Four US presidents have already been awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter (after leaving office), and Barack Obama in 2009 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” Now, this explanation was complete fakery, and it merely expressed the hope that Obama would act like that going forward.
As unbelievable as the proposal for Trump to get the Nobel Peace Prize is, we should nevertheless react to it in three ways.
First, we should bear in mind that the great compromise which enabled the breakthrough towards a peaceful resolution of the Korean crisis was made not by Trump but by Kim Jong-un. It was Kim who made the key concession, which means any prize should be directed to the pair jointly. And the weakness of this idea is obvious – it would invite ridicule to hand the Nobel Peace Prize to the head of arguably the most oppressive regime in the world.
Second, remember how, a little while ago, Trump was competing with Kim about the buttons to trigger nuclear missiles that they have at their disposal, with the American claiming his button is bigger than that of his counterpart in Pyongyang.
As such, the extreme oscillations in the public perception of the Korean crisis are significant. One week, we are told we are on a brink of nuclear war; then there is a week of respite, then the war threat explodes again.
When I visited Seoul in August 2017, my friends there told me there is no serious threat of a war because the North Korean regime knows it cannot survive it. Yet, the South Korean authorities have often prepared their population for a nuclear war.
And, lately, our media has reported on the more and more ridiculous exchange of insults between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. But the irony of the situation is that, when we get (what appears to be) two immature men letting go of their rage and hurling insults at each other, our only hope is that there is some anonymous and invisible institutional constraint preventing their rage to explode into a full-on war.
Usually, we tend to complain that in today’s alienated and bureaucratized politics, institutional pressures and constraints prevent politicians from expressing their personal visions. But, in this case, we hope such constraints will prevent the expression of all too crazy personal visions.
Thus, should Donald and Kim really be rewarded just for performing a sudden U-turn and not acting as crazy as we feared?
[Extract. Appeared in RT on May 5th, 2018.]