Why did Barack Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize?

ANG/Fame Pictures

The answer: No one’s really sure.

Whether you like Barack Obama, or not, his Nobel Peace Prize award was a puzzling thing to wake up to this morning. Some people are outraged, others are elated, and still others like me, just find it a bit strange. Straight on the heels of the SNL skit spoofing Obama for having done “nothing,” he’s suddenly awarded with an international award that’s been handed out to Nelson Mandela, Elie Weisel, and Mother Teresa. The committee claims they award the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Barack Obama has certainly strengthened international diplomacy, but not in an extraordinary way. Does simply not being George W. Bush qualify you for a Nobel prize? Republican critics are crying out that this irrevocably cheapens the Nobel Peace prize, and they have a point. If the award is meant to inspire Barack Obama to achieve great things, not to reward him for already achieving great things, that’s a departure from the history of the award.

Even President Obama feels undeserving of the award, saying, “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize, men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”

What do you think? Does Barack Obama deserve this award?

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Image Credit: ANG/Fame Pictures