But there the truth sits.