All my life, said Voltaire, I have had but one prayer: "O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous. And God granted it."
In awarding the Nobel Prize for Peace to Barack Obama, the Nobel committee has just made itself look ridiculous.
Consider. Though they had lead roles in ending a Cold War lasting half a century, between a nuclear-armed Soviet Empire and the West, neither Ronald Reagan nor John Paul II ever got a Nobel Prize.
In 1987, Reagan negotiated the greatest arms reduction treaty in modern time, the INF agreement removing all Soviet SS-20s and all U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles from Europe.
Other than hosting the "Beer Summit" between Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, what has Obama done to compare with what these statesmen did to make ours a more peaceful and better world?
What has Obama accomplished to compare with what the other sitting presidents to receive the Nobel Prize accomplished?
Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 for the Portsmouth Treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War. Woodrow Wilson won the 1919 Nobel Prize for getting Germany to accept his 14 Points as the basis for an armistice that ended the bloodiest war in all of European history.
And what about Richard Nixon?
In 1972, he made his historic trip to China, ending a quarter century of hostility, negotiated SALT I with Leonid Brezhnev, limiting ICBMs, and ended U.S. involvement in Vietnam. True, Nixon persuaded Hanoi to sign the Paris Peace Accords only after 13 days of "Christmas bombing."
Yet that did not deter the Nobel committee from giving the 1973 prize to Henry Kissinger and Hanoi 's Le Duc Tho.
Early in the week his award was announced, Obama snubbed the Dalai Lama, the 1989 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who has spent 50 years as a courageous voice for the rights of his Tibetan people, who have endured half a century of Chinese communist repression and cultural genocide. Which of these -- the Dalai Lama or Barack Obama -- seems more deserving of a Nobel Prize for Peace?
Since the news broke, the president has been a national object of mockery and mirth. In fairness, this is not his fault. There is no evidence he lobbied for the prize; no evidence he knew it was coming.
"Is this April Fools' Day?" said one startled aide.
In accepting, Barack was properly humble, saying that he did not belong in the company of previous recipients, that he would try to live up to the expectations his Nobel had created.