How Obama can earn that Nobel prize

October 9, 2009

The Nobel committee says it awarded President Barack Obama the 2009 Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” In particular, the committee noted Obama’s multilateral approach on the issues of climate change and nuclear disarmament.

But where has Obama been when it comes to using diplomacy and cooperation to promote global trade? Trade is essential to global peace and prosperity. And given the infamous role of protectionism in the Great Depression, it’s no surprise that open and expanded trade has been at the core of the post-World War Two economic order.

The Great Recession, though, has shattered that consensus. An analysis by economists Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke has calculated that “world trade is falling much faster now than in 1929-30.” Paul Krugman says trade “has fallen through the floor in a way that it literally never has before, including in the Great Depression.” Global Trade Alert, a trade watchdog group with links to the World Bank, found at least 121 protectionist measures had been implemented by G20 nations during the past year.

Just of late, the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on steel pipe from China, while Australia may impose ownership limits on foreign buyers of big companies. “So far, traditional trade protectionism has been a low-grade fever,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a recent speech. “But the temperature is rising.”

And actions by the Obama administration and Congress show that America is hardly immune. Indeed, they have been spreading the disease. Among the protectionist outbreaks: The “Buy American” provisions in the $787 billion stimulus package, the blocking of Mexican trucks from U.S highways, the GM and Ford bailouts, inaction on pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, tariffs on Chinese tires.

An American administration that seems disinterested in free trade? “You can drop the word ‘seems,'” says Bruce Josten, head of governmental affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Looking for an explanation? Here’s one: Bad economics makes for convenient politics. Since the Obamacrats might not be able to deliver the top two items on Big Labor’s wish list — reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement and passing rules making it easier to organize workplaces — they’re giving union supporters just about everything else.

Obama’s political advisers may not understand the importance of free trade, but his economic ones do. Obama should listen to them and begin to lead. Give Congress the green light to pass the free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Commit to getting the Doha trade round concluded within a year.

The centrist Democratic Leadership Council also suggests that Obama reconnect trade to national security by asking Congress for a broad long-term waiver of tariffs for low-income countries and large Muslim-majority states. Instead of increasing aid to Pakistan, for instance, why not eliminate $360 million a year in tariffs on its exports?

If Obama did all that, not only would he be worthy of the Peace Prize, but probably the Nobel Prize for Economics as well.


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It looks like it was awarded to him in order to clean up the war in the Middle-East.

Posted by Bill C | Report as abusive

I listened to public radio this morning and heard several callers born in other countries but living here now (not sure if citizens or not) praising what Obama means to the rest of the world as well as the majority of Americans who voted him in. That is, a big shift from the disturbing nationalism of the Bush years to respecting and collaborating with other nations, which the reality of our world economy calls for. About 3 1/2 years ago on a flight to Paris I chatted with a 30-something French guy who wanted to know one thing: “How could you (meaning Americans in general) vote for Bush a **second** time?” I shook my head and said I didn’t know either. I think the Nobel committee’s decision is clearly intended to applaud the sea change Obama now represents, and I hope, will carry forward.

Posted by K. Berggren | Report as abusive

How can any man accept this award or for that matter even be nominated for such an award when he has never done anything to earn it? Hummmm, all you have to do is run your mouth off using a teleprompter and words written by handlers. That is very scary!
It sure puts down the real accomplishments of previous winners, the same as if they didn’t do anything except talk about what they would have liked to do.
I want to see words put into actions and those actions showing very positive results.

Posted by Mark Hoisington | Report as abusive

Unfortunatly the Obama award does not seem to follow the intent of Nobel’s rules for this Peace Prize. However it is now water under the bridge. At this point let’s move forward and hope that this years winner can actually get something done that has a positive effect on world peace and the world economic condition. If this works, there is no loss here. Let’s see if the man an walk the walk.

Posted by G. Abbale | Report as abusive

Award is Nobel PIECE prize – – – Prez B.O. wants the biggest piece of YOUR MONEY . Wake up folks !

Posted by ckfacts | Report as abusive

He won it for *not* being Bush, hands down; for not being a bullheaded, naïve, war-hawking idiot.

Posted by McBob | Report as abusive

A portion of Americans, it seems can only think in terms of America, that’s that’s why they “don’t get it”. 18 months ago, most of the world hated America, the same cannot be said today – that’s worthy of recognition

Posted by McDave | Report as abusive

Rare public figures like Obama must walk a very fine line. They are like the bomb disposal crew in the PBS series “Danger: UXB” during the London Blitz. They must dismantle the Deep State without losing their political, as in the case of Sen. Frank Church, or their biological life, as in the case of the Kennedys (all three) and Martin King (not to mention Malcolm).

Jack Kennedy was on the verge of “scattering the CIA to the four winds” after Nixon’s pet project in the Bay of Pigs; he had made semi-public his plans to pull the plug on the inchoate Vietnam War; he had already issued the Executive Order 11110, returning the power of the issuance of currency, the fondly remembered Silver Certificate, to the government. Upon his death, Johnson quickly undid that brief freedom from the tyranny of the Banksters, the so-called “Federal Reserve”. Kennedy had fired Allen Dulles, the nation’s all-time greatest traitor, but shortly thereafter, Dulles sat on the Warren Commission, dismissing the conspiracy. Years later the Committee on Assassinations admitted it was real.

Frank Church may have done more harm to the Deep State, exposing it on the permanent, indelible record. He was politically assassinated by vast influx of money from the still extant apartheid South African regime, but they could not erase his great mark on the tree.

Obama’s greatest hope should be to do things that the Deep State cannot undo by killing him. That will make such drastic measures less likely.

Posted by ProudPrimate | Report as abusive

Read people, he won it for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” His idealism and nascent efforts attempt to unite the world and solve our priorities (climate change, the recession, resolving world conflicts, etc), but he clearly states his efforts are nothing without cooperation. By criticizing him from the get-go, people are impeding any progress he might have. Obama deserves a chance and the world should give him its support because that is part of cooperation, otherwise the situation will be just as bad as the decades old seemingly unresolvable conflicts like that in Darfur or between Iran and Palestine.

He is the one person standing up and saying let’s do something about it, these are our goals, now let’s work together. The world and the times need that. He is motivating the world to unite/cooperate to solve its conflicts because now is the time to do it. How can he do ‘anything’ (in the concrete sense used here) if his success depends on worldwide cooperation? If his efforts fail, it won’t be his fault, it will be the world’s fault for saying “no” when someone said “let’s do something”.

Posted by Yadira C. | Report as abusive

Obama can earn the peace prize by eliminateing the divide amoung American people. He can do this by reverseing his role with abortion and homosexuals.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

all Obama has to do to earn his prize (now that he’s gotten it) is: not be a jerk like some former presidents of a particular (unmentionable) u.s. political party of treason and NO.

Posted by dr. arp | Report as abusive

“Free trade” is a myth. Every country subsidizes selected industries in some way.

Some countries even import low-paid temporary guest workers on short term visas to depress the wages of their own citizens.

Posted by Eirik Thorvaldsson | Report as abusive

I would like the Nobel Commitee to name the “extaordinary efforts”, and to name also which ones are fulfilled. As for me, I still see the American troops being killed in Afghanistan, Iraqi nationals are frustrated and scattered in the near-bys, people in Ghaza are still suffering from the Israeli siege and the killings, problem in Darfour is still existing..etc. Although I like Mr. Obama, BUT I think the Commitee made a jump before his making any positive fulfillment. Let me tell you what is said here; Mr Obama is following the same line like Bush but in a delicate, charismetic way

Posted by Fatima | Report as abusive

The lasting freedom of the people of Afganistan , including the women would be a worthy accomplishment

Posted by barri | Report as abusive

Is it true he was nominated for this prize only two weeks after his election. If so, what had he done other than community organization. What had he done for peace in the world? What must this make past winners or those that are really physically sacrificing for the good of the world feel like??

Posted by Pat Williams | Report as abusive

Obama needs to resign before he breaks us.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

This is stupid! The whole matter is utterly ridiculous!

Who is awarded ANYTHING before he/she has earned it? In the past, we called it “fixed”, now it’s legitimate because the subject is Obama? RIDICULOUS!!!!!

Listen to yourselves! Everyong’s waxing “profound” suggestiong what Obama needs to to do earn an award he’s already been granted! NONSENSE!!!!

Posted by JustAGuy | Report as abusive

I think listening to President Obama’s response to awakening to news of the award was so refreshing. Again, like on the day I was able to vote for someone that really felt like he would make a difference, my feelings of satisfaction were overwhelming. It was another indicator of recognizing his role as one of the visionaries in helping the world understand our similarities and interdependence.
I hope we find a way to understand that he has already truly been recognized, and has nothing to prove.
I appreciate how much I’ve been able to grow in this positive atmosphere, and hope it opens all of us to be better listeners, and to share…

Posted by Vern Read | Report as abusive

One way for him to win it … is to resign and restore some civility and honor to the government.

Posted by Lobo | Report as abusive

Ever since John Kennedy, US Presidents have been kept in check by the Globalists – via the use of fame and fortune. President Obama was distracted nicely with the health care issue, while the US Treasury was raided and the US Citizenry was forced into a large debt to save the world bank consortium. But President Obama woke up one morning and realized that he was Commander and Chief, and has since become properly involved in the real issues of the Presidency. What to do? The Globalist gave him the coveted Nobel Peace Price for doing nothing – that is, to distract him by ego. I find it quite enthralling that a major peace prize is given to a man involved in high level military talks involving the art of war. It reminds me of something out of the Book of Revelation.

Posted by Frank Verderber | Report as abusive