European newspapers have reacted to Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize with a mixture of incredulity and skepticism. Almost without exception, newspapers across the continent (and political spectrum) are saying the award to Obama is premature and undeserved.
For many people, that conclusion seems perfectly reasonable. But coming from Europe’s sycophantic media establishment, which has spent the last two years worshiping Obama as a messianic figure, such a reaction represents a sea change in sentiment toward Obama. Is Obama’s European star finally falling to earth?
What follows is a brief review of what some of the major European newspapers are saying about Obama’s Nobel:
- The London-based Economist magazine, which endorsed Obama for president, writes: “But is the award premature? Although the prize may be given in the spirit of encouraging Mr. Obama’s government, it might have been better to wait for more solid achievements. With so many good intentions, and so many initiatives scattered around the world (and an immensely busy domestic agenda, including health-care reform and averting economic collapse), Mr. Obama appears to be racing around trying everything without yet achieving much.”
- The left-wing Guardian, in an analysis titled “Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize: Why Now?”, writes: “The reality is that the prize appears to have been awarded to Barack Obama for what he is not. For not being George W Bush. Or rather being less like the last president. The question now is whether having being anointed perhaps too early by the committee, a Nobel prize earned so cheaply and at so little cost will help him in his efforts on the international stage or rather be an albatross around his neck. Something against which all his future efforts will be judged — and perhaps found wanting.”
- Elsewhere in the Guardian, an informal online opinion poll asks: “Did President Obama deserve the 2009 Nobel peace prize?” More than 70 percent of respondents say “no.”
- The left-wing Independent, in a commentary titled “This award is premature — and potentially very foolish,” writes that Obama: “ … should have refused the award, politely saying that he was flattered and, while appreciating the motivation, was as yet unworthy of such distinction. Instead, he is once again lauded for his symbolism and potential rather than his actual deeds. One day, he might be a worthy winner. But not today.”
- Elsewhere in the Independent, in an article titled “The real world has little time for prizes”: “Yes, he’s made those fancy speeches … But, as they say in American politics, where’s the beef? … Obama’s prize is a final, gratuitous shot at George W. Bush (remember him?).”
- The center-right Times of London, in an article titled “Prize Fools”: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee is in danger of putting the entire comedy industry out of business.” Elsewhere, in a commentary titled “Pointless Nobel prize reveals how President Obama is lost in his own mystique,” the Times advises: “Scrap the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s an embarrassment and even an impediment to peace.”
- The Financial Times, in an editorial titled “Urgency of Now?”, argues that the Nobel committee is “trapped in an adolescent adulation of Mr. Obama that, if once shared by many, most have put behind them. Its continuing desire to flatter a particular tendency in U.S. politics — Al Gore and Jimmy Carter are recent laureates — risks painting it as an annex to the left wing of the U.S. Democratic party.”
- In France, the center-right Le Figaro, in a commentary titled “Disservice to Obama,” writes: “Should we abolish the Nobel Peace Prize? We ask the question after Barack Obama was awarded the prize on Friday. This decision, which oozes political correctness, was a very bad idea.”
- The center-left Le Monde, in a commentary titled “The Meaning of the Nobel,” writes that the Nobel committee “justified their choice in language worthy of worst-UN diplomatic rhetoric.” It argues that the prize should have gone to “brave Russians or Chinese who are fighting for liberty in their own countries.”
- In Switzerland, the Basler Zeitung, in an editorial titled “Nobel Prize: For What?”, writes: “It is quite bizarre. President Barack Obama has just won the Nobel Prize. It is not clear why. Because he has made peace, a kind of peace, with Hillary Clinton? … Strictly speaking, the whole thing is really postmodern: A person can now win the Nobel Peace Prize when he says he hopes for peace sometime in the future. But he is not obligated to do it. The intent is sufficient. Great.”
- The intellectual, left-leaning weekly magazine L’Express, in an article titled “Obama, the Nobel of the Ridiculous,” writes: “Republican Ronald Reagan contributed to the liberation of Europe and the collapse of the ‘evil empire’ that was the Soviet totalitarianism. And Democrat Bill Clinton has worked hard to create the conditions for an honorable peace between Palestinians and Israelis. They are both more worthy recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be honourable for Barack Obama to refuse the prize. He might merit it someday. But not this year.”
- In Germany, the left-wing magazine Der Spiegel, in an article titled “More Burden than Honor,” writes that bestowing the Nobel Prize to Obama now is like “awarding a medal to a marathon runner who has just completed the first mile. … Who has grabbed Obama’s unclenched fist? Ahmadinejad? The Taliban? Kim Jong Il? Putin or Medvedev? Netanyahu or Abbas? No one. No success in sight, nowhere.”
- The Düsseldorf-based business newspaper Handesblatt says “The Nobel Prize for Obama is a Mistake.” The Financial Times Deutschland, in a commentary titled “Obama’s You-Are-Not-George Bush-Prize,” writes: “Many will regard the premature award as exaggerated Obama hype.”
- The center-left Frankfurter Rundschau, in an interview titled “The Obama Effect is Pure Religion,” writes: “World public opinion has concentrated the age-old anti-Americanism in one person, George W. Bush — the ultimate evil. The perfect embodiment of evil of all time. Now we invoke the complementary figure: Obama, the saviour, the fighter against evil. These figures are now set directly against each other. They are ideal constructs, usually only seen in movies.”
- In Italy, the center-left Corriere della Sera, in a commentary titled “A Prize Against (Bush),” writes about the “irresistible rush that seems to have gripped the jury of Oslo.” It argues that “all [of Obama’s] innovations are still in the launch pad” and thus the prize is premature, “unless the prize awarded to Obama is meant to be a Nobel against against George Bush.”
- The center-left La Repubblica writes: “This award is simply a ‘call to action.’ In sporting parlance, Obama has made the goal and now he has to earn it.” In an online poll, the center-left La Stampa asks: “Nobel Prize for Obama: Just or Hasty?” About 55 percent of respondents say it was premature, 45 percent say it was just.
- In Spain, the left-wing Público, which normally exhibits a sycophantic affection for Obama, believes he should share the Nobel Prize with George W. Bush. The paper writes that without Bush, it would be “impossible to imagine that a new president could win the Nobel only for his speeches, his spirit and his smile, but without any tangible achievements to sell.”
- The center-right ABC, in an editorial titled “A Premature Nobel,” writes: “Not so long ago the common view in the West was that our values were being threatened by a war that was declared upon us by terrorism … One wonders what the members of the prize committee understand by the word “peace.” Are they thinking about a peace in which free societies can continue to be free? Or is their peace one of appeasement and making a pact with those who want to destroy the liberal democratic order?”