Monday, October 12, 2009

Jonathan Kay: Giving Barack Obama the Nobel peace prize is ridiculous

I am still trying to figure out why the Nobel Committee gave Barack Obama its annual peace prize. As far as it appears, the award was based on the fact that the U.S. President is a good-natured fellow who people seem to like — and who isn’t George W. Bush.
So who should have gotten the Nobel peace prize?

Instead of droning on about “hope” and “a new international climate,” a group of people charged with awarding an annual peace prize might find it useful to focus on a more mundane and obvious inquiry. To wit: What part of the planet was beset by bloody war in 2008, but is now entirely at peace?

The only nation that fits the bill is Sri Lanka. And the reason for that is a ruthless military campaign waged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa against a militarized Tamil death cult known as the Tamil Tigers. This conflict has taken nearly 100,000 lives since it began three decades ago. But Rajapaksa ended it definitively at one stroke, killing or capturing virtually the entire Tiger leadership. It is one of the only times in the history of modern warfare that a guerrilla/terrorist movement has been utterly destroyed in such a fashion. Overnight, war became a stranger to Sri Lanka.

Sounds like a pretty good candidate for a “peace” prize, don’t you think?

But of course, actually making peace is not what this nominal peace prize is about. It’s about going through the motions of pursuing peace in a touchy-feely UN-approved way.

Mr. Rajapaksa has done some fairly nasty things en route to destroying the Tigers — including imprisoning and perhaps even killing pesky journalists and human-rights activists. More importantly (from a Scandinavian point of view), Mr. Rajapaksa committed an unpardonable foreign-policy sin en route to his victory: flouting “multilateralism.” Which is to say that he ignored the bien pensant voices from abroad urging him to let the Tigers go just as the Sri Lankan military was about to administer the coup de grace. Had he listened, the war would continue to this day.

>> Full Story on National Post