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The Nobel Peace Prize is no longer about peace watch

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    Today's Nobel Peace prize has made me question whether it is really about peace any more and I have come to the conclusion that it would appear not to be; it seems to be much more about human rights, or beyond that is just purely a political tool. To me, the last time I was actually awarded due to works for peace was all the way back in 2008 and before that in 2002, even if it wasn't without controversy.

    To quote The Oxford Dictionary of Twentieth Century World History, the prize is awarded to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses", and in fact that is a direct excerpt from Nobel's will. I shall ignore the fact that it goes to high profile figures rather than those that have genuinely done the most, however. In the past they have refused to give out the reward because nobody met the criteria, clearly they no longer wand to adhere to Nobel's wishes.

    Now, looking at some of the recent awards:
    This year, as I expect you know, it was awarded to Malala and some Indian guy, basically for advocating education for all. Now, first, this has nothing to do with peace, it's more to do with human rights, and second I expect it's for political reasons, namely Malala's story; just like the wasting of public funds treating her, a political move. You then also have that the other individual has been doing it for decades, and is credited with the International Labour Organisation's Convention No. 182, and I would say he is more deserving than many of the other recipients in recent times, but it seems to take a girl being shot to let him win it.

    Step back a year and we see the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons winning it. While this, strictly, would adhere to the quote given above (bar the "most" part), I don't really count it since it is just a political move and actually the organisation should be unnecessary. I, like many others, feel that this is a wholly political move, after all, mere months before there were the chemical attacks in Syria which is almost certainly the reason they received the award. then you get that chemical weapons are illegal under international law, so such an organisation should be unnecessary, but that's an aside.

    In 2012 it was awarded to the EU, excuse me, what? According to the Nobel Foundation it is "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." I must admit, I'm with Farage on this one, that it undermines the credibility of the award, what has the EU really done to these ends, namely the peace part? Was there really any risk of war in Western Europe since WWII that the EU has avoided? And for that matter, just war in Europe, in my opinion, the answer to both is no. The decision, obviously, wasn't without dispute, in an open letter by Demond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquivel (who had all won the prize previously) they said that they think the EU stands for "... security based on military force and waging wars rather than insisting on the need for an alternative approach" and that "... the Norwegian Nobel Committee has redefined and reshaped the prize in a way that is not in accordance with the law".

    I shall clump 2010 and 2011 together as both being, similar to this year, for peaceful human rights work which, again, doesn't fulfill Nobel's dying wish. I can't necessarily say whether they are political or not, and I'm not going to go trawling through old news to find some potentially tenuous link for 2011, however I do have one, maybe tenuous one, for 2010. Given to Liu Xiaobo who has earlier than year been imprisoned. Much like Syria, I imagine it's in protest of this arrest, much like I imagine all his nominations by a number of Nobel laureates is in protest to this arrest.

    2009 is an easy one, given to Obama because he's the first Black president of the US, simple, at that point he had done very little and even in hindsight can we really say that he deserves it? What has he really done that is exceptional as far as Nobel's criteria goes?

    Based on the little I know, 2008 was the last time it was rightly given. It was given to Martti Ahtisaari "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to solve international conflicts."

    Finally, 2007, it was awarded to Al Gore and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". Seriously? WTF HAS CLIMATE CHANGE GOT TO DO WITH PEACE?! How the hell does anything to do with climate change fulfill Nobel's criteria?!

    There are more, in my opinion, jokes further back, but not as fequently as recently, before the turn of the century things didn't seem too bad, and especially before, say, the 60s, when they would actually say "nobody deserves it" rather than "let's be all political and give it to somebody who doesn't meet the criteria #YOLO". In my opinion such jokes include giving it to UNICEF, given they have little to do with peace; the UN peacekeepers and also the UN as a whole, given it's basically their job; questionably Mandella given his terrorist streak until incarceration; to the presisent of the ECHR a rather long time ago because lol ECHR and little to do with peace. What will we have next year? The ICC?
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    Can see it going to Tony Blair for his advancement of peace in the middle east.
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    Yeah frequently an utter farce and it goes back further than that... e.g. Henry Kissenger (1973) who was basically the warmonger responsible for the USA bombing Laos. People have been scratching their heads about that one for 40 years.

    Wouldn't say treating malala was a waste of money at all, showing the world that islamists are barbaric scum is much better than telling the world that islamists are barbaric scum...
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    I can see the reasoning behind the Eu getting it. I don't agree with it, but I can see the argument. The organisation has done a lot to foster cooperation and peace in Europe. More so if it is taken to mean the efforts at European integration since 1945, rather than just the EU itself.

    Still I agree with you on some of the other recent recipients. Obama was a joke, he made a few remarks and noises about removing some nuclear weapons and a rhetorical speech about reaching global zero. All meaningless and things he really has not made much progress on.

    I suppose the prize see's itself as being deserved by those who do good work for humanity. If you want to take the prize as being literal MLK should never have gotten one either. I don't think what you note is a recent trend.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    Yeah frequently an utter farce and it goes back further than that... e.g. Henry Kissenger (1973) who was basically the warmonger responsible for the USA bombing Laos. People have been scratching their heads about that one for 40 years.

    Wouldn't say treating malala was a waste of money at all, showing the world that islamists are barbaric scum is much better than telling the world that islamists are barbaric scum...
    I didn't say that it was perfect before, more that it has been particularly bad recently, and they had already shown themselves that they are "barbaric", treating their victims doesn't show it any further, there was already the global attention, tbh, the offer was probably made only because of the global attention, just like probably all the other governments that offered; as I said in the OP, a political gesture, not a gesture of kindness.
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    It has never been about peace. It has always been political, much like the Eurovision Song Contest.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    I didn't say that it was perfect before, more that it has been particularly bad recently, and they had already shown themselves that they are "barbaric", treating their victims doesn't show it any further, there was already the global attention, tbh, the offer was probably made only because of the global attention, just like probably all the other governments that offered; as I said in the OP, a political gesture, not a gesture of kindness.
    well if you look up wikipedia you'll certainly see a lot of recent entries for controversial nobel peace awards... this doesn't prove things have got worse recently, you should be note that there is a recent event bias to wikipedia (especially) human cognition in general therefore you'd have to do a bit more digging to see how controversial the awards were at the time.

    At the end of the day it's private money and the committee can dispose of awards any way they see fit within the relevant law - people have to make their own minds up how important or meaningful they think the awards are.
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    I think I'll go through them all and give a very brief comment, if there are multiple recipients with different comments they will be given as a, b, c as listed on this wikipedia page.

    Spoiler:
    Show
    1901-13: fair enough
    1917: tbh, a bit of a joke imo
    1919, 1920, 1921 a: fair enough
    1921 b: the first part, a bit iffy imo, otherwise fine
    1922: a bit of a joke imo
    1925&26: can't say I really agree with this too much, mainly because being *******s to Germany
    1927&1929: fair enough
    1930: bit of a joke, maybe because of a slight bias against religion
    1931: I guess
    1933-37: fair enough
    1938: a joke
    1944: Red cross again, so a joke imo
    1945: fine I guess
    1946: both seem a bit iffy to me
    1947: a bit of a joke
    1948: I suppose this is them being political, so questionable
    1949&1950 seem fine to me
    1951-1953 sounds like a bit of a joke
    1954: a total joke to me
    1957: fine
    1958: bit of a joke
    1959: seems fine
    1960: fine I suppose, but not really
    1961: questionable
    1962: questionable
    1963: Red [insert symbol here] again, guess what, joke.
    1964: questionable, the quote given is very questionable
    1965: as said in OP, a joke
    1968: see above
    1969: see above
    1970: nothing to do with peace, not directly at least, so joke
    1971: upon having a quick look at what Ostpolitik is, fair enough, although the impact for peace is questionable
    1973. a: as said above, **** off
    1973. b: I like this guy, refused to take it because the job wasn't done, yes yes yes
    1974: seems ok
    1975: I guess I need to let them through on the "disarmament" point
    1976: fine
    1977: little to do with peace, so no. Wouldn't be surprised if there was some world event influencing that one
    1978&1979: somewhat questionable, 79 much more so
    1980: I suppose you could let it through in that it was using non violent means against a military government
    1981: again, UN organisation, so joke, and to do with refugees, so double joke
    1982: fair enough
    1983: human rights, so no
    1984: I suppose so
    1985: I guess I can let it slide
    1986: total joke IMO
    1987: fair enough
    1988: As said in OP, total joke
    1989: practically his job description, I guess I can let it slide though
    1990: ummm? I might be missing something here.
    1991&1992: again, just human rights by non-violent means
    1993. a:as said in OP, questionable
    1993. b: don't know specifics of this individual, so I will let it slide
    1994: I guess it's fine, although their work doesn't seem to have progressed much since
    1995: I guess I've let this sort of thing thorugh before, so fine
    1996: fine
    1997: fine
    1998: fine
    1999: humanitarian work, so no
    2000: human rights so no, but peace and reconciliation so yes
    2001. a: as said many times before, UN so no
    2001. b: I guess
    2002: Not sure how I feel about this (Jimmy Carter)
    2003&4: human rightsy ****
    2005: questionable reasoning
    2006: human rights and ****
    2007: discussed, **** no
    2008: fine
    2009: coz he's black
    2010&11: human rights/political
    2012: a joke
    2013&14: political, the latter also human rights


    So having gone through it, started going down hill post war, particularly in the last 2-3 decades heavily focusing on human rights rather than peace. Personally, I also feel that the military and being heavily armed is at least partially necessary to maintain peace, although that idea has also frequently been demonstrated to be questionable. One thing I am fairly certain of in my advocacy in nuclear deterrents (or other WMDs for that matter), hence why some were let to slide purely because earlier I let anti nuclear stuff through, and strictly it adhere's to Nobel's wishes.
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    (Original post by Pseudocode)
    It has never been about peace. It has always been political, much like the Eurovision Song Contest.
    I was more meaning in that they have nothing to do with peace these days, at least they used to be given for people with reasons as to what they did towards peace and ****, now it just seems to be "something happened to this person and they do human rights ****, or this group is somehow relevant atm and is loosely tied into war and peace and stuff, let's give it to them"
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    ---snip---
    and they had already shown themselves that they are "barbaric", treating their victims doesn't show it any further, there was already the global attention, tbh,
    An important truism...
    One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic.
    (attributed to Stalin, who lets face it was a bit of an expert in this subject area)

    in this context, one example of islamist brutality who lives to tell the tale and emotionally engage people is more valuable than dozens of mass graves filled with unknown, anonymous victims.

    She puts a face on it.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    An important truism...
    One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic.
    (attributed to Stalin, who lets face it was a bit of an expert in this subject area)

    in this context, one example of islamist brutality who lives to tell the tale and emotionally engage people is more valuable than dozens of mass graves filled with unknown, anonymous victims.

    She puts a face on it.
    But at the same time had they died they would have probably been a martyr, and what you said is still political motivation; people will listen to her because a) she is a child and b) is female (and c) the attempted assassination) and it's a sign of "good will". As said, before the world was clamoring to try to get her to treat her it was already big news, it wouldn't have been just another unknown victim (for the reasons given in the previous sentence).
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    I think the Nobel Prize has become politicised to an extent. I mean what did Obama actually do to merit it?

    This year's Physics prize seem like worthy winners. Inventing the blue light LED.
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    I don't think the Nobel peace prize is worth much these days.

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    (Original post by perfectsymbology)
    I think the Nobel Prize has become politicised to an extent. I mean what did Obama actually do to merit it?

    This year's Physics prize seem like worthy winners. Inventing the blue light LED.
    I can't say I have looked at the other prizes, but I would say they're largely much "harder" to politicisise, bar of course saying, for example, "you're a Russian scientist so, despite really deserving this, you can't have it because of what you're government is doing", which is completely out of the spirit of the award, and science in general.
 
 
 
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