Friday, September 02, 2011

Least Deserving Noble Prize Winners

Most people have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their good work towards peace, justice, and an equable global civilizations. A few have won for what they were not - Barack Obama won in 2009 for not being George Bush or John McCain. But there were some who completely did not deserve being feted as peaceniks.
  1. Henry Kissinger and Le Doc Tho (1973) - By 1972 the Vietnam War was as popular in the United States as scabies. The US needed something that looks like peace to appease a restive population. The Vietnamese needed a respite after the pounding their regular army took during the Easter Offensive. The Paris Peace Accords was the most cynical peace treaty in the history of mankind. Neither side had any intention of keeping up their end of the bargain. Only Watergate prevented Nixon from resuming his carpet bombing of Vietnam. After a couple of years to rearm, the North Vietnamese army was ready for a quick push to conquer the south. Le Doc Tho, at least, was honest enough to refuse his share of the prize. 
  2. Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin (1994) - The Oslo Accords are only slightly less cynical that the Paris ones. The Israelis, particularly Benjamin Netanyahu, "interpreted" the text in ways that undid the Accords while Arafat continued to support terrorism as a persuasive tool.
  3. Nicholas Murray Butler (1931) - Got the prize for convincing Andrew Carnegie to fund the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. President of Columbia University. He didn't actually accomplish much of anything towards peace but he was influential and knew all of the important people of the time. The prize award was more of a present that academics like to give each other. And, Butler was a renown racist, anti-Semite, and supported Nazi ideas. He preferred dictatorships to democracies, saying that totalitarian regimes brought forth "men of far greater intelligence, far stronger character, and far more courage than the system of elections."
  4.  Elihu Root (1912) - As US Secretary of War crafted the genocidal suppression of the Philippines independence movement (1898-1911). Got the prize for encouraging arbitration of European spats (he helped resolve a North Atlantic fishing dispute) that worked so well World War I started two years later.

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