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Dan Balz's Take

Obama Abroad

Nobel Jury Defends Obama Decision

By the Associated Press
OSLO (AP) - The Norwegian committee that gave Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is defending its choice amid criticism that the U.S. president has not done enough to deserve the award.

In rare comments to media, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland tells The Associated Press that "we simply disagree that he has done nothing. He got the prize for what he has done."

Jagland says Obama reached out to the Muslim world and "modified" a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe.

Jagland and three other members of the five-seat Nobel panel told the AP that they had expected criticism of their decision. One of them, Aagot Valle, said some of the criticism was patronizing toward Obama.

Posted at 10:28 AM ET on Oct 13, 2009  | Category:  Obama Abroad
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Does that mean that those of you who question the questioners are even crazier?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 11:26 AM

Those who question, and continue at it are crazy.

The Nobel Jury has a mission and work by their guidelines... who are these detractors to question their decisions? Not to mention their only goal-- to embarrass and humiliate the president. It is shameful.

On behalf of intelligent Americans, I graciously say to the Jury-- thank you for sharing such an honor with our president."

Posted by: Victoria5 | October 14, 2009 10:50 AM

REAKING NEWS: This just in!!! Obama wins the 2009 Heisman Trophy after watching a college football game!!!

Posted by: Jerzy | October 14, 2009 10:44 AM


I am not "legitimate" for simply questioning The One?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 8:44 AM

Said this before, will say it again, if you are annoyed or angry that the President of the United States of American has been recognized for working towards global peace, then there is something seriously wrong with you..God help, because no one else can...

Posted by: ruraledcomm | October 13, 2009 10:08 PM

IS EUROPE TRYING TO SEND A MESSAGE TO AMERICA? Reading between the lines maybe this is a reasonable explanation:

The "war on terror" has not made the world more secure, it has stirred up a hornet nest. Replacing Bush's childish "fix it with your fists" school-bully foreign policy with a mature openess to talk and diplomacy may have ALREADY done more for world peace than all the bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq. EUROPE IS TELLING AMERICA TO GROW UP AND GIVING OUT CANDY AWARDS THE WAY YOU MIGHT ENCOURAGE A 10 YEAR OLD.

THIS IS NOT A VERY SUBTLE MESSAGE BUT IT IS LIKELY TO BE MISSED BY MANY SHORT-SIGHTED AMERICANS who think that this is about polarised republican/democrat arguements and the popularity of a media-star President. Europe already has nationalised health care; it is laughing about the current levels of American anxiety, and really does not care too much about whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. This prize is an indication of the way America is perceived, not by her terror-state enemies but by her traditional Eurpoean allies. It is a reminder that many European countries have significant muslim populations: deliberately provoking the muslim world provokes British, French etc. citizens not just the inhabitants of the Middle-East and Asian sub-continent.

THE MESSAGE THIS PRIZE SENDS IS ABOUT AS SUBTLE AS A BRICK. Will America recognise that the opinion of her allies actually matters? Will she realise that there is a big world out there, and the way she behaves has implications for her friends as well as her enemies? Can the American people come-of-age and recognise that there is a big, wide world out there? THERE ARE OTHER KIDS IN THE SCHOOL-YARD WHO ARE LESS AGGRESSIVE AND PERHAPS A LITTLE MORE MATURE; THEY ARE GROWING TIRED OF BULLY-BOY JUSTICE. WILL THE BULLY LISTEN TO ITS PEERS? OR WILL IT DISCOVER THAT NOBODY WANTS TO PLAY BALL ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY ARE TIRED OF BEING PUSHED AROUND? Bullies always end up as extremely lonely people.

Posted by: fidd1 | October 13, 2009 9:08 PM

Those who think that the Nobel Committee should not give the prize to Obama because Obama did not meet the writer's criteria are childishly fantasizing that they should be on the committee. They do not know the negative effects that George Bush created for the rest of the world. That antipathy needs expression and live with your discomfort. This is what happens when the American people elect the village idiot. If you don't like who was given the prize suck it up.

Prizes are generally not given to the most talented or exceptional, they are given to the best liked. Bush's illegitimate election in 2000 was achieved on that basis.

Those opposed to Obama's award, toughen up. His lack of credentials for receiving the prize is just the most recent expression of a common human frailty that the deserving are too frequently overlooked.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 13, 2009 6:14 PM

There was quite an uproar when ML King won the award. You know those bigots thought he was the principle disciple of egvil in their time. If he only knew his place.

The modern day incarnation of the bigots of the 60's are those who are opposed to peaceful coexistence like the neo-cons and the antiabortionists will never feel their existence is justified unless they are opposing evil. They are so blinded that they fail to realize that their interpretation of the bible was never certified by anyone but themselves. In their zeal they have become exactly what they espouse they oppose.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 13, 2009 5:56 PM

Obama is legally President and those who do not recognize it are afraid that others will find out that they are not legitimate.

It was necessary for the the Nobel committee to explain to the world that Cheney, although very self confident is living in the fantasy world that he is the sole determiner or good and evil. The man is so devoid of humanity that he can no longer distinguish right from wrong.

The Nobel Committee does not need to defend itself because they are being attacked by those who think war is the solution to finding peace.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 13, 2009 5:46 PM

For conservatives to honor our President for winning the most prestigious award known to mankind they would in sense be admitting the terrible legacy of our previous President and thus making themselves complicit for voting for him.

Posted by: JRM2 | October 13, 2009 5:15 PM


That's assuming, arguendo, that Barack Hussein Obama is even legally President ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 12:57 PM

President Obama sneezed today, Republicans are up in arms at the Presidents contaminating of the environment!

Posted by: minco_007 | October 13, 2009 11:58 AM


"Thorbjoern Jagland and Aagot Valle, ah yes the two great authorities on global affairs. Quite a diverse bunch on the Nobel Peace prize committee, a Norwegian and a slightly different kind of Norwegian."

Ha ha ha! INDEED! Provincialism and cluelessness in all its glory!

Posted by: arrabbiato | October 13, 2009 11:55 AM

Khun Klein or any gentleman, you don't have to be irrational as to refuse the award,not because it is the remaining world's authority, but because of the Obama principle that is to respect the giver's responsibility with the mutual respect, knowing well that he to whom something is given a priori belongs to the sphere of the thing given, which has been the principle of. open oppression of humanity in the classic relationship between master[the occupier, the white] and slave[the occupied].

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful feeling to share the joy that our own president is recognized by a special group of people outside America, because it is a great acknowledgement that you and I struggled to support the freedom he invoked and we made him the President, and we are still making a new president so to speak. And so we feel our image upgraded and once again we feel being loved as we used to, but this time we do our part: love others because they are the partners of this big global life, which is a change the Obama Presidency has brought to the world.
However, as far as the politics of the Nobel Prize awarding is concerned, it is important for us to keep in mind that this awarding is strictly grounded in their judgment and interest in the sense of respecting the principle of mutual respect and responsibility, which have been after all,insofar as its consistency is concerned which could have been better, relative to the acts of the past recipients including the Israeli prime minister, Began notorious of his terrorist activities in 1940s, and Henry Kissinger of the Carpet bombing of Vietnam War as Peace Laureates.
The Nobel Committee seems to have changed in concept and wants to convince the world’s population that it has the 21st century idealism in its concept and wishes to embrace Obama’s, but it in reality turns for the worse; in fact quite contrary to the idea of his[Obama] change in the status quo: the truth to hope as the Committee suggests[ but his is the differentiation of hope and truth], and wants us to repeat all sins of the status quo stating "Obama...given its people Hope for better life. The Swiss Committee even says "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world...on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
I simply hope what they mean by the concept is no more than Obama's theme that is not yet fully achieved: the change from the bottom up, not the change from the top down.
David D. Yun, a voice from “Obama dialectic” Oct, 10 in Bangkok

Posted by: Nonbeingdyun1 | October 13, 2009 11:50 AM


Posted by: arrabbiato | October 13, 2009 11:49 AM

I wouldn't be the LEAST surprised to find that the iconic Shepard Farley poster with Obama's face on it, that has "HOPE" written in big letters-was the major determinant in giving Obama the Peace Prize. I think the poster captivated those Norwegians'thinking...they wanted to get on the Obama starpower bandwagon as well!

P.S. And I have the strongest impression that his wife, who has been DEAD silent about her husband being awarded this prize, ALSO is irritated by it-she does NOT believe her husband deserved it!

Posted by: arrabbiato | October 13, 2009 11:46 AM

I can think of two people who, in my mind, didn't deserve the Noble Peace Prize.

- Because of his role in expanding the Vietnam War, I will always consider the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissenger for belatedly helping to end the war a gross error in judgement.

- I'm not fond of Yasser Arafat, either. And after his award, when he finally had a chance to help end the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he refused.

I'm glad Obama won the award, and I'm glad he won it for the reasons stated by the committee. And just like me, people in the U.S. and around the world who like Obama think he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, too.

Those who don't like him, though, think he's not deserving. Nothing he has done - or not done - or ever will do will change the mind's of his detractors.

In reality, there's really no objective way to know whether someone deserves the Nobel Peace Prize or not. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't much matter, though.

But for now, Obama has won the prize, and while some of us will glory in that, others are going to chafe under that knowledge, just as they will chafe under Obama's Presidency until January, 2017.

Posted by: davewyman | October 13, 2009 11:44 AM

you know , he got the formerly respected award after 12 days in office.
He hadn't modified the nuclear shield treaty yet, He hadn't reached out to Muslims.

Its' an insult to all those who EARNED it, that they gave it to him for either 1) not being bush or 2) for being black.

did anyone note he's sent 13K more troops to war?
Nobel Peace Prize, my azz

Posted by: tru-indy | October 13, 2009 11:42 AM


It was already irrevocably tainted by NOT awarding Mohandas Ghandi and then awarding Yassir Arafat and Jimmy Carter ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 11:41 AM

Some Americans will never accept that we are part of the world and not the end all. No-one hates us for our freedom. And most of you are too uninformed and naive to understand what's been done in the name of this Great Country. Most of you are fodder for those craving power and money, doing misdeeds in the name of us all. Can we fight the whole world at once? Are we ready to take on China, Russia, N. Korea, all at once? Your private motivations are rendering sensible disagreement extinct. Simple logic makes your defense suspect. The President trying to indoctrinate children into Socialism by asking them to study & work hard. JEEZZUS H. CHRIST!!

Posted by: minco_007 | October 13, 2009 11:39 AM

Truly, the Committee's post-award remarks highlight even more how flawed a decision this was to award Obama the Peace Prize. You don't give a Peace award simply because a leader makes statements, utters words that the Committee agrees with politically-that is the MOST provincial, and suspect kind of mind-set, and perhaps more importantly is absolutely inconsistent with Alfred Nobel's wishes as to how a Peace prize should be awarded! It is patently obvious that the Committee was awed still by the Obama starpower-and anything he said that conformed to these "5 Norwegian blokes" (a Brit description) political views was good enough for them. Appalling, and the greatest of insults to all those well-deserving candidates who put their lives on the line to achieve tangible results (not just making a speech) for peace. The Nobel Peace Prize has been irrevocably tainted for future awards by crass politics and provincial, very provincial thinking.

Posted by: arrabbiato | October 13, 2009 11:37 AM

From the full AP story:

"However, the decision stunned even the most seasoned Nobel watchers. They hadn't expected Obama, who took office barely two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline, to be seriously considered until at least next year."

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 11:34 AM


You have to admit that even impartial, seasoned Nobel Prize watchers were stunned at this award.

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 11:33 AM



Where is the DOJ Civil Rights Division investigation into the covert use (read: TORTURE) of silent, harmful microwave and laser directed energy weapons systems on unjustly targeted Americans and their families by a Bush-legacy federal-local "multi-agency coordinated action program" that continues to commit civil and human rights violations under Team Obama...

...including government-enabled, warrantless GPS-activated, covert "community stalking" harassment, surreptitious home entries -- officially-enabled domestic terrorism? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 13, 2009 11:30 AM


So, why no award for the Nobel Prize in Economics? Heck, let's give Obama the NBA Rookie of the Year too!

Posted by: JakeD | October 13, 2009 11:30 AM

what really hurts the fox news crowd is the total rejection of Bush by the world. Bush was so wrong, get over it!

Posted by: retiredfa00 | October 13, 2009 11:21 AM

What an eloquent comment, John1263, and so true. Additionally, through his leadership, Pres. Obama helped bring the US, and likely the world, back from the brink of economic disaster.

I keep hearing that taxes are so bad and tax cuts are the only way to stimulate the economy. We had eight years of record tax cuts, and it nearly finished us. There are civilized Americans who want schools and roads and a standing military, and are quite willing to pay for it. The unwashed masses who don't want "gummint" in their business should remove themselves to any third-world country they so desire.

Posted by: eed017 | October 13, 2009 11:21 AM

These detractors are the same ones who Rejected the President speaking to the kids, having a date night with his wife, taking a vacation, now you want us to think this is a principled argument about the Nobel Peace Prize? Your track record is littered with Crap! C'MON!

Posted by: minco_007 | October 13, 2009 11:17 AM

After spending most of my life listening to GARRISON KEILOR's tales of Norwegian bachelor farmers; I'm inclined to believe that this group has spent far too much time alone, indoors, and day dreaming about what could be, instead of what is.

When ever I wished for 'hope n' change', my mom would say:

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride;

If carrots were watches, I'd hang one by my side.

And to this I'd add:

If OBAMA had any dignity and character; he'd defer consideration to a later date....or else face the prospect of all of his appointees using the same criteria to absolve them of their failure to 'do anything'.

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | October 13, 2009 11:15 AM

What a fatuous moron Mr. Jagland is. The Prize's reputation was already teetering somewhere between daytime Emmy and Golden Globe, and now he looks like Bob Barker and The Price is Right. Did he intentionally expose himself to withering ridicule or was he SO stupid he didn't see the consequences of his actions ? I'm a doctor, so I deserve a Medicine Prize because I "hope" to cure cancer ? To the five villages in Norway who lost their idiots---we've located them !

Posted by: dan1138 | October 13, 2009 11:15 AM

Learned scholars charged with handing out one of the worlds most pretigious awards come to a conclusion. They look at evidence, evaluate evidence for a living. They are students of world affairs.

fux news, radio demagogues, and a bunch of reactionary thugs with web access come to another conclusion. Folks who cheer when their own country fails. Folks who put tea on their heads, carry posters of watermellons, think their elected leader is a communist fascist soclilsit muslim from a foreign nation and listen to the ranting of glen beck as if it were naything other than a clown show. Folks who think acorn means anything to anyone and is some sort of machievellian power-source changing the direction of world events.

Which is more credible? What a tough call...

Posted by: John1263 | October 13, 2009 11:13 AM

Of course Obama did not deserve the Nobel peace prize. I mean, seriously...

But why are conservatives taking this out on the president? He did nothing wrong here, he didn't nominate himself or give himself the award. Not Obama's problem...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | October 13, 2009 11:12 AM

There is a aspect of proportionality that comes into play. The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world. When he speaks in a meaningful way, the political tectonic plates shift around the world. As Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Martin Luther King demonstrated, Words which have moral or political force behind them matter.
The committee made a wise choice that has only been made controversial by those who (a) harbor ill will toward a successful Obama Presidency or (b) have dead air or column inches to fill and lack the creativity or intelligence to find something else to talk about.

Posted by: allan3 | October 13, 2009 11:11 AM

That's it! A speech to "the muslim world" and removing ABM's from Poland (which is a lie anyway, because it happened AFTER Obama was nominated) is all it takes to get Obama the No-Ball Prize! What a farce.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 13, 2009 11:00 AM

Removing those missiles, which Russia likened to their placement of missiles in Cuba was a huge step toward "peace". What Americans don't realize is that Russia placed two subs off our coast in response to the placement of that shield in Poland. Just last year, we had a candidate suggesting we should commit ourselves to a shooting war with Russia over their conflict with Georgia. I can imagine anyone in Europe would probably value the mere existence of an Obama given the alternatives. So he is being rewarded for moving America off a path toward war with a major power like Russia, which would naturally spill over into Europe. Americans have the privilege of not being directly affected by much of the inflammatory rhetoric of our leaders. When Bush waged his war on terrorism, while there have been no major attacks in the US, the level of violence as a result of terrorism increased exponentially elsewhere. Thus, internationally America has not been perceived as a peace-loving nation, and has been perceived as RESPONSIBLE for many of the global conflicts that are killing millions of people world wide. As such, in President Obama's short tenure as president, other countries have seen a dramatic shift in rhetoric from the US and this shift has resulted in MORE alliance building and reliance on diplomacy as opposed to war. See Iran and N. Korea for example. The US had less evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, yet went to war with Iraq whilst completely destabilizing the region. We can only imagine what Senator McCain would have done with that information on Iran. But I don't think it's unreasonable to assume we would have resorted to some military solution, whether it be bombing their facilities or an all out ground war. Given these alternatives, President Obama is clearly a man of diplomacy if not peace, and the Nobel Committee acted in good faith honoring him as such.

Posted by: onifadee | October 13, 2009 11:00 AM

The Nobel committee is absolutely correct. Obama is like a master violinist - you watch and it seems so easy that you get the false impression that they aren't doing anything special.

The right thinks that just because they say something loudly and in unison it makes it true. They also mistake the fact that president Obama is not spending all his time talking about all the amazing things he is doing and has done that he hasn't done anything. He is the first really visionary political leader the world has seen since Mandella, and the first the US has produced since Kennedy. Even Clinton is a piker by comparison.

Posted by: John1263 | October 13, 2009 10:59 AM

Thorbjoern Jagland and Aagot Valle, ah yes the two great authorities on global affairs. Quite a diverse bunch on the Nobel Peace prize committee, a Norwegian and a slightly different kind of Norwegian.

Posted by: unoriginal267 | October 13, 2009 10:59 AM

"Jagland says Obama reached out to the Muslim world and "modified" a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe."

"Reaching out" involved more speeches, not accomplishments.

I guess you can call hanging out our Eastern European allies in the wind an "accomplishment". Vladimir Putin would probably agree.

But all that was AFTER his nomination. Is this an admission that he'd doing NOTHING to earn the nomination itself?

Posted by: AnAmericanFirst | October 13, 2009 10:49 AM

Man of Peace? He just authorized more troops to Afghanistan!

Posted by: ca2va1 | October 13, 2009 10:47 AM

What else could we expect from Communist Norwegians who value "tolerance and diversity" as if God approved of these limp-wristed platitudes.

Posted by: AmericaTheUglyandHateful | October 13, 2009 10:45 AM

committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland tells The Associated Press that "we simply disagree that he has done nothing. He got the prize for what he has done."

.....which is nothing....

Posted by: WildBill1 | October 13, 2009 10:44 AM

The Nobel Prize committee says one thing. A bunch of people on the internet say another thing. Who to believe? Who to believe!?!?

Posted by: wwc4g | October 13, 2009 10:43 AM

I'm sure the digital TV transition played a HUGE part in the committee's decision.

The committe screwed up, pure and simple. Obama won for not being Bush and for his unfulfilled aspirations and high-flying speeches. The mere fact that the committee members agree with his goals and speeches doesn't warrant the award.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | October 13, 2009 10:36 AM

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