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The Nobel Peace Prize: prerequisite for disaster

andy-barr-graphic1

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.

Andy Barr
Andy Barr Conservative Blogger

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.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    1. What were the end results of the war? The US gets a naval base. Cuba gains independence from Spain. That’s it.
    2. Jackson was ordered to seal off the Florida Border, backed by an army division locked and loaded with the highest musket technology of the day. Today with satellites, among other technologies, we cannot control our borders today. If Jackson hand not moved into Florida, the Seminoles would have continued agression against innocent American citizens, whose protection was Jackson’s job. Since the Spanish Empire at this point was extremely weak and unable to pacify its colonial holdings, they neither would have, nor could have taken retaliatory action against the US. That is why they were so willing to sell Florida to us shortly thereafter.
    3. What I was referring to was the fact that the USSR did not originally view the war with Germany as a means of growth, it was for survival and retaliation. At the end of the war however, they had gained, at least informal control, over much of eastern Europe up to Eastern Germany
    4. If the natives accepted that it was US land and left then they gave up their claim to it. If they did not and fought for it and lost, then they lost their claim to the land. If they had wanted to become US citizens, they likely would have been able to stay, however they did not. Prior to them accepting citizenship and accumulating into the US society they were not citizens, as much as current illegal immigrants in the US are not citizens. The fact of being in a country and living there does not make you a citizen in any world nation. And the Trail of Tears has no relevance because it involved the relocation of Native Americans who decided not to be citizens, and therefore were illegally in our nation, after they had lost wars, which means that they had as much of a right to stay as illegal immigrants, who too are forced out of where they live, just usually in smaller numbers utilizing faster modern transportation.
    5. By having troops deployed, to protect US interests internationally, it discourages anyone from acting against the US or its allies, because of the rapid massive retaliation that would occur. It is the US’s duty to protect the US and its interests, that may overlap however with other nations.
    6a. China is too reliant on trade for far, far, too long to be a military threat to any major world nation, or any nation allied with them. Also, if China went to war with a US ally then we would have rationale to cancel our debts owned to China, costing them billions.
    6b. Since the Japanese constitution, written after WWII, does not allow them to have a military force capable of anything beyond basic defense. Because of that, the US leaves troops there. Until Japan decides to change that part of their constitution, the US is obligated to have a military presence there.
    7. See 5.

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    Sir Brendan MoriartyOct 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    1. Whatever position they feigned initially is of no importance. All that matters is the results because that shows true intentions more than assertions or statements. Cui bono?
    2. Fun fact: Jackson was ordered to seal off the border between Georgia and Florida. He disobeyed his order when he went into Florida. Not only did he kill Seminoles, he also killed Spaniards, and British diplomats. If we want to talk about welfare of Americans, why would he have killed Spaniards and British officials which could have potentially led to war which would have cost a great deal of American blood. What Jackson emulated mob rule by taking the law into his own hands. There is a reason that we have laws and a government and a hierarchy of officials. Jackson is just lucky that we didn’t end up in another costly war.
    3. The reason that the USSR controlled much of the East Germany was to ensure that Germany would not rebuild itself like it did after WWI. The only reason that we or they didn’t control all of Germany is because the Allies and the USSR didn’t trust each other. And besides, its not like Russia was like “Fine… we’ll take this land. But next time, you have to take it.”
    4. If they (the Native Americans) openly engaged in war with the Americans or willingly sold the land to the US govt. I’m fine with that, but when we purchased land not from the native americans but from the French and kicked the Native Americans off the land saying “get off of OUR land”, I object. If they give us the land, that’s one thing. But saying it was ours because we purchased it from the French is another thing. And besides, if it really was our land(I’m not conceding it was), then that would make the Native Americans US citizens. And if they are US citizens, they have a right to be on that land or at least be compensated due to eminent domain. They were not compensated and they didn’t get to stay on the land. What the US government did was illegal. And the Trail of Tears has relevance because it involved the relocation of Native Americans.
    5. It’s not confusing. What confuses me is Barr saying that the US military is good because it protects( or at least consciously discourages attacks on other nations) other countries and then saying it is not the duty of the US military to help other nations. Which is it? Do we keep our military around the world to help other nations by discouraging attacks on them, or do we withdraw our troops from other nations because its not their duty to protect them.
    6a. I’m sorry if I made it appear that I thought China was going to attack Japan soon, but I don’t believe that. I am aware that DOWN THE LINE China might be able to shift its economy in a different direction, but currently it would severely hurt their economy if they lost us as a trading partner.
    6b. Well if their economy is doing so well, why don’t leave now. Or leave in a few years, giving them time to build a military in preparation of a departure. Why must we waste our resources being in Japan if our only purpose was to have “defensive forces for the country it removed the need to rebuild their armies as rapidly, which allowed massive growth in the following decades allowing the Japanese GDP to rebound to where it would have been without WWII.” They’re economy has rebounded since WWII. Why must we shoulder the burden?
    7. See 5.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 23, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    @ Brendan
    1. If it was to support imperialist notions then why did the US Congress Pass the Teller Amendment prior to the war stating that America “hereby disclaims any disposition of intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island (Cuba) except for pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people.
    2. You acted as if all of those stated actions were of the intention to gain us territory, I was showing that it was not so. In addition, Jackson fought the Seminoles in the First Seminole War after the Seminoles had conducted violent raids upon Georgia. It is American to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare of the American people.
    3. My point here is that the original intention of that war was not a massive land-grab, simply a border dispute. Following the US’s victory, as was customary, the vanquished made territorial concessions. A similar example would be WWII USSR. They did not begin to fight the Germans for more territory, in fact working with the Germans had given them much of Poland. Once Germany was defeated, Russia gained power over territory, including what would become East Germany. Simply because there is land gain afterwards does not mean that was the plan originally.
    4. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, other than the Native Americans, Spain, France, Britain, briefly Sweden and the Netherlands, and eventually America controlled the land in the New World. Since the indians did not recognize this claim, they were usually either bought out of their land or went to war, which they lost. Under the European tradition, when the natives took either of these actions they no longer controlled the land thereby becoming American. The Trail of Tears has no relation to the argument or the original source of this portion so I am going to rule that dilatory and ignore it.
    5. The article says, “The commanding presence of U.S. military forces around the world acts as a deterrent to would-be combatants, making foreign nations safer.” How is that confusing to you?
    6a. China is not completely reliant upon the US. While it would hurt their economy in the short run, eventually they would stabilize. In addition such a war would not happen tomorrow, it would happen down the line when China, as they are currently trying to do, has become less reliant upon exports. They have 1.1 billion customers, it cannot be too hard to expand at the very least into the giant, wealthy, Chinese cities.
    6b. If you had read my comment more carefully, you would have noticed that I said the troops were to PREVENT Japan from acting like post-WWI Germany immediately following the war. By having troops deployed as defensive forces for the country it removed the need to rebuild their armies as rapidly, which allowed massive growth in the following decades allowing the Japanese GDP to rebound to where it would have been without WWII.
    7. What hypocritical statements, your arguments are muddled in your attempts to include rhetorical flourish…

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    Sir Brendan MoriartyOct 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Dear Jake,
    1. Do you honestly believe that the United States had no intent to try and colonize or control Cuba? We just thought of that after we liberated them?
    2. I was referring to Jackson’s genocidal repression of the Seminoles in Florida, not the acquisition of said territory.
    3. You seem to be ignoring the fact that one of the terms of the peace treaty was that we acquired a. land in what is now California/New Mexico/Arizona and b. that the borders of Texas were greatly expanded. If the war were only about Mexico’s failure to acknowledge Texas’ right to join the United States, why would we want more land?
    4. We have discussed this issue, and it seems that you’re immune to humane emotions. We had no right to push the Native- American’s off their land. Spain never obtained their consent to own their land; therefore, the French, and then the US, had no right to own that land. The only question I have is, do you think that the Trail of Tears was merely an execution of the law that was beyond reproach or was it a misuse of power?
    5. I never said we shouldn’t have troops in other countries as a deterrent. All I was doing was pointing out Barr’s hypocrisies with in his own article.
    6. The billion plus people in China may not care about a few thousand troops, but they care about the trillion dollar market that is the US market. If they invade Japan, they in effect declare war on the United States which means they’re biggest trading partner goes bye-bye. And I think we can safely assume that Japan isn’t going to rebuild like Germany did after WWI.
    7. Once again, I don’t disagree with the idea of having troops ready to deploy, I was merely pointing out Barr’s hypocritical statements.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 22, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    @Andrew
    I am not saying the size is what makes it more effective, I am saying is that having 20 cannons pointed at you are scarier than having 5. It acts as a deterrent for nations to act against American interests and allies.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    @ Nick
    The nobel prize is a prize given out to members of the world community, not just to America. There is nothing in the Scandinavian group’s mission statement that says it has to go to America, especially after the “successes” of the last 8 years. While I may not know all of the occurrences in the world, I am certain in the last 10 years there has been someone who has taken actions concurrent with the Nobel mission objective that has not won the award, such as French President Nicholas Sarkozy with his actions as president of the EU. In fact this year there was a record setting 205 nominations for the prize. Are you willing to say that Obama in the couple weeks after he was elected and the handful of months since then has achieved more than 204 other people, who are also not Bush.
    From your view, since I am not a conservative, I am able to show you the other solutions.
    Also, the republicans cannot yell at Snowe, because doing so could alienate her from the party causing her to be more open to actions with the democratic party.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    @ Keerthana
    As you admit Obama does not deserve the prize. However that is only part of the point of this article. While the prize may hold prestige, the point being made is that it is contrary to American interests to have a leader pursue them.
    The fraternity between nations not only implies coordination between comparable nations, but assisting the less fortunate in the world nations. An example of this would be aid monies given to 3rd world nations. By spending money in areas, such as Africa in addition to parts of Europe, Asia, and South America, that have been sinkholes for aid money for the last half century, as a nation we are poorer. Seeing as our nation continues to plunge further and further into debt, it is imperative that we look after our own national interest before looking to that of our frat(ernity) brothers.
    The military weakening part falls more under the latter part of the abolishment of standing armies, so that does not fit your argument.
    @ Brendan
    While you have very fancy sounding rhetorical additions in your argument, it lacks some facts itself.
    1. The Spanish-American war started due to Cuba wishing to assert its freedom from an oppressive European nation. That sounds American to me. The USS Maine, which exploded off the shore of Cuba was deployed to protect US citizens living in Cuba at the time, nothing very imperialist there.
    2. America did not conquer Florida, it was given to us under the Adams-Onís treaty by Spain, signed in 1819.
    3. The Mexican-American war was caused because Mexico never acknowledged the validity of Texas’s revolution. Texas sought to become a US state after its secession which caused the tension. It’s not imperialism if they ask to join you.
    4. Many skirmishes, certainly not all, with natives were do to their aggressions against people legally moving westward to create a life. It’s not imperialism if people are moving to territory your country owns.
    5. It is not the American way to callously waste the lives of our brave troops. However, by having such a far and away dominant armed forces, we are effectively able to limit casualties by discouraging any military actions against us. In fact, if we as a nation did not take actions falling under the fraternity of nations clause, for one example UN Troop deployments, our troops would be in even less danger.
    6. The forces in Japan do much more than act as a deterrent to the Chinese, and realistically do you think China’s billion-plus people care about our few thousand troops in Japan. The troops in Japan are there, in part, to serve in the defense of our ally who, by their own constitution, are not allowed to have a large armed forces, in addition to their earlier goal of ensuring Japan did not follow German history and rebuild their army within the following 20 years for another war.
    7. The argument is that having troops deployed around the world makes America safer because aggressive other nations would be crazy to take any action against America or Americans when they can be attacked from ten different sides within 24 hours. This has nothing to do with protecting any other nation.
    Maybe you, Mr. Moriarty, with your superior knowledge, could some how comprehend how this works in international politics, but I do not see how these statements you made could be true.

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    Sir Brendan MoriartyOct 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Andy,
    Your repeated hypocrisies and sweeping statements, that often contradict facts, in your columns amuse me. First, you say “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.” The Spanish-American War, Philippine- American, our conquest of Florida, Mexican- American War, and our numerous skirmishes with the various Native- American tribes were all wars that were in defense of ” the American way.” How many of those wars mentioned ended in the acquisition of more territory? All of them. Is it the “American way” to colonize other countries? Is it the American way to acquire more and more land and the prices of thousands of dead men? One would hope not, although you did state that you find such an idea “appealing”. Paramount is your oxymoron of a view of the American Military. You wrote in your article that “The commanding presence of U.S. military forces around the world acts as a deterrent to would-be combatants, making foreign nations safer.” In many ways, I would agree. For instance, it has been said that American bases in Japan are a strong deterrent against a possible Chinese invasion of the island. But, you later assert that “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.” How can a standing army be good because it keeps foreign nations safe, yet it is not the responsibility to ensure that a country other than the United States is safe? I find this interesting. How can we deter violence if it isn’t our responsibility to do so. Are other nations merely bluffing if they said “If you attack us, the United States will back us up.” Maybe you, Mr. Barr, with your superior knowledge, could some how comprehend how this works in international politics, but I do not see how both these statements could be true.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 19, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    @ Gordon
    The issue people have with what appears to be the reason behind the award is that it serves as a form of operant conditioning. We like what you are saying you will do so we give you an award… The argument is that it is the international community trying to guide the US policies to ways that are detrimental to US interests.

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    Gordon KirchnerOct 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    @Sir Jake Goodman
    I disagree. This award really doesn’t affect America measurably enough to be noted. It really only affects Obama and his image, and thank god one man isn’t our country. There are political issues in America of far greater importance than whether our President deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, such as Healthcare, The War on Terror, etc.
    However, regardless of whether it is truly important, it was still an interesting take on the award, and will hopefully get the student body thinking about what happens in the world.

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 15, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    @ Brendan
    Presidents since the beginning of the Cold War have talked about disarming, and many have taken steps to do it. How many presidents, since the start of the Cold War, have won the nobel prize for that?
    What Obama has done to heal the rift between America and the Middle East is a speech in Cairo and being Not-George W. Bush. Give me a plane ticket to Cairo and I can give a speech while still being Not-Bush.
    As for strengthening ties with Europe see previous paragraph.
    Bring back diplomacy? While there is no valid reason to not talk to our nation’s enemies, what major diplomatic achievement has Obama accomplished in 9 months, let alone the couple weeks before he was nominated for the award? Gitmo is still open, we are still in Iraq, Afghanistan had an election more corrupt than the Iranians, he blew off the Dalai Lama to keep China happy, where is there a success here?
    And finally on climate change: Obama has done some stuff, like the cash for clunkers and some items tucked into the stimulus package, but no more so, I assume, than most other world leaders. Stopping global climate change is the in thing for nations to do right now. I doubt what we have done so far merits a nobel prize, especially since technically it was done by congress and not Obama.
    @ Beth
    This issue does affect us as Americans because it is an example of the world trying to classically condition us as a nation. The nobel committee is from a fairly liberal region of Europe and the award commonly matches that idea. So far, no one is arguing against this, Obama has done very little. This means that the only criteria for his win is what the committee thinks he is going to do. Judging by some of his early steps, in addition to much of his rhetoric, this seems to align with many very liberal concepts that I am sure the committeemen would approve of.
    In addition, the fact that you acknowledge the fact that you are ignorant proves you are not. The only truly ignorant person is the one who does not realize that they know nothing of the world.

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    Sir Brendan MoriartyOct 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Now, I’m going to admit, I didnt finish reading the article yet, so all I’m going to say before I address the article is this: Who has worked for nuclear disarmament, worked to heal the rift between Muslim’s and the West, sought to strengthen ties with Europe, bring back diplomacy, and worked towards reversing global climate change? Obama. http://www.japantoday.com/category/world/view/nobel-panel-defends-choice-of-obama-for-peace-prize

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    Sir Jake GoodmanOct 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

    @ Andrew
    The reason behind the disbanding of the continental army had nothing to do with preserving peace. After years of funding an army and a war, I assume that it was too costly for the nation to continue having a military force. Look how that turned out, we had the 2 year long Shay’s rebellion that we as a nation were unable to put down due to a lack of troops.
    The fact is as a nation in our position it is necessary to have the world’s best armed forces in order to protect ourselves in addition to our national interests.
    @ Blake
    Why else would we intervene in another nation other than when they pose a threat to our nation? Scandinavian countries go against the American ideals of capitalism, France opposes many freedoms of religious expression, and regions of Mexico have major issues with regional drug lords. Do you really think we are going to invade Sweden any time soon.
    Iraq had many values that the US was opposed to but realistically posed no threat to us. How much of the world, let alone in America think that the invasion was a mistake. The only rational reason for our nation to intervene in another’s affairs are when our very safety is in danger.
    At what point do you find it acceptable to intervene when another country goes against American values and morals? Is it only when their problems are a threat to us or do we have an obligation as the leader to step in?

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    Gordon KirchnerOct 13, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    It is not that Nobel abrogates self-preservation, it is that he abrogates self-preservation at the cost of others.
    Of course you realize that Nobel was an idealist. It is, for all intensive purposes, impossible to attain world peace by any means. It is human nature to fight, and we will continue to until the end of time.
    And, if you’d care to notice, Obama’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize(which, whether you agree with it or not, it happened, get over it) has not come at the cost of our very “American” large standing army.
    I also found your reference to the U.S. army as a deterrent interesting, considering that despite our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the violence in these areas has done little to decrease.
    The point remains, that while YES, the Nobel Peace Prize is Un-American, it isn’t won by a country in question, but by an individual. And if advocating peace among our fellow man makes someone Un-American, than America is a country I certainly wouldn’t be proud living in.

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