Foreign Policy

Why The Obama Peace Prize? Maybe to Make Him Feel Beholden


Ryan Sager at True/Slant with an interesting perspective, not necessarily one I buy, on what the Nobel committee might have hoped to accomplish with the Peace Prize to the double War president:

The explanation that makes more sense to me is that it's something closer to the old salesman's free-pen trick on a grand scale. A free pen from, say, a pharmaceutical rep to a doctor seems harmless enough. But it triggers a strong reaction in people: reciprocity. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Social science experiments have consistently shown that giving people thing—even tiny little trinkets—can make them reciprocate in substantial ways. There's a reason this free-pen trick exists, and that's because it works.

President Obama has just received the biggest free pen in the world. I'm not sure what happens to the substantial cash attached to the award, but the prestige is a big free pen in itself. And the intent seems clear enough to me. We, the international community, have bestowed our highest honor upon you. Now, you feel at least a little more inclined to lean in our direction on: global warming, Israel-Palestine, etc.

The Peace Prize body count. Nick Gillespie on why Obama should respectfully decline the honor.

NEXT: Democrats Discover Their Inner Jingos (Continued)

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  1. The Nobel Peace Prize…or as it’s known this year..”The Silver Medal in Synchronized Swimming”

  2. They like his policies (do nothing and get rewarded for it) so they decided to do the same.

  3. Maybe the Nobel committee is hoping that Obama will give them some of these?

  4. Obama won a Peace Prize?!! I’ve been a little busy workin’ today so I haven’t had a chance to check the news. What in Hades did he win a Peace Prize for?!!

  5. …not necessarily one I buy…


    “For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman.”…..nnel=11621

  6. If Obama has any self-respect, and any respect for the Prize itself, he should return it immediately.

    I’m deadly serious.

  7. It’s been said, Paul.

    The Nobel Committee acted stupidly.

      1. Keep turning until that dial says one-eight-zero!

        1. Don’t turn that goddamn wheel!

            1. Mother of God!

      2. Your conclusions are all wrong, Ryan Sager.

        1. Speaking of which, I didn’t think the trick of the free pen was reciprocity. I thought it was simply a billboard on the desk. It’s not that seeing it makes you feel obligated: seeing it reminds you.

    1. Some things in here don’t react well to bullets

      1. Yeah…like me!

  8. Brian, I am not buying that one either.

    Going with the international elitist blowjob theory.

    1. LIke I said, I’m new to the story and have been furiously googling for the last ten minutes, but my understanding is, this is exactly what the Nobel commission said: They want to ‘encourage’ his initiatives. Meaning: We know you ain’t done anything yet which warrants the prize, but we like what you say, so here’s this prize to help you keep your promises.

      1. Makes sense to me. They probably saw how well it worked for all those people who voted for peace, transparency, bipartisanship, closing Gitmo, an end to corruption in Congress, legalizing weed, etc.

        Man, college kids sure have Obama’s balls in a vice.

  9. You all are fucking racists.

      1. No, he’s mulatto.

      2. Only after the election, not before. Sort of the opposite of Bob Barr.

  10. “””We know you ain’t done anything yet which warrants the prize, but we like what you say, so here’s this prize to help you keep your promises.”””

    That’s the way I see it.

  11. What an insult this is to people who make actual sacrifices to pursue peace. An insult in a prize that’s diluted to virtually nothing over the years, but still an insult.

    Shit, Angelina Jolie deserves this more than President Void.

    1. Pitting some white trollop against a Strong Black Man? You’re a racist.

    2. That’s President O …or zero.

  12. Reason as usual is siding with the terrorists. No kidding

    “The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists – the Taliban and Hamas this morning – in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse told POLITICO.

    1. You know, Hitler won a Peace Prize too.

  13. He’s overanalyzing it. They just think Obama is dreamy.

  14. Reason, you guys really need to relax with all the Nobel prize postings. You are freaking out as much as the right wing blogs, which proves that Reason is nothing more than a shill for the Republican party.

    I don’t think he deserved it either, but most of us that aren’t right wing crazies just dismiss the Nobel Peace Prize as irrelevant as it has been for years.

    1. Get over yourself. This is the most surreal bizare story not involving Michael Jackson in my lifetime. Seriously WTF? How can Reason not put 30 posts up about it?

      1. True. Surreal is definitely the right word.

        It’s just… what?

    2. But the comedy possibilities! How can you pass on something so ripe for ridicule!

      Don’t post because of the stupidity of it all, do it for the yuks!

    3. …but most of us that aren’t right wing crazies just dismiss the Nobel Peace Prize as irrelevant as it has been for years.

      Bet you wouldn’t think it irrelevant were the cash to be deposited in your bank account. 🙂

  15. Scarborough and Time’s Mark Halperin?whom no one would accuse of being a right-wing hack?had some good-natured fun with the Nobel news. A laughing-out-loud Scarborough suggested among other things that Marisa Tomei was more deserving of her Academy Award. But the Messiah will not be mocked, and it wasn’t long before NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, on the set, announced that she had received an email from “a senior White House official” telling Joe to “stop being an a???e” [spelled out in the original, according to Savannah]. Mika Brzezinski tried to soft-pedal the insult, claiming the White House was “joking.”…..borough-e-

    the Whitehouse seriously thinks they deserve it. And for the record Tomei did deserve her Oscar.

  16. Marissa Tomei is a fine actress, and willing to show everyone her incredible little body. She is thousands of times more valuable than Barack Obama.

    1. Yoots! YOOTS!

    2. I hear she digs short bald guys, too.

      1. Damn… I’m tall…

    3. Before she became so old she was not unresponsive.

  17. In the spirit of the Nobel Committee, I nominate the following for what they might or might not do:

    – Bono for Economics
    – Madonna for Literature
    – Mugabe for Peace

    1. Stephanie Meyer clearly deserves the Lit award.

    2. Pablo Escobar deserves a posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

  18. – Bono for Economics


    1. Now that I think about it, I hereby nominate Bono for all of the Nobel Prizes. Surely, noone could argue with the force of his stage presence, his rough good looks, and his uplifting musical rhetoric.

  19. I’m taking 11 to 10 either way the Obamaman uses the word ‘bling’ in his acceptance speech.

  20. If they can give to a loser like Al Gore why not to a loser like Barack Obama. They should rename the award to the Nobel Snake Oil Salesperson Award.

  21. So, physicists and cancer researchers don’t get theirs for years, if not decades, after their discoveries/achievements.

    And Obama gets one a year and a half into his term?

    What am i missing here? To me, it just looks like the Nobel committee is stuffed-to-the-brim-with-shit. Hell, when can i expect my nobel prize for doin nothin’?

    1. A year and a half? I think you mean nine months.

      1. Sorry, I didn’t see this had already been corrected. Carry on.

    2. Correction, his nomination came in 12 days into his presidency. The nomination is based on achievements…

      1. How could the committee resist giving the award to Obama, the alpha and omega of all Social Democratic political wet dreams? For them, It was like giving it to a Jesus who had no social conservative baggage.

  22. wylie,

    Obama has been president for less than nine months. Of course, he was nominated by Mr. X before he’s served as many days.

    1. My bad, i started to do the math, but then i forget when he actually started the job, and cmon, i wasn’t about to go look that crap up.

  23. He’d not he’s.

  24. WTF? If Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, so did Richard Nixon.

    1. “Nixon with charisma? I COULD RULE THE UNIVERSE!”

    2. Nixon ended one more war than Obama has.

    3. I took a dump this morning. It deserves the peace prize more than Obama does.

      1. Dumps. Bono. Awards.

        Does southpark create reality now?

  25. You know what? Bono deserves it more than Obama. Seriously. And he doesn’t friggin’ deserve it.

  26. Further proof the Nobel committee/judges have dropped their standards below those of the Special Olympics.

    1. Bagging on the Special Olympics is just wrong on so many levels. Some of the competitors could be in the original Olympics.

    2. Tulpa makes a good point. Many of these power-that-be types on the international stage give retards a bad name.

  27. Wait, are you saying the Nobel Committee has political bias? And here I thought all these years that communists were just really good writers.

  28. This could all have been avoided if there were a Nobel Prize for bullshit.

    1. That’s every single one of them at this point.

  29. I deserve it more than Obama.

    1. My trained assistant Eddy deserves the peace prize more than 0bama. At least he doesn’t send drones to bomb people. Hell, if you give give him a bacon treat he’ll bark for world peace. Sometimes.

  30. Some previous laureates:

    Theodore Roosevelt, noted pacifist
    Elihu Root, who pushed Wilson to get into WW I.
    Arthur Henderson, the man who may have inspired Lenin to coin the phrase “useful idiot”, and whose Locarno treaty weakened the French & English alliance with the Czechs and Poles, later giving them weasel room to back out when Hitler attacked.
    Cordell Hull, author of the income tax laws, and one of the founders of the United Nations.
    Henry A. Kissinger & L? ??c Th? – for stopping the Vietnam war, three years before it stopped.
    United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces, in 1988. Perhaps they didn’t use any native populations as sex slaves that year.
    Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, for attempting to reform communism, and fucking up so badly he destroyed it. Well, that one may have been earned.
    Yasser Arafat & Yitzhak Rabin – for bringing peace to Israel & Palestine, with only 16 years of fighting since.
    Al Gore. Al. Fucking. Gore.

    Yeah, I’d say Obama fits in with that crowd.

    1. That’s the recipe for winning the Peace Prize: kill a bunch of people for years and then stop.

      Of course, Obama hasn’t stopped yet, so there you go.

      1. If that were the case, would not Charles Manson deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?

  31. Of course, he did promote peace between Professor Gates and that cop by inviting them to the White House for some piss-water.

    1. Please, …not another beer thread.

      1. Especially since all you drink is wine coolers, Troy.

        1. Warty makes me.

          1. Sure, blame it all on Warty. “Warty made me drink wine coolers.” “Warty made me wash your car with gravel.” “Warty made me face-rape a veterinarian.” “Warty made me live with a man for five years and get gay-married in Vermont and register at Macy’s.” “Warty made me watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

            Everyone here is sick of your excuses.

  32. John, Vo Nguyen Giap ended the Vietnam War. Nixon was just President when it happened.

    1. The fact that Nixon was in the process of leveling his country during the Christmas bombings had something to do with Giap’s desire to end the war. Nixon ended the war and got a Paris peace treaty that gave the US everything it wanted. It was only later, when North Vietnam rearmed in violation of the treaty, Congress cut off aide to the South, and Ford said we would never return to Vietnam no matter what, that the war re-started with a North Vietnamese invasion in April of 1975 and quickly ended again with the fall of Saigon.

  33. Not to worry I expect by 2020 everyone will have a Noble Peace prize, when the Nobel committe decides to award it to “The Human Race”.

    1. Can’t you just be happy with being Time’s Person of the Year?

    2. Didn’t Andy Warhol say we’d all be Nobel Laureates for 15 minutes?

      1. ANDY WHO???????

  34. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, for attempting to reform communism, and fucking up so badly he destroyed it.

    I like to think of Gorbachov as the “Inspector Clouseau” of totalitarian communism.


  35. Don’t you guys realize that President Obama got the Peace prize for the noble act of bombing the moon?

  36. The Nobel Peace Prize is now the equivilant of a Special Olympics Medal, different only in that the Special Olympics athletes actually do something to earn it.

    All he has done is continue Bush’s policies and lie prostrate before the world.

    Well, I’m off to the vomitorium.

    1. “Well, I’m off to the vomitorium. ”

      I don’t think that means what you think it means

  37. I’m not sure what happens to the substantial cash attached to the award,

    I’m pretty sure it goes to the Treasury, since he’s a sitting President.

    Which has to just really piss him and Michelle off. If the tossers in Oslo had waited ’til he left office, he could have had the prestige and the cash. Although I guess there’s probably no rule against giving it to him again later. ‘Cause he’s just so awesome!

    1. He donates it to ACORN.

    2. Maybe he’ll resign the presidency so that he can keep the cash. Oh please, please, please let that happen…. but then Biden would become president. Shit!

  38. I just notice the ad here on Hit & Run for the upcoming PBS Frontline piece on Afghanistan entitled “Obama’s War.”

    1. The end of PBS funding in 3…2…1


  39. B.P. – fair enough, since Vietnam became “Nixon’s War”.

  40. The Nobel Peace Prize is pretty much the Grammy of international politics – the pick range from out of touch to completely baffling and is interesting only because of the latter. If Jethro Tull can win best metal peformance in 1989, why can’t Obama have a Peace Prize.

  41. 1991, Matt. Yoots these dayses…

  42. Warty,

    1991 was when Metallica finally won best Metal performance. I was wrong though – Jethro Tull won it in 1988 not 1989.

    1. The Grammy was for Best Hard Rock/Metal performance. Sitting on a park bench….

  43. According to its statement, the Nobel Committee gave particular weight to Obama’s expressed desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

    We know no one has ever thought of that before!

    1. Obama also want s to fight climate change.

      Maybe the two are connected .

  44. From the Financial Times:

    “Lech Walesa, Poland’s former president and a Nobel laureate himself, said it was too early to bestow the award on the 48-year-old US president. “Who, Obama? So fast? For the time being Obama’s just making proposals. But sometimes the Nobel Committee awards the prize to encourage responsible action.””

    Obviously, Walesa is a racist un-American teabagger.

  45. It occurs to me that from henceforth, the door is open for Obama critics to point out the Nobel prize every time he makes a move militarily. “Today, Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama authorized that an additional 40,000 troops be deployed to Afghanistan.” Etc, etc.

    1. The price of comedic gold just soared today.

      1. Well the supply of comedic gold doubled. The value? Priceless.

  46. Walesa won for making right-wingers like unions. Now that is achievement.

  47. I for one cannot get enough Obama Peace Prize threads. They’ve made work so much more enjoyable today.

  48. The price of comedic gold just soared today.

    Even though the supply doubled, the Obama administration is soaking up every gram.

  49. Well, besides making a joke of the prize, maybe it makes him think twice before green-lighting the planned attack on Iran….

  50. Still, if you can win a Nobel Peace Prize simply for talking about peace during a presidential campaign, why didn’t Ron Paul win it? His rhetoric was ten times better, and he hasn’t bombed and killed anyone this year.

    1. Because Ron Paul isn’t a leftwing socialist doing his best to bring the US into line with the “civilized” countries of the world – you know, the social democracies of Europe.

  51. “John, Vo Nguyen Giap ended the Vietnam War. Nixon was just President when it happened.”

    Actually, the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Unless Nixon resigned later than has been reported for say, 35 years, I don’t think he was president then.

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  53. The Nobel Peace Prize in awarded by a committee consisting of a five Norwegian Socialists who want the US to be like Europe.

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