As the much anticipated holiday of Halloween approaches, and the nation’s youth prepare to run from house to house taking advantage of the free confectionary treats that are handed out unconditionally, one wonders if the Nobel Peace Prize selection boards have prematurely gotten into the spirit of the season.
The Nobel Prize has always been a source of some controversy, from the selection of Yasser Arafat to Jimmy Carter, and with the most recent selection of President Barack Obama, one wonders if yet another mistake has been made. As I discussed in my previous column, Mr. Obama has not been particularly successful in accomplishing what he said he would accomplish. But I shall not dwell on Mr. Obama’s qualification (or lack thereof) for the Prize.
In reading the will of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize, one can see that despite being well-intentioned, Mr. Nobel’s prerequisites for the Peace Prize are ambiguous, to the point of threatening American national security. In his will, Nobel states that:
“…and one part to the person who shall 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.”
Nobel’s intentions are fine until he references several things; first, the “abolition or reduction of standing armies.” Whose armies is he referring to? Armies everywhere? If this is the case, the Nobel Peace Prize is thoroughly un-American. The reduction of the army at a time when foreign powers present a threat to America is something no true American would ever do. Why? In the words of General George S. Patton, “Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.” But why do Americans fight? It is something beyond the love of war itself; it is the defense of one’s own life, the well being of one’s family, and the preservation of the American way. How does America accomplish these things? The answer is simple: by having an army that is capable of whipping any other country’s army into total submission. But, at the same time, the fact that the U.S. has a powerful army is to the advantage of many nations. The commanding presence of U.S. military forces around the world acts as a deterrent to would-be combatants, making foreign nations safer.
The second part that Nobel references that raises a red flag is the mention of “fraternity between nations.” Let me start by saying that I am all for international cooperation. What I am NOT for is international assistance at the cost of U.S. military and diplomatic power. Once again, Mr. Nobel is very nebulous in his requirement; does “fraternity between nations” mean the economic weakening (through, perhaps, United Nations “aid”) or the military deterioration of one nation to accommodate the needs and wants of a weaker nation?
When Charles Darwin observed finches in the Galapagos Islands, he saw that those who lived succeeded not by making sure all the other finches were well fed and happy all the time. Those who lived primarily looked out for themselves, and in doing so, were an asset to the ecosystem; by being principally concerned with self preservation, it was in their best interests that the environment was clean, and that food and nourishment was readily available.
So it is with international politics. It is not the responsibility of the United States to ensure that people in Africa are safe. It is the responsibility of the United States to ensure that people in the United States are safe.
Unless the U.S. becomes an empire, (I must confess, an idea that I find appealing) the concept of self preservation, a belief that Nobel Peace Prize abrogates, must remain our policy if we want to remain the world power that we are today. In the words of General Patton, “Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. The very idea of losing is hateful to an American.” Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s keep things that way, despite the dogma of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Andrew Barr is a senior at Prospect and Captain of the Debate Team, President of the Model United Nations Club, Founding President of Political Union, and the Founding Host of a local cable television program, “Firing Line: Reloaded.” In his free time he enjoys reading National Review.