Nobel Handcuffs?

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David Frum raises an interesting point:

How can a Peace Nobelist strike Iranian nuclear plants? Or wage a protracted war in Afghanistan? Or tell the Palestinians, “Sorry, that’s the best offer, take it or leave it”? The hope of course is that he cannot.

We’ve heard a lot over the past few years about radicals trying to achieve their aims through “lawfare.” Here’s a new concept in asymmetric conflict: “prizefare.” The Nobel Committee was not rewarding Obama. It was attempting to geld him.

I'm not so certain. While that may have been the committee's intention, I don't know that their track record validates such a strategy. To my recollection, the 1906 award didn't alter President Roosevelt's strong-arm policy toward Nicaragua regarding the Panama Canal. Same goes for President Wilson.

Did the Nobel Prize change Kissinger? Not really. How about that champion of peace, Yasser Arafat? Enough said.

Of course, the award has on occasion gone to notable world leaders who had made—and in some cases, realized—brave and selfless efforts toward peace. Some actually paid for those efforts with their lives. But for the most part, recipients were either already on the track that earned them the award, or, the awarding was so preposterous in the first place that it had no bearing on any decisions made by the recipient.

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