Can some Norwegian please translate the politics underlying this news report from AFP?
First of all the report itself couldn’t be more vague. It claims that the “Norwegian tabloid” Verdens Gang says that three of the five members of the (now infamous) Nobel Committee “had objections” to awarding the prize to President Obama.
There were five members on that committee:
- one from the Progress Party (VG calls this group “right wing populist. I wonder where they’d actually come out on an American political spectrum),
- one from the Conservative Party,
- one from the Socialist Left, and
- two from the Labour Party.
The chairman of this august body is one of the two members from the Labour Party. Did his vote simply carry more weight so that he was able to vote the others down?
Last week, this man (secretary Geir Lundestad) was telling AFP that the vote was “unanimous”. This week, Verdens Gang went nosing around to see what it could find.
– – – – – – – – –
It appears that “unanimous” is a fungible word.
“VG has spoken to a number of sources who confirmed the impression that a majority of the Nobel committee, at first, had not decided to give the peace prize to Barack Obama,” the newspaper said.
No one knows who these “sources” are so we’re left to guess how much arm-twisting and promise-making went on in order to get that unanimous vote.
We’ll probably never know for sure how this one went down. Unless…do Norwegian politicians publish their memoirs at the same rate Americans do on leaving office?
Given the world’s reaction to their choice (from anger to derision to applause), what we may be seeing here is a smidgen of buyer’s remorse. Ah well, too late now y’all. You had your chance to pick someone else but you didn’t.
This decision has tarnished the Nobel Committee in many places around the world. However, the Prize has been around for a long time and they’ll eventually recover that lost ground.
Meanwhile, one has to wonder what accepting the prize is going to cost President Obama? It would have been insulting to refuse their recognition, but he knows that everyone else knows he didn’t deserve this on the merits. Getting an affirmative action prize must be galling for such a sensitive man.
Come 2012, depending on how events play out, he could find that award a big liability during his campaign. Makes you wonder what that Committee was really up to, doesn’t it?