09.30.2009 0

A Nice Quiet Sleep?

  • On: 10/15/2009 09:18:30
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By Victor Morawski

    Nearly half a century after the death of Alfred Nobel, Albert Einstein in 1945, speculated on the dynamite inventor’s motives for instituting his peace prize: “Alfred Nobel invented an explosive more powerful than any then known — an exceedingly effective means of destruction. To atone for this ‘accomplishment’ and to relieve his conscience, he instituted his award for the promotion of peace.”

    According to Nobel biographer Sven Tagil, there is scant evidence from Nobel’s own writings to support Einstein’s conjecture. What Einstein seems to have been dead-on about, however, were the parallels between Nobel’s situation and that of himself and his fellow nuclear scientists whose creation brought about the advent of a larger peace through what became known as “mutually assured destruction.”

    Nobel’s own views on peace seem to have been anything but those of the starry-eyed utopian pacifists of the time. In fact, he strongly resisted the attempts of his long time friend Bertha Von Suttner, a known peace activist, to persuade him to join her ranks. Indeed, he once remarked to her, “Good wishes alone will not ensure peace,” while suggesting to her, “Perhaps my dynamite factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses.”

    How ironic, then, that the Nobel Peace Prize, rather than going to an American president who historically supported Nobel’s own views of peace through deterrence and mutual strength — like a Ronald Reagan or, yes, even a George W. Bush — has instead gone to one whose utopian ideas for peace would have us eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

    A member of the Nobel Committee that awarded Obama the prize, Agot Valle, confirmed in an October 9th Wall Street Journal article that Obama was chosen for the prize, “primarily for his stance on nuclear disarmament.” She also said that the committee was strengthened in its resolve to choose Obama after his September 24th appearance before the United Nations. There the U.S., led by Obama, put forth a “U.S.-drafted resolution [which] called for “further efforts in the sphere of nuclear disarmament” to achieve “a world without nuclear weapons.”

    One can only think that, far from following in the steps of Nobel, Obama is instead following more in the footsteps of former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who, after a series of diplomatic meetings with Hitler signed a dreamy-eyed agreement, “for our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”

    On the day of his return from Germany, in his view bringing what he claimed would be “peace for our time” he told the British people, “Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” The Nobel Committee would no doubt have applauded his efforts for, as Valle now says of Obama, “He is giving hope to people who believe in dialogue instead of threats of using military tools.”

    Part of Chamberlain’s negotiated price for what he thought was peace was a concession that in effect gave control of Poland and Czechoslovakia to Hitler. In an eerie parallel, the U.S. unilaterally dropped its plans recently for a missile-defense shield which would have protected much same region in Central Europe.

    Valle in the same interview cited above not surprisingly voiced her support for this U.S. move. Former Polish president Walesa elsewhere has said that he didn’t like the policy because of the way the U.S pulled the shield without even consulting the Polish, and this on the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland. Walesa noted of Obama, “I could tell from what I saw, what kind of policies President Obama cultivates.” Millions of Americans can, too, and they are not policies that make us feel like we can, “Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”

    Victor Morawski, a professor at Coppin State University, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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