The Nobel Committee and Obama

Oslo is a long way from the White House cabinet room, but the lack of compehension on the part of these five Norwegians is appalling.  Did they really think they were doing something nice for President Obama?  As someone has said, this was an early Christmas present for the Republicans.  Many Europeans never seem to understand that a lot of Americans do not think of themselves as naive provincials who should accept guidance from across the Atlantic.  Actually, the patronising tone that accompanies actions of this kind engenders a hostile reaction on both the left and right here. 

The president does not deserve this reward for any action he has taken.  He knows that.  He may some day deserve the award, but he does not deserve it now.

The Norwegian Nobel Commitee thinks that America should be rewarded for electing a Black man president? Listen, Norwegians!  We elected him, not you, not the Germans, and certainly not the British.  When Irish jokes stop being popular in England, that will be a pleasant development.  Let us see you Europeans (any of you) elect a Black person to be head of government and then you can begin to think of patronising us in this way! 

The Norwegian Nobel Committee thinks that America should be rewarded for a return to international multi-lateralism?  Well, what they have done is help in enabling those here who want the exact opposite of that.  They should have heard Liz Cheney say on Fox News Sunday today that their action was a reward for Obama for his supposed abandonment of the notions of American exceptionalism and "dominance."

Do you Norwegians hate Obama?  pl

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99 Responses to The Nobel Committee and Obama

  1. Bill Wade, NH says:

    I’m thinking that this award to President Obama won’t sway his beliefs away from what’s best for the interests of the USA, however, this neocon does think it will keep him from acting in Israel’s best interests:
    “Can a peace prize winner authorize air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities? Escalate the war in Afghanistan? Does the prize not add an extra dose of embarrassment to Mr. Obama’s decision earlier in the week not to meet with the Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel honouree?”
    David Frum, full article:

  2. N.Z. says:

    We love president Obama, his demeanour, tone and the feeling of peacefulness that he instills in the citizens of the world, we are not naive either, to think that words are sufficient .
    Obama is a realist unlike Chenney and his gang . American exeptionalism and dominance ideology is what hastened America’s demise, as well as all empires prior to her .
    I wish their was a noble prize for war criminals, Ms. Chenney no doubt will be one of the imminent contenders, she will no doubt feel privileged .

  3. charlottemom says:

    I think this is the Nobel Committee’s attempt as a preempt peace strike.
    Ireally resisted viewing this through the racial lens. However, a Brit friend thinks as you do about the committee bestowing this award to Obama now. You may be more attuned to the Euro thinking than I am.

  4. WILL says:

    Olmeret had a come to Messiah moment w/ the Israelis. It didn’t happen until he had become a lame duck. He told them their security was not tied to possession of a certain hilltop or valley but in withdrawal from the West Bank.
    Ron Paul also spoke truth. He said “they were over here (Al Ka’Aidah) b/c we are over there.”
    Roger Moore was super on Hannity. He said we went nuts over a couple of hundred people doing physical training on monkey bars. We invaded two Muslim countries instead of going after them & killing them. Goodness Gracious, This is the United States of America. (All b/c they got lucky w/ some clever tricks w/ airplanes and a boat!)
    There are problems w/ both approaches discussed in Afghanistan, the COIN and the CT kinetic approach. AQ and the Taliban are much closer now than they ever were in 2001. When the Taliban were demoralized after their defeat and quit fighting, it was the Arabs (the Camels)that continued the fight, restored their spirits, brought over fresh tactics & tech from Irak, & cash from the Gulf.
    Obama will not come into his Promise until he recognizes that the NATIONAL SECURITY of the United States is tied to disarming the gun-toting settler thugs of the West Bank and breaking the blockade of the largest open air prison of the world that is Gaza. What is needed is not a COINcentric policy but a Palestine-centric policy. He has Axlerod and Emmanuel on his side to cover him. He is as well positioned as anybody will ever be.
    The Nobel Prize people knew what they were doing. They were trying to use Noble’s invention (dynamite) to break the logjam!
    It was a prize well expended! Good Show!

  5. Aosher says:

    and certainly not the British. […] Let us see you Europeans (any of you) elect a Black person to be head of government and then you can begin to think of patronising us in this way!
    And when America has elected a woman, we will accept the patronisation of this post in turn.

  6. b says:

    Many Americans never seem to understand that a lot of Europeans do not think of themselves as naive provincials who should accept guidance from across the Atlantic. Actually, the patronising tone that accompanies actions of this kind engenders a hostile reaction on both the left and right here.
    The price is of course a political one and in this case it was given to further peace by pushing Obama on three main issues:
    – nuclear disarmament
    – no escalation in Afghanistan
    – no attack on Iran
    The committee applied the price in a typical Bush tactic: Preemptive attack.
    The Noble committee is putting quite high stakes into this by risking its own standing should Obama not work on the above issues.

  7. Kevin G. says:

    Why should we (or the Norwegians) ever care what Liz Cheney says on Fox News?

  8. lina says:

    First, I give you the words of Joshua Micah Marshall:
    “[T]he unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the ‘hyper-power’ as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it’s a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was ‘normal history’ rather than dark aberration.”
    Second, the people who watch FOX News are the people who believe Saddam Hussein moved his WMD into Syria just before the U.S. invasion. Neoconettes, like Liz Cheney, use this broadcast propaganda tool to keep their narcissism refreshed.
    To see the NPP as further “diminishment” of our president is about as inside-the-beltway insular as one can get.

  9. CK says:

    It becomes tiresome when American typists first question about anything is: “But is it good for Israel’s future aggressions?”

  10. Mark Stuart says:

    Not only are they arrogant but they are a bit naive too if not blatantly stupid. The French lead the pack:
    The two main leading daily papers in Paris covered the news on their websites with a picture reminiscent of the Camp David or Oslo Accords! Yes we all HOPE too!
    Barack Obama Nobel Peace Prize Le Monde
    Obama: “This Nobel Prize is a call to action “ Le Figaro (scroll down a bit)
    I am convinced from personal experience that people in Europe don’t realize how arrogant they are in general and towards America in particular. In private conversations about the US and Europe, they always have to bring up their centuries old culture and History. But they will always leave out the fact that it was centuries of bloody History … literally! Not to mention the treatment of their minorities! Boy do they have lessons to learn from us!
    Did you hear Sarkozy Sir, trying to defend France’s stature and position before Obama when our President was asked by French journalists about his take on the Muslim veil in France? What a lesson on Freedom and Liberty Obama gave them that day!

  11. Somewhat taken aback at first by PL’s post after close study I find that I am in total agreement with the post and appreciate the effort that went into it.

  12. parvati_roma says:

    The award – seen from this side of the pond – had nothing to do with ethnic-origins (the Nobel has been awarded to people of all shades and nationalities at one time or another), a great deal to do with matters of acute survival-n’-wellbeing concern to Europeans themselves such as START talks,the quashing of that hyper-provocative NeoColdWar scheme to insert missile-shield bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, and the commencement of direct US talks with Iran.
    Here’s a post by an American historian who explains the perspectives and reasoning underlying the Nobel Peace prize award far better than I ever could.
    Why Obama Won The Prize

  13. WILL says:

    Phillip Weiss shares my take on the Nobel Prize award.
    “My thoughts on Obama’s Nobel are simple. It is all about Israel/Palestine and it is a good thing. It is an effort by the northern Europeans to give Obama political capital to put pressure on Israel. Period. Is it premature? Who cares. The Nobel people are trying to effect history. I hope they are effective. Obama secretly believes what Walt and Mearsheimer and Brzezinski and Carter say. He doesn’t have the political ability to say so. The Israel lobby has him chained to a radiator.”

  14. Nancy K says:

    I don’t believe the Nobel Peace Prize will make any difference in what President Obama does or doesn’t do. He will do what he thinks is best for the US.
    As for the Republicans, most notably the neocons, they were going after Obama for anything they could anyway.
    I don’t know why Obama was awarded the Peace prize at this time, hopefully it will be prophetic.

  15. Jose says:

    In less than one year, Foolbama has turned into a puppet of:
    1. big money (Wall Street, Unions, China)
    2. the Neocons
    3. the Coinists (could also be big money)
    So why shouldn’t the Nobel Committee attempt to also make him a pawn?
    His weakness shows:
    1. attacks by the Republicans and now Liberals
    2. defied by the Generals
    3. broken by Bibi
    4. most of all simple hubris.
    If he had any integrity, he would not have accept that award.
    Colonel, the Orvellegians love Foolbama because he is not Dumbya and represents “change we can believe in”…lol

  16. rjj says:

    Seems to me he (or they, as the case may be) responded as well as could be done.
    Next week’s chum: gays in military.
    That poor sod needs to be saved from his admirers.

  17. LeaNder says:

    I can understand the irritation of the Americans. But I don’t think, Colonel, that Europeans consider Americans as “naive provincials”, quite opposite. They consider America as the “top dog”.
    Admittedly this time I would have loved to be a mouse able to overhear the whole process. Who exactly among the thousands asked to give their candidate did suggest Barack Obama,and how and why did they suggest him. As much as what exactly was the intention behind the final selection. The lines of thoughts leading to and beneath the words we are given.
    I agree it may be more of a burden than a honor for him.
    But I also think that it will enrage the neoconservative camp and Israel. It must remind them of Arafat, Peres, Rabin, 1994. Especially the first listed. I hope this doesn’t turn the adverse winds into an anti-Obama hurrican. Europistan, Venus, attempts to politically interfere with the only true warriors, Mars.
    The first link above–DER SPIEGEL–meditating on Obama’s burden beyond honor in this context starts with the Nobelprize tradition concerning the selection of US presidents or politicians.

  18. Patrick Lang says:

    “The Nobel people are trying to effect history.”
    They will. They have damaged Obama’s chances of success. pl

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    Who did that? pl

  20. Patrick Lang says:

    Kevin G.
    Come on! If you think what is said by Cheney’s nasty daughter on Fox News is not important in American politics then you are not paying attention. pl

  21. Patrick Lang says:

    Obama’s political fate will be determined here, not in Europe. When did you get the vote in American elections? pl

  22. Patrick Lang says:

    Ho Hum. Nationalist twaddle. You know very well that if HC had gotten the Democratic nomination, she would be president. pl

  23. Patrick Lang says:

    “the CT kinetic approach” This is a construct of your own making. pl

  24. curious says:

    Here is the big thing, and I challenge anybody to say otherwise,
    At the opening decade of this millenia, US is a giant problem for the world peace. Six out of 10 Nobel prize was awarded specifically aimed at criticizing US power center and two related to old cold war mess (Kim Dae Jung) and US intervention in various places (Martti Ahtisaari)
    Not only the committee is saying US has provincial minded worldview, but it consistently say US is a danger to world peace. This part should alarm everybody. The world is screaming but the status quo in DC doesn’t get it.
    So let’s look at the list.
    2001- Kofi Anan. (It was and attempt to stop Bush war by trying to shore up UN image that was being attacked by rightwing media. Irrelevant, corrupt, bla bla…)
    2002 – Jimmy Carter. (He was the biggest, almost lone voice who says, Iraq war is unjustified)
    2003 – Iran (If you remember Ebadi Nobel speech was, no nation can impose democracy upon other nation…)
    2005- IAEA (Again, to counter Bush/Neocon war fantasy, specifically design to shore up IAEA argument against war with Iran)
    2007 – Al Gore (Let’s just say, nobody believe Al gore is ‘champion of global warming’. He was chosen to give momentum to Democratic party/US opposition party. At the time Republican seems poised to win yet another term.
    2009- Obama (The world is SPECIFICALLY WARNING, no war with Iran or whatever. Or you will be the only idiot with nobel peace prize who actually started another war. IE. truly doesn’t get it.) The eradication of nuclear weapon is BS.
    The nation SHOULD BE ASHMED that the world voted so many time, trying to prevent wars. Warning after warning, but nobody gets it.
    We are the retarded member of the world community. Big gun, but doesn’t get it.
    The nation should hang head in shame, for the world will look back and read the history record.

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    When Mr. Noble established these prizes, his intention was to enable a young person of exceptional promise to pursue his interests in these areas of human endeavor without being burdened by financial considerations.
    These prizes were not intended to become a sort of life-time achievement award given to old men and women for work that they had done decades earlier.
    In the United States, the McArthur Foundation awards are given out in the spirit of Mr. Nobel’s vision.

  26. R Whitman says:

    I have been educated and trained as a scientist. The Nobel Prizes recently for Chemistry, Physics and Medicine were for “hack” work without much originality. The only exception is Boyles work on CCD’s forty years ago at Bell Labs.
    The Peace Prize this year is in the same vein.
    Having said that. I have met several Nobel Laureates, attended scientific lectures by others and have a relative that was a short-list nominee several years ago. Nobel Lareates are treated differently than other people, certainly with more respect. Obama may not get more respect from his enemies in the US but overseas he will be treated differently on a personal basis even by leaders of countries who are nominally our enemies.

  27. RAISER William says:

    I read your blog regularly for the insights contained therein. From time-to-time, however, you lose your cool and go off into la-la land, as today.
    My initial reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize award was to be appalled. To this point, Obama has done almost nothing to warrant the Prize. The only exceptions to that is his call to scrap nuclear weapons along with scrapping the radar and missile deals in Central Europe. Those are significant, and positive,.
    He’s not pulling out of Iraq at the rate he indicated. He’s escalating in Afghanistan. He’s supporting Israel by backing down on a call (necessary) to
    cease settlements and has shielded them from international sanctions on the Gaza war. Contrary to claims, he’s blocking progress on climate control issues
    associated with the up-coming Copenhagen conference.
    MANY significant negatives to one positive. He doesn’t merit the prize.
    On further reflection, I considered the position of Norway. The Norwegians have
    one of the best, if not the best, records on foreign aid. They give the most per-capita, putting the US to shame. What aid they do give is more useful than others in that the money, or other form of aid, actually gets to the people who need it whereas, US aid goes mostly to Americans, i.e., American administrators, American companies rather than local companies, American consultants, etc. Unfortunately, Norway is small, so it’s good works get lost in the global noise.
    The Nobel Prize is BIG however, in prestige more than money.
    You look around for someone who could provide much needed leadership on the
    global scene today. Where are the leaders? Not Sarkozy, the French President.
    Not Brown, the British Prime Minister. Not Merkel, the German Chancellor. Not
    Russia, China, India, Brazil, etc. No one both stands out and carries the needed weight.
    It appears the Nobel Committee are placing a bet and pushing as hard as they can given their limited resources. Obama is in the right position and making the
    right noises, even though he’s much more talk than action so far. I think the Committee is using their prestige to give Obama a push in their desired
    direction, to further the efforts for peace around the world. He might disappoint, as he has so far; but, with some encouragement and backing, he might rise to the occasion.
    I take my hat off to the Committee and hope their bet pays off.

  28. F5F5F5 says:

    @Mark Stuart
    I read these two articles, and here’s what they say:
    1. It surprised everybody
    2. Many think this is a bit too early to give the prize to Obama
    3. Th Figaro article concludes along the lines that maybe it was to put pressure on Obama to actually do something.
    Could you please now explain how this makes the French and European populations naive, stupid, and arrogant?
    European and US governments and media are always extremely arrogant and patronizing to each other.
    How do you think europeans reacted when Obama basically told the EU to accept Turkey as a member, which is very unpopular.
    The man on the street here in the UK or in France and Germany (where I travel a lot) was just baffled.

  29. Cloned Poster says:

    This is interesting:
    Some uncharitable people are wondering just what it is that Barack Obama has done to deserve this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Critics claim that, aside from windy rhetoric about international harmony and an ability to charm much of the world into liking America again, Obama has done little so far to contribute to world peace. Even the Democrat-supporting Joe Klein thinks it “premature to the point of ridiculousness”. But I have a different question: not why the president won this particular Nobel Prize but why he didn’t win all the others.
    There are five Nobel prizes that Obama didn’t get, after all, despite being at least as qualified as he was for the Peace prize. Consider:
    ECONOMICS: Just a year ago, the world was facing financial meltdown, but under Obama’s leadership there have been no more bank collapses and growth has returned. True, Gordon Brown had his part to play in this signal accomplishment; but while Brown officially hosted the pivotal G20 meeting in London (and then claimed all the credit) in reality all eyes were on Obama. As Bismarck might have put it, Der junge Schwarze, das ist der Mann.
    PHYSICS: For successfully overcoming the laws of political gravity.
    MEDICINE: There’s the healthcare reform, of course. True, Obama hasn’t yet managed to iron out all the difficulties on Capitol Hill; but then he hasn’t brought peace to the Middle East, created a stable democracy in Afghanistan or reduced the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, and this didn’t put off the Peace jury. Nor should we overlook the prompt action the world took, under Obama’s leadership, against the threat of swine flu; and just the other day the first really promising HIV virus was announced. Could that have happened without Obama?
    LITERATURE: The Guardian’s review of the president’s autobiography Dreams From My Father asserted that it was “in a literary tradition of political prose that goes back to another master of the American language, Abraham Lincoln” and commented on “the exceptional grace of Obama’s prose, its honesty and freshness”. One might also mention that other great literary statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, who himself won the literature prize in 1953.
    And, last but not least,
    CHEMISTRY: Obama might not have entered a laboratory since high school, but he’s got more personal chemistry than most other world leaders put together.

  30. Patrick Lang says:

    William Raiser
    “La la land?” That’s once.
    some of you do not seem to understand that the state of mind of Europeans is unimportant to Obama’s prospects for re-election or enactment of his legislative and diplomatic program.
    Europeans! You are unimportant to most Americans. In fact the mere idea that you think that the award of this prize to Obama may pressure him is a problem for him.
    It will make it harder for him to do the things that you desire.
    You need to get to know some americans who do not live in the coastal urban areas or are connected to university or “think tank” communities.
    In other words, you need to get out more. pl

  31. Mark Logan says:

    Babak, thanks for articulating my exact thoughts on this. I have little knowledge of the history of the Nobel peace prize, but I absolutely agree with the
    sentiment you express. Rather than reward celebrity it would be so much more wonderful if that award was more often used to turn a spotlight on people who couragously strive and accomplish much with little. To people who could really use the money and the attention.
    I almost wonder if it has become something the Nobel people are using to shine a spotlight on themselves.

  32. b says:

    Pat says:
    Obama’s political fate will be determined here, not in Europe. When did you get the vote in American elections? pl”

    The winner of the Nobel Piece Price will be determined in Norway, not in the US of A. When did you get a vote in the Norway Nobel Peace Price committee? b.

  33. Fred says:

    Well, Mr. Nobel did invent dynamite. Looks like Ms. Cheney had an explosion, just not one of common sense.

  34. Patrick Lang says:

    What part of what I said do you not understand? In the real world, this prize is damaging to Obama. pl

  35. I’m not sure how this is an early Christmas present for the Republicans because they are already on rhetorical overload, and their excesses are mainly restricted to their own propaganda network, Fox. You need a real and actual crisis to change this status quo (plus, much better control, using one-way mass media, of people’s thinking — a type of control that used to be possilbe, but that the internet has begun to confound.) Liz Cheney holding forth on Obama’s supposed harm to the national interest is a bit of a joke, considering that her husband delivered Iraq into the hands of the Shi’ites, and thereby strengthened Iran. Sending out Liz to make the case is evidence that this is really a tepid softball from the Right, to see how it plays out — and it is likely to go nowhere, because Obama is a liberal hawk who will do no such thing. I suppose you could make the case that the Nobel Peace Prize gives Obama some immediate problems with regard to certain policies, such as on Afghanistan, but if he uses the occasion to make the detailed case as to what he is doing there and why, well then that will just forward the public conversation another notch, and wrongfoot the Republicans again. As on healthcare reform, the Republicans are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t — this is another case of their self-entrapment in an intellectual cul-de-sac based on bad psychology and phony economics that had been programmed for them since the time of Reagan, although many people thought they were headed to success. I would think that the greatest danger in prospective awards of this type — they also gave one to Gore — is to the Nobel Committee itself, if their planned rhetorical boosts don’t work. But I am heartened by the fact that the Nobel Committee has some grasp of what they might do with a mere award to try to push the world in a better direction, and that they are willing to place a bet.

  36. N. M. Salamon says:

    I greastly respect your knowledge of the internal politics of the USA, thus I am tempted to agree that the Nobel Prize to Mr. Obama might have a neo-con, warmonger, Aipac led backlash. However, there would be some other reason to besmear Mr. Obama without the Nobel Proze, for these Neocon and related idealogues do not care about the USA, the citizens of USA, except their misbegotten ideology.
    I respectfully disagree that Europeans are patronizing the USA, it is the USA which poatronizes the whole world severely and separtaly by state, religion, etc.
    I am tempted to disagre with many posters above withrespect ot the PEACE the Nobel Committee has refered to: it is not solely foreign affairs, but also reflects in internal affairs,. The fragility of democracy, rule of law, peace is depednet of social cohesion, both inside and outside the 50 States. While it is true that Mr. Obama needs some help to strengthen his backbone against neo-cons with respect to I/P problem. with respect to COIN or else in Afganistan, etc, it is equally important that his backbone be strengthened with respect to income disparity, healthcare, Wall Street, Gloibal Warming, etc. The future of USA’s previous strenght, a strong middle class is in deep trouble, culture wars, Wall Street, K-Street, Dod Budget, income disparity etc all work against them. Mr Obama has to be strong on these issues lest all these ills lead to the strengthening of oligarchic control of USA, with a possibility of another Cheney/Bush resurgency, leading to WWIII.
    Please listen carefully to Prof. E Warren in the following lecture [1 hour], and extrapolate her data from 4-5% unemployemnt to 10+ now, with underemployment at approx 20%. The University ot Berkley Graduate lecture in based on 1970-2003 analysis of the economics of middle class [depressing!]:

  37. Nancy K says:

    It is a sad statement about America, when a prestigious award is looked down upon and it’s bestowment is viewed as a negative, because it originated in Europe.
    I get so tired of the bikering in the US and the bickering between the US and Europe.
    Col Lang, I hope that you are wrong, but I doubt if you are about this award hurting Obama.

  38. In general, we Norwegians are very positive to Obama.I think the reaction to the price here in Norway is predominantly negative. “He has not done much yet” and “It will be a burden rather than a help” are two common reactions. The Nobel committee seem to have been divided. To me, it looks like a grandiose and naive attempt at pushing the president “in the right direction” and thus making history.

  39. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    I don’t follow the Nobel glitz any more than I follow the Hollywood glitz but I would think a prestigious award should go for something concrete which has been achieved.
    Perhaps after several years in the presidency, Obama may very well achieve something which can be properly recognized. I myself certainly hope this will be the case which is why I voted for him.
    How do the Palestinians living in Gaza regard this? How does the Arab and Muslim world regard this? How does Asia regard this, China, Japan and so on? It will be interesting to see how world opinion develops on this matter.
    Is there a Norwegian SST reader who could cast some light on the decision process for us?

  40. Dear Pat,
    I don’t like the generalization about what we europeans are up to.
    This prize was given by the Norwegian Academy, not by the europeans as such. They argued something on the lines that Obama’s policy was in line with what the Norwegian comity has been working for over a hundred years.
    As a european and a scandinavian, I think this prize is far underdue and somewhat silly. And I think it’ll tak a lot of work for Obama to turn it into any advantage.
    I suspect the Nobel people want to make Obama an honorary Norrwegian, and to lure him to come to Oslo in December.

  41. Ken Roberts says:

    Col Lang … Your point “prize award is damaging” is noted, but that may not be the case. I take it from your remarks that you are supportive of Pres Obama’s “objectives”, as well we can read them via the tea leaves in the cup (not the baggers).
    Mr Obama, as campaigner, built a tremendous base of friends. Since election, Pres Obama has generally abandonned his friends, cultivating allies instead – among those who already have power. Hence the feelings of disappointment.
    But, the Presidency does not command sufficient patronage to ensure allies in sufficient numbers and clout will stay on side. Pres Obama needs his friends. He must get back to campaign mode, and remain there on a continuing basis, talking with and enlisting his friends. To leave that necessary relationship role to opponents is a mistake. He can still be bipartisan ie open to new joins of allies/friends in pursuit of objectives either long term or temp.
    The Nobel peace prize award appears on the surface to be the action of friends. That is good. Arriving on the flank of the main front, it disrupts plans – so what else is new? One effect has been to divert the news coverage from whatever was top of mind a week earlier. Perhaps that is an opportunity. If utilized.
    The “prize damaging to Obama” factor that you cite is only damage in the campaign to cultivate allies, conducted orderly. But it does not really hurt to remind any potential allies, current ones who may be wavering, etc, that there are also friends.

  42. hoppinjon says:

    Whenever I find myself admiring Europe excessively, I remember AJP Taylor’s definition of European civilization- “whatever Europe happens to be doing at the time.” King Leopold’s Congo, Verdun, Auschwitz, Bosnia.
    I voted for Obama but the least attractive aspect of his candidacy and presidency is the cult of personality/celebrity his minions have encouraged. The celebrity culture has reached Oslo.

  43. lina says:

    “They have damaged Obama’s chances of success.” pl
    Obama’s success will be measured by the voters in 2012 based on the unemployment numbers on election day.

  44. LeaNder says:

    To me, it looks like a grandiose and naive attempt at pushing the president “in the right direction” and thus making history.
    Combine that with Babak’s statement about Nobel’s original intentions. I have been wondering very long now how such a process could be prevented. If any rules could ever prevent it …
    But what if they had tried to send their signal by looking for a young American or a wise old one that has actually something to say, but isn’t known, about what N. M. Salomon alludes to above. In this respect I think we are sitting in similar boats.
    While I obviously agree with the Americans/Europeans that think Obama tries to move in the right direction, I also see the structures and strong resistance that keep his hands bound.

  45. Cieran says:

    My thanks to all of those who have commented on this thread, and especially to our host for starting the discussion. I’ve enjoyed reading these posts.
    My $0.02 worth is that it’s too soon to judge whether this award will serve as an asset or a liability (or neither) to our President. There are too many other near-term factors that will influence the political landscape in the U.S. (e.g., the substantial likelihood that we will soon enough be visited by another financial breakdown), and those who reflexively oppose Obama’s presidency will likely gain more traction from those near-term national challenges than from a committee of Norwegians acting on an international scale.
    But there is a possibility that the Nobel prize committee is attempting to influence events, and if they are, I’d suggest that they are playing a long con, not a short one. The big question is whether Obama will oversee electoral losses in 2010 (similar to those visited upon Clinton in 1994). The GOP pundits seem to believe they’ll make great strides, but only time will tell.
    If Obama can avoid losing ground in next year’s U.S. elections, then the award of the peace prize may serve to help him take ambitious steps towards his stated goals.
    We’ll see what will happen soon enough.

  46. Amazing thread and believe that comment from Curious may have more substantive depth than many in US leadership are willing to admit. Thanks Curious. We (US) often don’t get it. Problem is they (others) often don’t get US! What the NOBEL does reinforce is the fact that lobbying the US whether by individuals, NGOs, or Governments is still a game worth the candle. Perhaps however not for long or as long as some are thinking or hoping. Can the US Congress or the US President truly make an independent decision on what is best for the US without allowing those who lobby those institutions to formulate the solution (problem)? In other words has the US been effectively denied the ability to self initiate its policies by its own political system. This is what happens when power flows down from the government to the people instead of being government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We may well have reached an endpoint with this NOBEL award as to whether the US is any longer independent from destruction by those who wish to impact its decisions? Even the NOBEL Committee understands the game but does the US?

  47. jr786 says:

    He was nominated for this prize at the exact moment that the israelis were destroying Gaza, and in the process appraoching the war crimes status suggested by the Goldstone Reprot. He was silent throughout, and afterwards.
    More than anything, the award is a test of his hubris. To accept it means courting the mockery attached with the next errant Jdam on an Afghan village, or the inevitable israeli agression on Palestinians.
    He’s a farce come to life. My money is on hubris winning out.

  48. optimax says:

    Too many Americans view Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in the same light they viewed Osama bin Laden’s endorsement of Kerry–simply un-American.
    I’m still trying to understand how a great writer like Knut Hamsun could turn to fascism. The Nobel Prize in Literature didn’t help his character any.

  49. china_hand says:

    ~ You need to get to know some americans who do not live in the coastal urban areas or are connected to university or “think tank” communities. ~
    Those are the americans who are causing all the problems with the rest of the world, right? The unilateralists, those who think war is just one more item on the list of US exports? Who can’t imagine feeling pity over a brown-skinned child whose head landed fifteen feet away from their body thanks to…?
    I’m not sure the Nobel committee did make it harder for Obama; by drawing a line in the sand,they’ve exposed an awful lot of rightists who are clearly intent on perpetuating the Bush era, and want to use violence to push it forward.
    I don’t think the award caused any “problems” for Obama that he didn’t already suffer from. Rather, i think it succeeded in using a positive message to shine a *very* bright international light on the bottom-feeding political nutjobs who live in our drains and sewage, and in hardening up the political battle-lines for the rest of the presidency.
    Obama’s failing is that he isn’t much of a fighter; the Nobel prize will force him to either hunker down and put his fists and knees to work, or to toss in the towel and just hand the ring over to the Rethuglicans.
    If he does decide to fight, though, then the prize so recently awarded will serve as a good barometer for cutting the fanboys from the faithful, and the traitorous white nationalists from the loyal opposition.

  50. Mark Stuart says:

    how this makes the French and European populations naive, stupid, and arrogant?
    I linked to those two papers mainly for the pictures they used to illustrate their articles and the event.
    Visuals are important. Sometimes more important than words. And although using pictures reminiscent of the Camp David or Oslo Accords is not prove of arrogance, it certainly does not show great sophistication or acumen on their part.

  51. Balint Somkuti says:

    Dear Sir,
    with all due respect, while I understand your frustration, please keep in mind that the average EU citizen knows as little of the average US citizen as vice versa.
    If the transatlantic ‘whose is bigger’ contest does not stop soon, China and/or Russia will overtake us in small, unvisible steps. And then both of us will be really surprised.

  52. Mark Stuart says:

    RAISER William
    The Norwegians have one of the best, if not the best, records on foreign aid. They give the most per-capita, putting the US to shame.
    I’m not sure who has been living in “La la land” for quite some time now, but you need to check your numbers about foreign aid dude:
    The United States is the world’s largest contributor of ODA in absolute terms ($15.7 billion, 2003), but the smallest among developed countries as a percentage of its GDP (0.14% in 2003)
    As percentage of GDP, Arab states of the Persian Gulf are the most generous, with Kuwait contributing 8.2% of its gross national product and Saudi Arabia contributing 4% in 2002.
    … yeap those Norwegian are not that generous after all!
    With all that oil you think they’d compete with the Arab states of the Gulf though! But .98% of GDP vs. 8.2% for Kuwait and 4% for Saudi Arabia! That’s bad!
    Note that these figures are related to OFFICIAL aid assistance. It does not take into consideration private contributions of individuals and charity organizations, that are very active in the US. Compared to countries like France where private charity work is less developed and active.
    Official Development Assistance (Wikipedia Entry)
    Aid Target Slipping Out of Reach
    (Official OECD detailed pdf document on the current state of the ODA and its trends.)

  53. SRW1 says:

    Judging even from the limited samples in this thread, which seems to be a good mirror of the situation out there though, the condescending attitudes between Europe and the US appear to be rather mutual.
    Pretty good example: the exchange between Colonel Lang and Aosher about race and gender. Maybe HC really would have been elected president, but so far the US hasn’t had a female president and Europe no black leader of any country. That is a simple historical reality, and, stepping back a little, it’s kind of hard to see how one can be a justification for the other.
    Fortunately, it seems that both parts of the world manage to get along reasonably well despite of this.
    As far as the NPP decision for President Obama goes, I realize that it was an ‘aspirational’ decision by the committee. But I do think Colonel Lang has a point that it may be more of a burden for the President than a boost. It wasn’t only conservatives who wondered whether he had already deserved it. It was just that conservatives reacted in their trademark derogatory fashion (yes, Jose, here’s looking at you baby).

  54. C. Kause says:

    Nice pic of George C. Marshall ’01. Now there is a fine example of a Peace Prize winner and sterling role model from our Beloved Alma Mater.
    CK ’82

  55. Mark Stuart says:

    I realize that i owe you at least the beginning of an explanation for my assertion about the arrogance of the Europeans and the French in particular. So you don’t think it is sheer racism or nationalism on my part:
    What do you think of a country where public debate on Democratic values has been totally shut down because its leaders as much as its citizen are convinced they have achieved the ultimate perfection in democracy?
    In France debates about issues like death penalty or abortion are ridiculed.
    If you have the least favorable opinion on death penalty or religion, or the least unfavorable opinion on abortion, you are tagged backward, retrograde. You get no respect nor consideration. The death penalty has been abolished. Period. No going back. The right of abortion has been granted. Period. No going back. The Ve Republic has been enacted. Period. No going back. Is that not arrogant?
    Check the news and TV talk shows. No where will you find any interesting discussion questioning the current French Republican system or its values. Sarkozy timidly tried suggesting that the office of Prime Minister might be a burden and superfluous in the democratic process. Well!? Although many a country without an office of the Prime Minister is a flourishing democracy, we all know how it ended for M. Sarkozy! Isn’t it arrogant to think that one might have achieved perfection and the other one’s opinion is not worth your consideration?
    I also remember the days when the French arrogantly gave us lessons about equality among men of all origins pointing their finger at the KKK! The French seem very good at lecturing and pointing fingers. But they were not then, nor are they today, the perfect example of minority integration. You can find the same expression of arrogance and self-conceit all throughout every branch of French civil society. Examples of the arrogance of the French throughout their history, in the public but also private discourse abound. Just read from their colonial past, but also present. I love the way Paris threw a few million Euros to their rioting Islanders last year to keep them quiet! If that’s not arrogant, what is? And also, check the way Paris dealt yesterday with its minorities. To this day their approach hasn’t changed much. Putting a few moronic the likes of Fadela Amara or Rama Yade in government positions won’t cut it. There is still plenty of arrogance around.
    The current debate in the US about abortion, or death penalty, it is the sign of a vibrant democratic discussion in the public sphere you won’t find in France. In the US, people still think and talk. Democracy has historically been a very fluid concept. And Americans understand.
    During the last elections a debate surfaced about the necessity of Super Delegates or the Electoral College. Structural questions you will never find in the public arena in Paris. The French will never question the Ve Republic system or structure. God forbid! They have attained “perfect democracy”! Who are those moronic Americans who still want to give death to a killer or a rapist? Who are those moronic backward Americans who still want to jail Roman Polanski because he admitted to raping a 13 yo girl, but would allow a woman to wear a veil at school?
    I know though that for all those lessons given by the French when Josephine Baker took up residence in Paris, and for all the lessons they would still like us to heed, it is at the White House that we saw a man of African descent take up residence and not at the Elysee. What a great day was Nov. 4th. 2009! Let the Europeans remember!

  56. CK says:

    That was my take on David Frum’s article as cited in the first post in this thread.

  57. WILL says:

    The Col.’s point is well taken. The Prize will hang heavy around Barack’s neck It will limit his ability to maneuver. It exposes him to attacks from the flanks from those NeoKon “super patriots” such as Liz Cheney.
    But, that is precisely what the majority of that Norse committee intended. To shackle the Decider in the Negative sphere in starting wars, bombing Iran, etc.
    As far as anything Positive being done. Come one, get real. The Israeli Lobby has got him handcuffed to a radiator (in the words of Phillip Weiss). Nobel Prize or no Nobel Prize.
    All these other theaters of action Irak, Afghanistan, Somalia are all tangential to Palistine-Israel. As long as that festering wound is allowed to bleed, all those other problems will get worse & worse.
    And BHO can’t do much about it, Nobel prize or not, b/c the Israeli Lobby has got “his hands handcuffed to a radiator.”

  58. J. says:

    Hear, hear, curious. Well stated.

  59. LeaNder says:

    I am convinced from personal experience that people in Europe don’t realize how arrogant they are in general and towards America in particular. In private conversations about the US and Europe, they always have to bring up their centuries old culture and History. But they will always leave out the fact that it was centuries of bloody History … literally! Not to mention the treatment of their minorities! Boy do they have lessons to learn from us!

    Mark, I haven’t read or heard anyone alluding to America as the new–kulturlos/without culture/philistine–versus the “old European Culture” for several decades now. The old and new world obviously were always deeply related.* And the context in which I heard the issue before was an amalgam of real stories like this: Purchase of the London Bridge plus a huge aura of urban myth forming around specific incidences. What motivated these stories? Jealousy. The American as a symbol of the money able to buy? In the case linked, who knew there weren’t that many bidders?
    To be quite honest, I doubt that the people you talked to (on the average) did have a strong relation to their own “culture” or history for that matter.
    During WWII the US become the West’s cultural center, for the obvious reason of the “non/un-culture” emanating from Germany. And if I take a close look at my parents, even during the Nazi reign young people weren’t so easily convinced about the lesser “culture” in the States, e.g. concerning music. “Negro Music”.
    Not a minor point. Can any scientist today expect to be heard if his papers and books aren’t available in English? … Is this because America is a minor culture?
    The much more relevant and it feels partly mirroring game that I observed during the last decade is that the US is considered the champion of “predatory capitalism”. And from my nitwit perspective I admittedly at one point wondered, what would happen after the US chief adversary, Russia, collapsed. Couldn’t this opposing world view, the US had to deal with, quite possibly have led to concessions inside America too? … Concessions a winner now could give up altogether?
    But seriously the arrogance you may have felt concerning old versus new culture could hide jealously as there may be nothing but hot air beneath the stereotype.
    Next time you should test it. Scrape the surface. What specific culture are they alluding to? Architecture? If they mention e.g. old Romanesque churches ask them if they can tell you which would be the most interesting to see in the area and why. And ask them especially why this shouldn’t be the roots of the US culture too? After all many immigrated e.g. from France, if this is the place you visit. So whom do the Greek temples belong to – to Greece, to Europe, Western society or the World?
    * Differences? Not long ago, I encountered a group collecting support signatures for a prominent jailed American Indian. What would be your reaction if you came across these people? They must be anti-American, they are arrogant? They surely want to point out US “racism”? Do you know about the deep romantic roots of the “noble savage” Indian in German culture? You will have troubles to meet a child who hasn’t read Karl May. Obviously the Nazis tried to hijack his fame by editing him carefully.

  60. Patrick Lang says:

    There are a number of curious things about the psychology on international relations.
    At the end of WW2 when the US occupied part of Germany, the Americans found that they liked the Germans. They liked the countryside, the Gasthause, the people and the food. I don’t think they expected that. Muxh the same was true of Japan.
    On the other hand most Americans have a visceral dislike of the French. This makes no sense. they are our oldest allies. Without them… pl

  61. N. M. Salamon says:

    Another VERY IUNTERESTING take on the Mr. Obama’s prize by a USA citizen born in USSR [in USA 30 years]:
    “Obama wins Gorbachev’s Peace Prize”
    Mr Orlov, the Author, has revisited Russia since the fall of USSR has many interesting comments on the issue

  62. YT says:

    Re: “Americans have a visceral dislike of the French. This makes no sense.”
    “Familiarity breeds contempt.”: supposedly a chinese saying
    Col., sir: IMHO. Just like how I sometimes get real sick of the pricks of my ethnicity…

  63. Mark Stuart says:

    Colonel Sir:
    Could they be allies of necessities only? But again, aren’t allies made by necessities only?
    I doubt that the people you talked to (on the average) did have a strong relation to their own “culture” or history for that matter.
    No they didn’t indeed. But they are convinced that the Ecole de la Republique (Holala!) has given them the best education possible. So the little erroneous or biased knowledge they have is held as the Gospel. Just because on average they might be more likely to pin point Lebanon on a map, they are convinced to know better than others. As for the educated ones, they are not indeed the ones you meet the most.
    And it is not so much a question of old versus new, but rather of people who move forward, who are constantly trying to reinvent themselves and others who are constantly turned back to the past and whining the way the French are. History is indeed interesting and important if you learn from it. Not if that’s the only thing you hold on to.
    I gave some thought to the very French way of being arrogant, and the only sensible explanation i could come up with is that the French have a hard time reconciling all those glamourous myths they have been fed about their country, about their way of life, and the sad realities: life is really tough and unpleasant. Even with an overly extended welfare state. Life is gloomy.
    There is absolutely no prospect for them. Especially with the younger generations. There is zero social mobility. And little sense of hope and future. Everything, is tightly locked. Just as their administration, political system and mind set. If you have a position, you hold on to it as long as you can. And the labor laws are there to see to that. But there is no evolution possible. No change of career possible. Whereas change of careers are common in the US, in France it is not only unheard of, it’s frowned upon.
    After so much collective sacrifice (socialism), it is hard for them to admit that the grass might indeed be greener on the other side of the Atlantic. Or anywhere else for that matter. So one way to convince themselves that they still have it good is to jump at every dysfunction of others, especially Americans’, to say: “See we told you life is so much better here. We made the right choices all along!”
    And then they go on lecturing us on that very French way of life hoping that we’d buy into it. Which would thereby reenforce their own sense of rightoueness. They’ll pull out the whole centuries old history, the beauty of the Loire Valley, the French wines,the camembert…
    Everything to sell you the French myth the same way they were sold at the Ecole de la Republique! They were duped so should we. France is nice on vacation, or if you have many children and feel like living on welfare only.
    France is definitely “old europe”. And although Sarkozy is trying his best to turn things around, he has an old sclerosed political establishment dragging him down. And a general population who is run by envy and jealousy. They just cannot stand people who succeed. They cannot stand people with money!
    The French Revolution was never based on justice but jealousy exclusively. Jealousy is what killed the French in 1789 and is still what kills them today.

  64. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    So just when did the anti-French thing begin?
    Seems to me Americans rallied to aid France in WWI and WWII, Lafayette we are here and all that. So when did the “anti-French” turn happen in the post-war period?
    In the 1950s and 1960s we still were fairly Francophile and the French language was a pretty standard offering in US schools. We had French in grade school when I was a kid in the 1950s. French was a popular language in college and etc.
    I have been in and out of France for over 30 years and my brother has lived there. We have always enjoyed our French friends and colleagues and our stays there.
    The Neocons like Richard Perle and company were howling against France when it resisted going along with the US on their Iraq War project. Neoconized and other simpletons in Congress became outraged with France and changed “French Fries” to something else on the menus there and went off on stupid rants.
    Of course, Perle has had an ownership in a nice home (with a swimming pool no less) in France for some time, down in Dordogne or somewhere.
    And the Neocons’ war in Iraq has worked out so well hasn’t it? Seems to me my French friends’ were correct in their critique of US policy anent Iraq etc.
    Never been to Norway but wasn’t there some fellow named Quisling there a while back? I do hear they have good salmon fishing and that is a nice attraction.
    que faire….

  65. GZB says:

    Reading some comments, especially linked to the Israel-hating moron Philip Weiss, one would think that there are only three superpowers on earth: USA, Israel and Norway’s Nobel-Committee. I don’t find for my life any connection between President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and Israel. Sure, there are no limits to conspiracy theories and anti- Semitic phantasies as those
    of Bill Wade and WILL.

  66. LeaNder says:

    Mark, when I suggested that haughtiness occasionally hides fears or inferiority complexes, I didn’t really want to trigger an anti-French tirade.
    The French Revolution was never based on justice but jealousy exclusively.
    That’s a stark simplification, just as in Russia rulers can occasionally loose contact with the reality and life of the ruled. Miss the signs of change.
    Compared to Germany in the sixties France from my perspective as a teenager had a life style much more similar to America than to us Germans, which somehow supports Patrick Lang’s comment. Simple things really, people walked around casually dressed in their spare time, even in working cloth on Sundays versus the rather rigidly enforced formal dress code on Sundays here in Germany at the same time. I definitively preferred the “savoire vivre” in France.
    But what I was really puzzled then was the propriété- privée-phenomenon. This was something really unexpected in the country of the revolution. We obviously had private ownership of woods too ( still much in the hands of the nobility, the linked successfully tricked the people out of their land, and not long ago added new wood to their estate for a tiny derelict chapel), but there are no signs everywhere preventing people from entering. Everyone can pass through, collect berries or mushrooms. So it was puzzling to me, admittedly, to be confronted with these private property signs everywhere. It felt like a paradox then to encounter this in the land of the revolution.
    But I do love France, it’s coffee, its food and culture, especially the churches and monasteries, the ones that more or less survived the revolution.
    Clifford, there may well be deeper sources. The French created e.g. higher walls for the American film industry than any other European country, as far as I know. And they tried to fight English vocabulary from “bastardizing” their language. … And I think they surely didn’t like to surrender Paris, capital of culture, to the State’s, New York. But then they can easily blame that on their longtime foe, us Germans.

  67. Mark Stuart says:

    Clifford Kiracofe:
    I have been in and out of France for over 30 years […] We have always enjoyed our French friends and colleagues and our stays there.
    As i said: France is nice on vacation… and obviously it has been your personal approach.
    So you might enjoy lunch at Brasserie Lipp in Saint Germain, sipping an excellent Chateau Margot and a Camembert, in excellent, well-to-do, blue blood, highly educated company Sir. But this is not the reality for most of us humble Americans who have to live here or visit! You might have the great fortune to be sheltered by those same friends from the daily French arrogance. I don’t have this privilege.
    So “que faire?” you’re asking?
    Maybe you can drop all your current functions. Learn perfect French (trust me it will help if you don’t want to have to constantly face their sarcastic laughters when you try) Fly over to Paris. Forget anyone you already know (especially those professional contacts in your phone book that would take you to Brasserie Lipp). Commit to finding a regular day job and living in France one full year (and don’t go about looking for a job flashing your credentials). Then try to get your driving license validated by French authorities. Try buying a train ticket or getting a refund because the train was 3 hours late. Try making an appointment with the phone or electrical company. Try having your new sofa delivered or try to deal with any customer service!
    Et là vous serez quoi faire Monsieur! Si vous ne vous-ètes pas pendu avant dèja!
    The subject of the post was European arrogance and i was asked about my take on French arrogance. And i know something about that Sir, first hand. That’s how it all started. Rest assured Sir that i’m in no way part of any neocon conspiracy! That is a power they don’t have. It’s not always about conspiracy theories …

  68. LeaNder says:

    From Phil Weiss: In memoriam Leila Abu-Saba.
    Far thee well, I hoped you would make it. But you weren’t around neither here nor there for quite some time now.

  69. Mark Stuart says:

    That’s a stark simplification
    Yes it is indeed.
    But if i resent my oppressive Landlord, i don’t go about hacking any land owner’s head because he owns land. As much as you might find unjust that he was born into wealth and you weren’t. That was the prevailing mindset and attitude of the French in 1789. And that’s what they did in 1789 all over the country. Many a noble fair and just land owner ended under the Guillotine simply because he had the misfortune to be born into wealth. Is that not jealousy and envy? It’s certainly not justice.
    What we consider a natural reality of life, some people being born propertied, the French consider a grave injustice deserving of the Guillotine. Where we think we ought to work hard at building a Nation that would give all a chance, an opportunity to be propertied, the French decide instead to put everyone at the same level. It’s a mind set. It’s the French way of thinking. It is based on jealousy and envy, not justice!
    it’s coffee, its food and culture, especially the churches and monasteries
    Come on LeaNder, today you can find good coffee mostly everywhere in the industrialized world. Same goes for food. You’ve got plenty of restaurants everywhere. But the good ones are a few only. Just like in the US or GB or Germany, in Paris too, good food is hard to come by. Unless you’re wiling to pay the price.
    As for culture, try asking any French you encounter: “what does it mean to be French?”
    You will be as befuddled by his answers as your interlocutors was by your question. The churches, the countryside? yes indeed it is charming and lovely. You should check Grenoble! Or Biarritz! Awesome!

  70. Mark Stuart says:

    It seems that we all agree that Oslo didn’t give him the Prize because Obama achieved peace. But I’m really not convinced at all that the reason they gave it to him is to give him an incentive to achieve Peace. Like some commentators have suggested.
    The members of the jury and many other educated people in Europe are all too well aware by now that Obama will not do much for peace. No matter how many awards they give him. They know it’s not the award Obama will be contemplating in his Oval Office when he has to take tough decisions about war and peace, about the security of our Nation and the world’s. Europeans might be arrogant and conceited but not completely stupid.
    So why then give him that award? Why show so much love for the guy way before he was even elected to the office of POTUS?
    Could it be that Obama’s socialist leaning policies, albeit mild to European standards, reinforce them in their arrogant self-righteousness?
    “See?! we told you! Even the Americans are coming to terms with our ways and political philosophy post war!”
    Could it be that those same policies justify their own socialist positions at home but abroad too? At a time when the last European Parliament elections showed the Continent to be strongly leaning center-right.
    That’s not completely unconceivable coming from the Swedes. Their King Carl XVI Gustaf is French after all. He is a direct descendant of Désirée Clary, Napoleon one time fiancee and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France elected King of the Swedes in 1810. Ah those French! They’re everywhere they ought not to be!
    I think if Obama were half as decent as he portrays himself to be, he would do just what Lê Ðức Thọ did when he declined the Nobel PeacePrize in 1973 because he said Peace had not been achieved in Vietnam yet (Though Kissinger wrote to the Nobel Committee that he accepted the award “with humility.”!). Or he should do what Jean-Paul Sartre did when he declined the 1964 Prize in Literature because he always refused official honors.
    Oh! but wait Startre is French?! … scratch that! lol

  71. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “Mark Stuart”/Big Foot
    “But this is not the reality for most of us humble Americans who have to live here…” you said.
    You may not have noticed there is a very large American community in Paris, working and studying, by choice. I have had a number of students on semester abroad or summer abroad programs and they have all had great experiences.
    Every year here at VMI we have a visit from students and professors from Ecole Polytechnique. One founder of Virginia Military Institute back in 1839 was a French military officer, Claudius Crozet, who had come to Virginia from his post teaching at West Point, and prior to that EP. Some of our students do a semester abroad at that school, for example, to good effect.
    I have always enjoyed my visits there whether for professional academic reasons or vacation. No one has criticized my spoken French, imperfect as it is, and I have done a number of radio interviews there and the like over the years. The book projects on which I have worked with French colleagues seem to have been well received by readers there despite an American as a co-author etc.
    As a “humble American” just what do you do in France?
    Are you in fact a US citizen, or just posing as one in the virtual world? If so, what state are you from, for example?
    I take it this is your first experience living in Europe or in a foreign country?
    If you are so apparently maladjusted and tormented by the locals there, why not move to another country rather than whine about your personal problems in France? You might also consider increasing your daily intake of French wine (or beer).
    Lipp? I prefer Deux Magots down the street for tea in the afternoon and a leisurely newspaper read.
    You have problems buying train tickets? If you in fact live in France you will have noted the railroad rolling stock is up-to-date state of the art for intercity and transeuro…meanwhile the US railroad system distintegrates. If you do not like interacting with French people, there are automated ticket machines which most people seem to find convenient and so on….but…if you don’t like interacting with French people, just why are you there (if you are there)?

  72. Mark Stuart says:

    I have had a number of students on semester abroad or summer abroad programs and they have all had great experiences.
    I’ve seen them on the Seine River banks at night going on a drinking binge! Yes indeed, being a 20 something student in Paris on a full paid scholarship can be a lot of fun.
    And i’ve met also those American professional schmuck that will tell you: “what’s not to like? France is the Summum of Civilization!?” That’s what a poor fellow from Ohio told me after some reflection when i asked him why he liked France. But they still don’t speak a word of French after living there for 18 years. And they keep living in the closed-in expat. community. I went to some of their gatherings. They all want to act more French than the French themselves.
    A bunch of pretentious. That’s all they are. Just because they made it to the City of Lights and are the envy of everyone back home who ignores the reality of French living. The City of Lights! Hoolala! Kind of like some of our own immigrants back in LA who can’t admit to their families back home that indeed life is tough in LA and they haven’t quite settled yet.
    Ah! Ecole Polytechnique! Now you are pulling the big guns Sir! You wouldn’t happen to know anyone at the local technical college in Paris 19th. district by any chance? Because let me tell you about Ecole Polytechnique: banks in France will give them huge loans before they even pass first year just because it’s “Ecole Polytechnique”! Holala! I also happen to know people from that school and well…they’re morons!
    I wanted to add more Sir but that comment you made speaks for itself:
    Lipp? I prefer Deux Magots down the street for tea in the afternoon and a leisurely newspaper read.
    Everyone who truly knows Paris is aware that Les Deux Magots is the biggest show-off place for all those insecure look-at-me-i-made-it traders in fabrics from the Jewish Sentier quarter. The type that wears huge gold Rolex and outrageous necklaces. He speaks unusually loud to get your attention and spends his w-e in Deauville because he can’t afford Biarritz or Saint Tropez.
    A genuine Parisian would rather go to the more authentic Cafe de Flore, next door Sir. Where the real literary intelligentsia, the likes of Sartre, Camus and Boris Vian used to hang out.
    Les Deux Magots!? Come on Sir! The name of the place says it all!
    See? I can also be a real French and perfectly blend in! No need for wine or beer….lol!

  73. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “there may well be deeper sources”
    Well, I took courses on European film and film history at the University of VA back then. French film was quite popular here among those interested in foreign film back in the 1960s. We also studied Italian film, particularly the Neorealists, and others. These days I find film from Iran, the Arab world, and China quite interesting.
    On the music side of things…right in the immediate post-war era, in the 50s, for example, American jazz was quite popular in Paris and still is. Take the New Morning Club. A great venue but there are a number of fine venues in Paris. Seems to me aspects of American culture such as jazz and blues are well received over there, pop music too. Over here lately guitarists are getting into the “gypsy jazz” style pioneered by Django Reinhardt in the 30s and 40s; you see not a few accoustic guitars made for this style now.
    The point I was raising is the matter of WHEN US opinion took a negative turn per France in the post-war era. We had some issues with DeGaulle but they were dealt with.
    IMO the anti-French thing is more recent and was jinned up by the Neocons for their Iraq War project. The Murdock interests and others seemed to push it in the Press and Fox news did for example. So there is an agenda here behind the “anti-French” crusade of some circles.
    Which brings me to “Mark Stuart’s” rants, I place him now in the category of a synthetic virtual persona which is a popular thing with young folks these days on the Internet. Perhaps there are several people in a computer club who have come together to pose as “Mark Stuart.” Pose as some virtual person and blog away.
    As a poseur, he has consistent problems with his English syntax which leads me to think English is not his native language…so I am not so sure he/they is-are indeed American(s) as he/they pose(s)…this is not to mention his/their flights of incoherence and marked persecution complex… Faces coming out of the rain and women seeming wicked and all that…
    Odd food ideas too: hostile to Alsatian food at Lipp’s, not to mention his aversion to Camembert.
    I noticed he chastized you on the matter of food.
    And his “class hatred” sort of bubbling up here and there but then the segue to a royalist anti-French Revolution pose. Perhaps he also thinks that French and international politics…and maybe even the Nobel Prize… are a “masonic conspiracy” of some sort?

  74. YT says:

    Mark Stuart: Oh c’mon, dude. I bet not all ’em Frogs are that bad. Ya haven’t met the S.O.B.s (regardless of ethnicity & faith) yours truly was forced to grow up with…

  75. LeaNder says:

    today you can find good coffee mostly everywhere in the industrialized world.
    I happen to prefer the darkly roasted Italian/French to the German “sour” one, since I first drank it in my youth. By now I have convinced my whole family.
    Jealousy. I don’t have much jealousy in my emotional depots. Honestly. There are good and bad people on every layer of society. Neither am I a revolutionary. But I also have to live with the paradox, on one hand I would have loved to witness the gone splendor of e.g. Cluny Abbey, not just the ruins, but I can also understand the rage of the population: If they have no bread, why don’t they eat cake? I don’t have a quote from the clergy in my mind, but I am pretty sure they occasionally sounded similar.
    But your problems with the French puzzle me, it feels a bit you were looking for bad experiences. Language? If haven’t been there for a while, I have to ask occasionally: can you please tell me that again slightly slower, till I get used to the conflation of beginning and ends of the separate words again, which takes a day or two.
    Strictly I wonder, if the laughter you report may hide the fact that many French people occasionally have problems with the American or English pronunciation too. I tended to get mad at a friend from North Germany who keeps laughing about the Southern German dialect in Switzerland, till I found out he sometimes has troubles to understand. So as a revenge he obviously decided to make jokes about their slow way of speaking.
    Did you ever ask them what they considered funny, and then joined their laughter?

  76. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “Mark Stuart”
    Lot of class envy in your rants… You also seem to have a hard time with Western culture.
    Are you a synthetic persona of several students perhaps? From where?
    You did not answer my simple question about which state you were born in… in the US? Have a problem with that such as not being born in the US and not really being an American? (Although, a synthetic virtual persona would not be born except electronically.)
    Do you really live in Paris? Where do you live in France?
    And just what do you do there? You pose as a commentator on France so you might give us an idea as to how you developed your persective…how many years have you lived there?
    Or do you just use the Internet from somewehre else…the Middle East or Africa or wherever… and flit around it picking things up to hash up and send back onto blogs in your incoherent rants.
    Also your English syntax indicates to me that English is not your native language…so perhaps you could tell us what it is…I take it is not French as you yourself indicated.
    The view is better at Deux Magots than Flor. And you need to be more careful in your Internet searches looking for material to recycle in your postings. I do see your French isn’t quite up to speed judging from your comment on the cafe’s name.
    Here’s a wiki on Deux Magots which may help you:
    “Les Deux Magots is a famous[1] café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, France. It once had a reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual élite of the city. This derived from the patronage of Surrealist artists, intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and young writers, such as Ernest Hemingway. Other patrons included Albert Camus and Pablo Picasso. It is featured in the 1973 film The Mother and the Whore directed by Jean Eustache and also in the 1959 film The Sign of Leo by Eric Rohmer.
    The Deux Magots literary prize has been awarded to a French novel every year since 1933.
    The café’s name comes from the two wooden statues of Chinese commercial agents (magots) that adorn one of the pillars.”
    By the way are you anti-Semitic? I noted your slur as you said pointedly,
    “the Jewish Sentier quarter.”

  77. LeaNder says:

    Mark: Why should I ask the French, what it means to be French? Peculiar question.

  78. LeaNder says:

    Clifford, “synthetic virtual persona” would make sense.
    I’ve noticed the contradictions too, but you can find that in real people too, even more if they are mainly juggling truisms.
    Although I seem to remember I was puzzled by a “Mark Stuart” before, no better web aka than a common name. But yes I admit, at one point it felt, as if I had fallen for his line, answering against better knowledge. And with my last message I swore to myself. That’s it. No more!
    For whom would this be funny? A Frenchman posing as an American with a prejudice against the French? Not my kind of humor, but yes maybe.
    Concerning the neocon‘s propaganda war against the French (“French fries” turned into “freedom fries” – watch Leslie Gelb), why didn’t they demand that people scrap their Mercedes Benz or Porsche in protest? The Germans were against the Iraq war too, after all.
    Now that I have spread so much hot air on SST, I’ll better shut up for a while again.

  79. Bill Wade, NH says:

    Thanks for the lauph and slur.

  80. DaveGood says:

    This has been said elsewhere but…
    If. through no fault of your own. you inherit two wars that have killed tens if not hundreds of thousands…
    You are not entitled to the Nobel Peace Prize till you have brought those wars to a stop.
    Obama should have known that.

  81. DaveGood says:

    Patrick Lang, Sir…
    We here in the UK., may not have yet elected a black person person to run our nation…..
    But so far we managed to elect a Jew (Twice) and a woman (three times) to our highest executive position.
    When do you think that might be possible in the USA?

  82. Mark Stuart says:

    You are right. There has been and still are some great French people. They might not be as easy to come by as it used to. But there are a few good ones nonetheless.
    It’s just that our host gave me this great opportunity to vent my frustration dealing with the French and their arrogance on a daily basis. And it’s not often i get a chance like that over here. It felt sooooo good!
    LeaNder :
    “what it means to be French”:
    It’s a question i always ask people i meet in any country i visit. I find people’s answers quite interesting to the extent that it says something about themselves and their country and how they relate to each other. And I found France interesting in the range of responses i get.

  83. Patrick Lang says:

    Disraeli was an Anglican. pl

  84. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Well, well, well…there’s some serious Frog hating going on around here, namely by Mr. Stuart! Hmmm.
    Before I chime in on the heated discussion, I’d like to say that this “issue” with the Peace Prize will be OBE in the coming weeks. Everyone will have forgotten it by Christmas.
    Now, let’s talk about those ornery Frogs and their Euro-trash neighbors!
    My five years spent in Outer Euroland (UK) introduced me to a bit of the Old World mentality. Although I lived and worked in the UK, I got around quite a bit and did make some friends from other countries, mostly Spain. Also, SWMBO grew up in Paris and her parents still have a flat there.
    It’s typically a big mistake to generalize too much about over 300 million people – but that won’t stop me! (never has, never will)
    I divide Euroland into two general cultures: beer drinking versus wine drinking. The beer drinking folks are typically my kind of people – meat and potatoes kind of folk who like to shoot the shite about lighthearted crap while swilling beer. Not a lot of deep, philosophical thoughts bouncing around the ole noggin. Very little pretensions with this crew.
    The wine drinkers get on my nerves. Lots of “deep” discussions about all sorts of “serious” subjects. Not a lot of laughter swelling up from their sidewalk cafes.
    The Norwegians are a beer drinking culture. So they’re A-OK in my book!
    Spain is a mix. Those folks know how to have fun, and it must drive the Frogs crazy when the Spaniards mix Coca-Cola in with their cheap plonk. Plus, I can speak enough Spanish (of the Latin American variety) to get slapped really, really hard!
    Even with the wine drinking and smoking and waving arms, I’d rather live in France than some parts of the USA. As long as they had plenty of Kronenburg on hand.
    And whoever said that the food isn’t that great in France is delusional – I got better pastries in Esso stations than I can find in most places here in DC!

  85. Cato says:

    [from Wikipedia]: “Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (English pronunciation: /ˈtʃæŋɡɪraɪ/; Shona: [ts͎aŋɡira.i],[need tone] born 10 March 1952) is the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.[1] He is the President of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and a key figure in the opposition to President Robert Mugabe.”
    “March 2007 arrest and beating:
    On 11 March 2007 a day after his 55th birthday, Tsvangirai was arrested on his way to a prayer rally in the Harare township of Highfield.[18]
    His wife was allowed to see him in prison, after which she reported that he had been heavily tortured by police, resulting in deep gashes on his head and a badly swollen eye.[19]….
    He was tortured by a Special Forces of Zimbabwe unit based at the army’s Cranborne Barracks on 12 March 2007 after being arrested and held at Machipisa Police Station in the Highfield suburb of Harare.
    ‘Using sjamboks, army belts and gun butts, the soldiers attacked Tsvangirai until he passed out. One of the soldiers poured cold water all over Tsvangirai to resuscitate him. Tsvangirai regained consciousness again at around 1:30 a.m…. One vicious woman was left to work on him. She removed an army belt from her waist and used it to assault Tsvangirai until he passed out again.’ “….
    “March 2009 car collision
    On 6 March 2009, Tsvangirai was injured and his wife, Susan Tsvangirai, was killed in a car accident near Harare….
    The next day, MDC officials disclosed that Tsvangirai believes the truck driver “deliberately” drove toward his car, and Tom McDonald, the former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, suggested that Robert Mugabe was responsible, bringing up several past unexplained “accidents” in which opposition figures in Zimbabwe were killed on the road.[81] The MDC is reportedly to commission its own private investigation of the wreck.[82]….
    On 5 April 2009, a few days after Tsvangirai returned to work after his wife’s death, his grandson Sean died by drowning in a swimming pool in their house in Harare.[85]”
    Peace requires courage.
    Courage should be acknowledged.

  86. Mark Stuart says:

    Who were those three women? I count two only.

  87. Mark Stuart says:

    oops … I meant to ask: who is that woman elected three times? … lol

  88. DaveGood says:

    In “ethnic” terms… Disraeli was a Jew….He was born into it… He chose not to make it an issue.
    Everyone who had the vote knew that, he was elected anyway.
    Mark Stuart… sorry I may not have made myself clear…. The conservative Press fronted by Rupert Murdoch’s Organization won the right to place a woman to head the UK Nation three times in a row…. Thatcher.
    1979, 1983, 1987.
    Personally I believe she has a disaster with a slow burning fuse… the consequences of her actions, like those of Reagan’s, are still playing out ( Destroy any industry that has a strong union and ship the jobs overseas… etc) we and our children still have some way to go till we see the full outcome of that.

  89. Patrick Lang says:

    Mais, vous etes attrape (accent aigu absent) dans ma piege, et trop facilement.
    On this side of the wet spot, only Zionist Jews (and anti-Semites) think of the Jews as an ethnic people.
    That’s good and its not so good if you are Jewish and think in terms of things like affirmative action.

  90. Mark Stuart says:

    Thatcher was a woman !?!?
    And you think you know people!
    Margaret Thatcher

  91. Patrick Lang says:

    MS (however many of you there are)
    Not sure whom you are talking to. (I am default) She was very much a woman and traveled around with a bevy of hairdressers, cosmeticians (what a word!), etc.
    Does this mean that you (all) are nervous about strong, dominatrix types with high IQs? pl

  92. Mark Stuart says:

    Colonel Sir:
    High IQ is good. But i sure don’t want a dominatrix bossing me around at home! They don’t make me nervous Sir. They make me …(?)… i’m gonna have to give this one more thought Sir. I don’t want to offend no body!

  93. optimax says:

    I’ve always had a thing for Barbara Stanwyck–the ankle bracelet, the way she held the riding crop, still makes me a little weak in the knees.

  94. rjj says:

    Are Stuarts a highland clan?

  95. rjj says:

    Latest tossery from the commentariat:
    The Peace (Keepers) Prize

  96. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “Mark Stuart”
    (the synthetic cyberpersona — and very ripe dingleberry — created by non-Americans posing you as an American).
    Are your creators paid by anyone, any foreign government perhaps, for their job to place puerile disruptive postings across the web?
    Your English syntax is not native and is garbled and incoherent. You creators are clumsy using translation software and clumsy cutting and pasting from the net.
    I noticed the other day you [your creator(s)] insulted my school, Virginia Military Institute and our colleagues at Ecole Polytechnique. You called the students “morons” and etc.
    As I have posted on another thread, your synthetic persona has been created by a person(s) who wish to disrupt this website, evidently, and I imagine others.
    Your “Mark Stuart” character systematically went back over a number of past threads the other day and dropped in more of your silly “schoolboy” (apologies to schoolboys) ranting.
    I noticed recently in your posts a direct anti-Semitic slur in a post addressed to me and I found it very offensive to say the least.
    But then I started thinking about your persona and that anti-Semitic slur. You don’t like Western culture, you don’t like democratic norms, you are envious and jealous of the bourgeois culture you find in Europe not to mention elite culture, you have an aversion to alcohol, you exhibit some voyeurism particularly with respect to watching young western students (boys and girls) and criticize them for drinking alcohol, you have a persecution complex, you obsess about your poor French and pin the blame for your victimhood in France on it, you don’t like the cuisine at Lipp (because Alsatian food uses pork I take it?), you have a problem with women, you don’t like President Sarkozy because he is Jewish, you post fantasies about conspiracies in the US government which have caused our drug crisis and lack of security at the border, you have said a high Mexican official told you this, and other such patent nonsense.
    So looking at your cyberpersona… is your persona some sort of closet political Islamist, for example? Perhaps your creators are in some cyber cafe in the Mid-East passing around a shisha, or in some Bidonville… or just what? Of course, it could also be that someone is trying to create this image/persona for anti-Muslim purposes. Or maybe you are just a disoriented European indulging your giggly self-absorbed fantasy world in your bedroom at mom and dad’s house?
    A phony cyperbpersona/cyber dingleberry created by …. Isn’t that it “Mark”???

  97. turcopolier says:

    The hasbara type operations are becoming more sophisticated. MS is now so clealry one of these that I am banning it/them.
    What do you think of NS Salomon? More of the same? pl

  98. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Per NS Saloman, haven’t followed his postings with the same attention as those of the late “ms.”
    NSS some time back claimed he lived in Europe, Portugal I think it was. I recall he claimed to be a US citizen as well at one point. His last comment alone on another thread being prickly/defensive about his use of English and isolent in tone could indicate you have “him”/”them” pinned. As I recall he has been rather consistent in promoting a defeatist line with respect to the US. His disagreeable insolence I should think would disqualify him from SST presence. MS got increasingly insolent as “he” began to melt down.
    For all the software available out there — spell checks, translators, and the like — these hackers still present clumsy posts. The attempts at using US slang and dialect as ms did, for example…very shoddy. “Highlander” was a more skilled poseur/hacker.
    “MS” would pick up on something like your use of the term “sub rosa.” Then, he would google to check the meaning of this term, then shoot something (incoherent) back to attempt to establish some knowledge. I noticed he did this when Sidney Smith mentioned Tony Rice. Ms googled to find Tony Rice and some musical composition of his and then came back with the line that it was “gut-wrenching” to live in Europe and not be able to hear Tony Rice and how he longed for home in the US…blah blah blah. He did this with my mention of Cafe Deux Magots in Paris and botched that.
    The hackers work to ingratiate themselves into the discussion group, build up a presence, then work toward introducing disinformation and propaganda. Also I note attempts at provocation. From this they sometimes move toward more open disruption of the targeted website as ms did. They could also introduce some coded signals to others working with them and monitoring the targeted site.
    Perhaps an SST reader who has some professional knowledge of these types of foreign directed cyber operations could give us some leads to open source articles on this threat.

  99. AAL says:

    This is kind of a catharsis act for Western Europeans. They couldn’t vote for BHO in our election. This is finally their chance to vote. At least it is the vote of an elite group on behalf of their continent. I don’t see any Europeans taking to the streets over their action. I think they approve and that’s good for US.

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