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In the wake of a revelation by a key research institution that it destroyed its original climate data, the Competitive Enterprise Institute petitioned EPA to reopen a major global warming proceeding.
I wondered first if the Nobel decision was a calculated snub to Gordon Brown, who literally saved the world. Then I realized I should ask my good friend Lene Johansen, a Norwegian-born writer currently based in Philadelphia, just what the Norwegian-based committee thought it was doing. Here's her response in full:There were a few critics in Norway when Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but the Obama award is quite different. Members of parliament have been sending out incredulous tweets all morning, and the national subject matter experts are surprised and say Obama does not have a sufficient track record yet.
One of the most outspoken critics is Jan Arild Snoen, president of American-Norwegian friendship organization Monticello Society and editor of the political magazine Minerva.
“This is a scandal,” He said to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. “It is a ‘peace and war and stuff’ award. The committee continues the star power strategy that started with Gore receiving the Prize.”
Nils Buthenschøn, president of the Human Rights Institute expresses a similar sentiment in the same story. “It seems like the committee wanted to award the Prize to the American president to confirm the status of the Prize rather than the worthiness of the candidate”, he says
They do have a point; Obama had been in office 11 days when the nomination deadline came around on February 1. Europe and Norway was suffering from an Obama fever that only could be matched by the U.S. fever right around Election Day. The love affair still persists among the political class, because they admire the political craftsmanship of his campaign. This might be the official “world” endorsement of Obama’s presidency; since they still are sore they could not vote in the U.S. election.
Europeans also adore Obama for shifting the U.S. political focus to the left. Norwegian politicians are no exception, and Norway continues to rank #1 on UNDP’s Development Index. This index measures how much a government assists its citizens, while Norway barely makes it into the ranks of mostly free countries on the Economic Freedom Index. The adoration for Obama’s re-orientation of U.S. Politics is evident in the announcement.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee states. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.”
One person that did predict this result was Gerhard Helskog, an experienced reporter covering the foreign desk for TV2, the largest private newsnetwork in Norway. He said the new committee chair, Torbjørn Jagland like to think big, and Obama was big in Jagland’s eyes.
Jagland is a former prime minister and was recently elected new General Secretary of the Council of Europe. He received critique for staying in the post as Nobel Committee chair after accepting this position. Norwegian experts feared that leadership of an international political organization would lead people to question the independence of the Nobel Committee.
Alfred Nobel’s reason for letting the Norwegian Parliament handle the peace price was that Norway did not have an independent foreign policy at the time. The Prize would therefore be handled by a politically independent body. This award makes it clear this is no longer the case.
Several experts, including head of Norwegian Institute of Foreign Affairs Jan Egeland and head of the International Peace Research Institute, Kristian Berg Harpviken, thought the Committee would give out a “traditional” peace prize again this year. Last year’s prize was traditional; it went to Martti Ahtisaari, who brokered peace in Kosovo in 2005. Most people probably never even heard of this former Finnish president.
“I don’t think Jagland referred to a celebrity when he said the choice will be noticed internationally,” Harpviken said to Aftenposten earlier this week. “I think it means a winner with a broad base of support.”
Boy was he wrong. Jagland is continuing the tradition with celebrity winners. Snide tweets from Norway this morning said any world politician that Jagland wanted to dine with should watch out, because they are all future candidates.
I think Hellskog was kind when he thought a Prize would be a recognition of America’s leadership in the world. Helskog spent many years here as a correspondent and has expressed great love for the U.S. Personally, I don’t believe this is a recognition of U.S. leadership role, but the world embracing us for joining the flock. That is a recognition no American president ought to accept.
OBAMA WINS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? “For what?”
UPDATE: What do Barack Obama and Yassir Arafat have in common?
Plus, Mickey Kaus: Turn It Down. “Say he’s honored but he hasn’t had the time yet to accomplish what he wants to accomplish.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Doug Mataconis on Facebook: “Teddy Roosevelt wins Peace Prize for stopping a war. Carter wins Peace Prize for a lifetime of work. Obama wins Peace prize for breathing.”
I say, not bad for a guy who’s been acting like Bambi caught in the headlights of history.
STILL MORE: London Times: Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize. Oh, it was already a mockery.
Meanwhile, Mataconis is on a roll on Facebook: “How can Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize on the same day that he’s becoming the first POTUS to bomb the Moon?”
It’s Frank J. Fleming’s world. The rest of us just live in it.
MORE STILL: Various reader comments:
“It’s a peace prize, not a peace peace prize.”
“How do you say ‘jumped the shark’ in Norwegian?”
“Today the Nobel Committee announced a posthumous Peace Prize for Neville Chamberlain.”
“Why not the Cy Young Award, too?”
“Let’s be fair . . . he did pull off the Beer Summit.”
Plus, Jacob T. Levy on Facebook: “The US border agent in Toronto– the armed representative of the state who was holding my passport– asked me what I thought of the Nobel, got angry when I was anything less than celebratory, and didn’t want to give my passport back– wanted to keep arguing.”
“Americans want to be loved.”
“The subprime Peace Prize.”
Salena Zito: “Well, this makes his meeting with his war team today awkward.”
HuffPo: Whatever Happened to Awarding For Deeds Actually Done?
Richard Cohen:In a stunning announcement, Millard Fillmore Senior High School chose Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year’s valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of “Mr. Rabinowitz’s intention to ace every course and graduate number one in class.” In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award, “f—ing awesome.”Heh.
At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention “to read a book someday.” The former Alaska governor was described as “floored” by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow to read a book. “You’ll see,” she said from her winter home in San Diego.
And again in a stunning coincidence, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar for best picture will be given this year to the Vince Vaughn vehicle “Guys Weekend to Burp,” which is being story-boarded at the moment but looks very good indeed. Mr. Vaughn, speaking through his publicist, said was “touched and moved” by the award and would do everything in his power to see that the picture lives up to expectation and opens big sometime next March.
Posted at 6:59 am by Glenn Reynolds
From a reader:. Obama says he'll accept Nobel as 'call to action'. Well it would have to be wouldn't it? He hasn't DONE anything yet.
Any chance we can get Kanye West to attend the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize. Talk about a time for him to step up
At the same time, voters disapproved of the way Obama was handling health care, 51 percent to 41 percent. His health-care plan was opposed by 47 percent, supported by 40 percent.
In mid-August the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) disclosed that it had destroyed the raw data for its global surface temperature data set because of an alleged lack of storage space. The CRU data have been the basis for several of the major international studies that claim we face a global warming crisis. CRU’s destruction of data, however, severely undercuts the credibility of those studies.Basically, the EPA is using discredited studies to justify regulating carbon dioxide which in itself is a massive attempt to control our energy supplies and lifestyle.
In a declaration filed with CEI’s petition, Cato Institute scholar and climate scientist Patrick Michaels calls CRU’s revelation “a totally new element” that “violates basic scientific principles, and “throws even more doubt” on the claims of global warming alarmists.
CEI’s petition, filed late Monday with EPA, argues that CRU’s disclosure casts a new cloud of doubt on the science behind EPA’s proposal to regulate carbon dioxide.