Numerous war criminals, such as Barack Obama and Henry Kissinger, have won the Nobel Peace Prize over the years, which seems fitting as Alfred Nobel himself was known as “the merchant of death”.
Since its founding in 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has ostensibly been the most prestigious international award recognizing those who have done “the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” However, the Norwegian committee, which chooses the peace prize winner annually, uses no formal definition of “peace” and has been criticized for the politicizing the award numerous times.
Peace certainly was not a forté of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish arms dealer who created the prizes which bear his name. Nobel invented dynamite in 1867 and was the owner of Bofors AB, a steel producer that Nobel transformed into a major manufacturer of cannons and other weapons. Today, what remains of Bofors is owned by Saab AB and United Defense Industries. His reputation during his lifetime was so notorious that newspapers labeled him “the merchant of death” due to the massive wealth he received “finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before.” Perhaps, it is no surprise then that the Nobel “Peace” Prize has been awarded to several war criminals over the course of its 115-year history.
Past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize include Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of State as well as Shimon Peres, a “founding father” of Israel who was largely responsible for their covert nuclear program. Kissinger’s award was especially controversial as two members of the Nobel committee resigned in protest. Kissinger received the award in 1973 alongside Le Duc Tho, of North Vietnam, for the “peace” agreement ending the Vietnam War. Le Duc Tho refused to accept the award alongside Kissinger, claiming that the peace agreement was a sham. Kissinger, that same year, had organized a bloody coup in Chile, which overthrew the democratically elected president Salvador Allende and replaced him with brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet, who went on to rule for 17 years. This year’s winner of the Nobel peace prize, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is the head of one of Colombia’s wealthiest families and, as president, has overseen the genocide of Colombia’s largest indigenous group, the Wayuú. This genocide has resulted in the death of 14,000 children in only 5 years.
Yet, the peace prize winner whose actions have most flagrantly belittled all that the prize purports to stand for is current US president Barack Obama. In 2009, Obama was awarded the prize for Obama’s promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and for Obama’s “outreach” to the Muslim world. Even Obama expressed that he felt undeserving of the award and used his acceptance speech to promote the decidedly Orwellian idea of a “just war.” Obama’s “outreach” to the Muslim world has since materialized in the form relentless bombing campaigns in 7 Muslim countries, which have caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties, as well as the rise of terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra, which have benefited handsomely from US arms deals.
In addition, Obama’s “promotion” of nuclear nonproliferation resulted in Obama’s plan – announced this January – to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal at a cost of $1 trillion over the next 30 years as well as the likelihood of nuclear war with Russia higher than ever. Obama has also overseen the country’s largest arms deal with Saudi Arabia, funder of ISIS and murderer of Yemeni civilians, with over $115 billion arms sold over his 8 years as president. It seems that Obama, perhaps more than any other questionable recipient of the award, fully displays the schizophrenic nature of the Nobel Peace Prize – the public promotion of peace alongside a dark, sinister history of promoting and profiting from war.