Posted at PSLweb.org:
By: Anne Gamboni
Only the defeat of ‘great nation’ imperialism will end war
In a seemingly surprising move this past October, the Nobel Prize Committee named U.S. President Barack Obama as the recipient of its prestigious peace prize for 2009.
Alfred Nobel, ‘merchant of death’
The nomination is ironic for at least two reasons:
Nominations for the prize had to be postmarked by Feb. 1, only 12 days after Obama took office. The committee sent out its solicitation for nominations last September, two months before Obama was elected president.
But more importantly, President Obama has never wavered from continuing the “great nation” warmongering agenda of his predecessors in the White House.
There are more total troops in Afghanistan and Iraq now than there were at any time during the Bush administration. In addition, Obama announced Dec. 2 a troop increase of 34,000 soldiers to be sent to Afghanistan. His administration has been working day and night to pressure other nations to send additional troops to save the colonial-style occupation of the country. These are hardly the qualities one associates with a peace
President Obama’s Nobel acceptance speech was carefully calibrated to justify U.S. aggression against the Iraqi and Afghan people. It was drenched in the rhetoric of the “mighty” bringing enlightenment to the backward peoples of the planet—“enlightenment” through non-stop political, economic and military interventions in the sovereign affairs of other countries.
The president blamed indigenous resistance fighters for war and violence in the world. He also equated peace with U.S. campaigns to destabilize and overthrow the governments of Iran, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, North Korea, China, the former Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and other socialist and oppressed countries.
This is hardly a strategy for peace between peoples, especially coming from the elected head of a military that kills and wreaks destruction far exceeding all the rest of the world’s killing machines combined.
History of the Nobel Prize
Following the announcement of the award to President Obama, Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, explained that Obama’s creation of a new climate in international politics closely fulfills the statutes of Alfred Nobel’s will. The committee said it honored Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
The award given to someone like Obama is actually not all that surprising—it is intentional. For Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize after so little time in office and continuing on a war path, the only true explanation is that the prize is political, and not
pacifist, in nature.
The Nobel Peace Prize is usually hypocritically bestowed upon various bourgeois heads-of-state or lackeys of the capitalist ruling classes around the world to disguise the violent nature of imperialism. The people allowed to make nominations for the prize are members of various governments or university professors, mostly from Europe. For the most part, the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners reads like a “Who’s Who” of warmongers, imperialists and/or their defenders. Hitler and Mussolini were even nominated for this “prestigious” award.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes set aside by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel, born in 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, is best known for inventing dynamite. Nobel was in fact an arms manufacturer who hoped his arms would help to “end” war. In 1888, a French newspaper prematurely ran an obituary for Nobel calling him a “merchant of death.”
Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible reputation, Nobel, who died a super-rich man in 1896, used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.
According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize, the most well-known of the prizes, should be awarded to the person who “during the preceding year 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.”
The prize includes a medal, a personal diploma and a large sum of money, now over
$1 million. Some past winners are the following:
• 1973, Henry Kissinger, architect along with Richard Nixon, of a secret massive bombing campaign in Cambodia and Laos;
• 1989, the Dalai Lama, defender of brutal serfdom in Tibet;
• 1993, F.W. de Klerk, leader of apartheid South Africa (Nelson Mandela was also named the same year to make it appear as if it was a peaceful transition out of the heinous system of apartheid);
• 1994, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, colonialist agents of imperialism in occupied Palestine (Israel), and
• Last year’s winner, Martti Ahtisaari, a Finnish diplomat and mediator.
Most people are probably not aware of who Ahtisaari is or of his “great” accomplishment for which he was awarded this prize. He supposedly resolved a long-running dispute in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.
The “independence” of Kosovo, which is really a U.S. client state, is one of the most recent chapters in the brutal and bloody dismemberment by the imperialist powers of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
It is not “great men” who make peace, just as much as it is not individuals who make war. Socio-economic and political circumstances make war. Large numbers of
people fight and die in these violent political conflicts. In the Modern Era, the most destructive wars are started by the capitalist elites in the so-called “great nations” in support of their own dominance. Only movements of the people in resistance to imperialist aggression will restore peace.