The Nobel Peace Prize, already devalued, has sunk to a new low. This assessment has nothing to do with one's estimation of this year's recipient, President Barack Obama. Most of those on the left, with a few predictable exceptions such as the New York Times, regard giving the president the award as belittling him and the prize.
How did this happen? What was the Oslo Committee's motive?
They may be moral idiots, but they are not stupid: I believe that they had two clear aims.
One is to undercut American exceptionalism -- the notion that America has a superior moral value system to that of the "world" (specifically the United Nations and the European Union) and America's willing to use its unique power, alone when necessary, in accordance with that value system. The other is to promote an essentially pacifist agenda.
Here is the entire announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize committee:
1. "The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
Meaning: No more Lone Ranger America.
2. "The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."
Meaning: The Nobel Committee wants no country to possess nuclear weapons. That an American president shares this dream and is working to achieve it excites the Nobel Committee -- and the world's left generally -- beyond words.
Many people around the world -- not just Americans -- would characterize a world in which America and all other decent countries had no nuclear weapons not as a dream, but as a nightmare. But for the naive left-wing (a redundant phrase: If one is not naive about evil, one is not on the left) members of the Nobel Committee, the prospect of encouraging an American president to dismantle his country's nuclear arsenal was too tempting to allow to pass -- even at the price of appearing foolish.
3. "Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play."
Meaning: To the international left, as embodied by the five members of the Nobel Prize Committee, the United Nations is the beacon of hope for mankind.