How George W. Bush Won Five Nobel Peace Prizes
- When announcing the award for Jimmy Carter in 2002, the Nobel chairman made a noteworthy statement to the press. He said that the award “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current Administration has taken. It’s a kick in the leg to all who follow the same line as the United States.” The Administration was that of George W. Bush. And the chairman was referring to Bush’s “line” in the War on Terror. “Kick in the leg” is a Norwegian way of saying “poke in the eye” or “slap in the face.” There would be other awards that involved a kick in the leg to the 43rd President.
In fact, you could say there were as many as five: the Nobel in 2001 (announced shortly after 9/11) to the United Nations and its then-Secretary General, Kofi Annan; the 2002 award to Carter; the 2005 award to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its then-Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei; the 2007 award to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, along with Al Gore; and the 2009 award to the new President, Barack Obama. These were not strictly anti-Bush Nobels. But they were Nobels that contained a reaction to Bush.
Why did Obama win? In brief, because he was an American President after the committee’s own heart, a man who apparently shared their worldview. If George W. Bush was their nightmare President—and he was—Obama was their dream President. If they could design an American President from scratch, he would turn out much like Barack Obama. Their Nobel to him blessed a new day. But what did the committee think of Obama’s Nobel lecture, in which some saw Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christian realism? This is not necessarily a committee point of view.