Administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, the Nobel Prize has been awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in literature, physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine, and for contributions to world peace. The foundation for the Nobel Prize was laid in November 1895 when Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) — a Swedish chemist and engineer best known as the inventor of dynamite — made provisions in his will to bequeath more than $4.2 million from his estate to the establishment of the awards named in his honor. Mr. Nobel specifically designated the institutions responsible for awarding each of the prizes: the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize in Literature; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry; the Karolinska Institute for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; and a Committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Parliament for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Each year, the various Nobel Committees solicit nominations for Prize candidates from thousands of university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Laureates, and members of academies and parliamentary assemblies around the world.
For most of its existence, the Nobel Peace Prize has favored the idealistic internationalism that believes international law, trans-national organizations, and diplomatic “engagement” can promote global order and thwart aggression more effectively than nations pursuing their own self-interests in various ways, including, in some cases, military force.
In 1919, Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the chronically ineffective League of Nations, and for the next three years the Prize was awarded to people connected with the League.
In 1925, England’s Austen Chamberlain won for signing the Locarno Treaty, along with England, Italy, Belgium, and Germany, claiming it would “close the war chapter and start Europe afresh.” A New York Times headline celebrated, “France and Germany Ban War Forever.”
In 1926, the Prize went to French Prime Minister Aristide Briand, who also had signed Locarno.
In 1929, United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg won the Peace Prize for co-authoring, along with Aristide Briand, the Kellogg-Briand Pact. By the terms of this agreement, the contracting parties “condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.” Further, the signatories pledged that “the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts … shall never be sought except by pacific means.” Forty-nine nations signed the document, including the future Axis aggressors Germany, Italy, and Japan. History shows, of course, that the Kellogg-Briand Pact’s idealistic “outlawing” of war did nothing to stop the relentless march to World War II facilitated by those appeasers in the West who believed that such diplomatic magical thinking could be effective against aggressors’ willingness to use violence to achieve their aims.
Yet such failures have not deterred the Nobel Committee from continuing to reward internationalist delusions. In recent decades the Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize has become increasingly inclined to make its award an extension of its leftist politics and preferences.
In 1973, for example, the Nobel Peace Prize was conferred jointly to Communist North Vietnamese political leader Le Duc Tho — who in 1956 oversaw the start of the Communist insurgency against South Vietnam — and American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, for their efforts in negotiating the Paris Peace Accords that resulted in a ceasefire and an American withdrawal from Vietnam. But the 1973 peace was a fragile one, and Le continued thereafter to direct the military operations against President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam. Then, shortly after U.S. funding to South Vietnam’s war effort was cut off in early 1975, Saigon fell to the Communists who proceeded to execute tens of thousands of peasants.
The Nobel Peace Prize winners in 1976 were Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, co-founders of the Community of Peace People, which advocated a nonviolent resolution of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Williams made headlines most recently in July 2006 when she told an audience of Australian schoolchildren: “I have a very hard time with this word ‘non-violence,’ because I don’t believe that I am non-violent … Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” Corrigan, for her part, remained revered by the Left long after having won her award, as evidenced by her 1992 receipt of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s “Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.”
The 1977 Nobel Peace Prize winner was Amnesty International, which traditionally directs a disproportionate share of its allegations vis a vis human rights violations at the United States and Israel.
In 1980 the award was given to Argentine writer Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a pacifist and Marxist who in more recent times has spoken at the World Social Forum, an annual event replete with anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, anti-America, and anti-Israel themes. In April 2003 Esquivel sent a letter to President Bush that included the following sentiments: “You hide the true motives of the Iraq invasion and seek to justify massacres in order to seize the oil resources of Iraq, and to dominate the Mideast, and to impose your plans of world hegemony and global dictatorship … You have transformed the United States into a terrorist State.”
In 1982 the Nobel Peace Prize went to Alva Reimer Myrdal, a Swedish diplomat, politician, writer, and pacifist who was a key player in the creation of the Swedish welfare state.
In 1984 Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against South African apartheid. Tutu was also a strong supporter of Winnie Mandela, who was prominent in the Soviet-sponsored African National Congress, closely aligned with the South African Communist Party. In subsequent years, Tutu would claim that U.S. injustices around the world provoked the attacks of 9/11; that America was an aggressive nation which spent too much on defense and too little on aid to the poor; and that “Israel is like Hitler and apartheid.”
The 1985 Nobel Peace Prize was given to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, (IPPNW), a group founded with the explicit involvement of the Soviet dictatorship. In fact, Yevgeny Chazov, Soviet Deputy Minister of Health, served as one of IPPNW’s three co-chairmen.
In 1987 the award went to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sánchez, who, in order “to bring peace to the region,” reversed the policy of his predecessor who had allowed the Reagan administration to use northern Costa Rica as a base for its war efforts against the Marxist Sandinistas.
The 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient was Rigoberta Menchu, the leftist icon and communist agent who falsely claimed authorship of a 1982 autobiography which was later found to have been written by the French Marxist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray.
In 1994 the Nobel Peace Prize Committee drew a moral equivalence between statesmen and a terrorist when presenting its award jointly to Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the Palestinian leader whose unwavering goal was the destruction of Israel, Yasser Arafat.
In 1999 the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Médecins Sans Frontières, a humanitarian aid NGO that has often condemned Israel — in contradiction to the organization’s pledge to maintain political independence.
In 2000 the award went to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who, solely to bolster his chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, bribed North Korea’s government with $1.5 billion in exchange for the latter’s feigned good-faith participation in peace talks ostensibly aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
In 2001 the Nobel Peace Prize was given to the United Nations and its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.” When presenting the award to Annan, Nobel Committee chairman Gunnar Berge argued that the establishment of peaceful change in the 21st Century would “be a task for the UN, if not in the form of a centralized world government then at least as the more efficient global instrument which the world so sorely needs.” Berge attacked the Bush administration specifically, saying that “the USA provides the clearest illustration” of a country “selective in their attitudes to the UN,” only favoring “an active UN when they need and see opportunities to obtain its support; but when the UN takes a different stance, they seek to limit its influence.”
The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient was Jimmy Carter, who strongly opposed America’s looming invasion of Iraq. When the former U.S. President was officially given his award, Nobel Committee chairman Gunnar Berge told reporters that Carter’s honor “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current [U.S.] administration has taken. It’s a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.”
The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize went to Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan ecologist and environmental activist who founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa in 1977. An anti-white, anti-Western crusader for international socialism, Maathai alleges that “some sadistic [white] scientists” created the AIDS virus “to wipe out the black race.” She is also a member of the Commission on Global Governance, whose manifesto, titled Our Global Neighborhood, calls for a dramatic reordering of the world’s political power — and redistribution of the world’s wealth.
In 2005 the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian attorney who served as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997 to 2009. Under his leadership, the IAEA’s strategy of appeasement proved unsuccessful at dissuading North Korea from developing a nuclear weapons program in the late 1990s. Yet ElBaradei continued to employ the same approach in addressing Iran’s well-documented pursuit of nuclear power thereafter. He suggested in diplomatic circles that the best course of action might be to tolerate small-scale uranium enrichment in Iran, in exchange for Tehran’s pledge to eschew the production of nuclear armaments — a plan very similar to the failed bargain he had struck with North Korea.
In 2007 former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to spread awareness about man-made global warming, a controversial concept whose very existence is denied by many eminent scientists and climatologists.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee called “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”; his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons”; and his efforts to create a “new climate” of “multilateral diplomacy” in international relations. All Nobel Peace Prize nominations must be submitted by February 1 of the year awarded, meaning that Obama had been nominated within his first twelve days in office.
In 2012 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union (EU), on grounds that it had “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” Ignoring the role of American money and military power in achieving those boons, the Committee instead honored an organization that had been created out of the mistaken notion that national loyalties and interests had caused all the misery and wars of the previous century; that by more closely joining European nations, especially France and Germany, with a common currency, common laws, an EU court and parliament, and closer economic integration, those selfish interests and nationalist loyalties could be diminished and their malign effects minimized.
Portions of this profile are excerpted from “The Nobel Committee and Its Orwellian Peace Prize,” by Bruce Thornton (October 15, 2012).