I'm glad the Norwegian Nobel Committee uses this award to foster peace. After all, anyone who wins it should feel a great need to live up to it. An AP story reports:
The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.A list of previous winners includes people who have spent their lives working for peace and justice, as well as various political leaders. Since 1901, five women have shared the prize, and six have won it solo, including Shirin Ebadi, who was listed as a man. (Does the media have any copy editors anymore?) I guess so few women win because we start so many wars, we implement so many unjust policies, and we rarely volunteer to help others.
The AP story quotes the Nobel committee on Obama:
His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.This does not bode well for women because men now make up the majority. Yes, men outnumber women, due to global discrimination against girls and women. Let's hope we get some leaders willing to challenge sexist attitudes, such as Hillary Clinton in Beijing. Although Obama appointed her Secretary of State, some people give him all the credit for international relations, while she gets a pat on the back for "having no trouble adapting to being a team player subordinate to Obama," as Wikipedia notes. Although Obama had been in the White House less than two weeks when he was nominated for the Nobel, Clinton's eight years in the White House doesn't count because she was only a wife who served tea.
For the Nobel, Obama beat out two women considered front-runners: Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba and Afghan physician and human rights activist Sima Samar. Please read their stories if you aren't familiar with them.
I wonder if the choice of Obama was related to what Echidne wrote earlier. A few more women have won Nobel prizes this year than in the past. Maybe committee members thought giving the peace prize to a woman would just be too much.