To those who are dismayed and upset over the news that George Bush and Tony Blair have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year: don’t worry too much. It’s not as bad as you think.
First of all, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize “nomination” is not like an Oscar “nomination.” According to the web site of the Nobel committee:
“In recent years, the Committee has received well over 140 different nominations for the Peace Prize. (The numbers of nominating letters are much higher, since many are for the same candidates.)”
The nominations are reviewed thoroughly by the committee and their advisers, and eventually they are narrowed down to a well-considered short list of candidates, from which the eventual winner is chosen. A Nobel Peace Prize nomination is therefore much more like the letter from a movie studio proposing a certain film, or actor to the Academy for an award.
Now, take a look at the list of people from whom the committee will consider nominations:
- Members of national assemblies and governments
- Members of international courts of law
- University chancellors; university professors of social science, history, philosophy, law and theology
- Leaders of peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs
- Former Nobel Peace Prize laureates
- Board members of organisations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize
- Present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (committee members must present their nomination at the latest at the first committee meeting after February 1)
- Former advisers at the Norwegian Nobel Institute
We’re talking thousands of people worldwide. Now bear in mind that there has always been a certain proportion of people who thought that going to war on Iraq was a good thing, and that somehow Iraq has benefited from being occupied by an invading army, and being placed under colonial rule. It is therefore inevitable that someone from some national assembly, university, court, or research institute would think that Bush and Blair are the greatest thing since sliced bread walked the earth. Hey, even Hitler was nominated for the Peace Prize back in 1938.
The reason this whole nomination thing is news now is because the deadline for nominations was yesterday (1st February), and because some knucklehead wilfully ignored the Nobel Committee’s strong request that nominators keep silent about who they have nominated. The knucklehead in question is right-wing Norwegian MP Jan Simonsen. Ask yourself the question: why would he deliberately go against the wishes of the committee? Could it be because he is a publicity-seeking weasel in search of political favour? Hmm, could be!
Remember that Bush and Blair were also nominated in 2002 and in 2003. They didn’t win then, either. Looking at the situation in Iraq right now, the Nobel Committee would really have to be blind, insane, or intolerably corrupt to award them the prize. This is not the case.
Blair and Bush have no chance of winning the prize this year. The nomination is nothing more than political wind.
- Speculation by the International Peace Research Institute on this year’s prize
- The Nobel Institure’s own pages describing how the Peace Prize nomination process works
- An article by Paul Hamilos in the Guardian last year about the significance and credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize
- Anders Jacobsen regards the matter
- Michael O’Connor Clarke comes to the same conclusion