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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 13:42 GMT
Nobel Peace Prize: Should Bush and Blair win?
US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have been nominated for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
Harald Tom Nesvik, who represents the far-right Progress Party said he had nominated both Bush and Blair for their work in fighting terrorism and promoting world peace after the 11 September attacks.
The Nobel committee said last week that many nominations were related to 11 September and its aftermath. Among those tipped for the prize are former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, praised for his role after the attacks.
What do you think? Who should win the Nobel prize for peace?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Cynthia, Hong Kong
Please, no! I can just see Blair's ego go through the roof. Cynical though it may be, I fail to see any genuine motives in the man.
Asides from that, I agree with those who suggest a lifetime of sacrifice in the search for peace deserves such an award.
Bush is a wartime leader and inspires loyalty among Americans. but that doesn't make him a peacemaker. So far he has bombed Afghanistan, disengaged from the crumbling Israeli Palestinian peace process and made threatening overtures towards three sovereign states. If that's a peacemaker, I'd hate to meet a warmonger.
You know, the views on this group are so naive. All the people who say that Bush and Blair aren't working towards peace are missing one thing in their arguments: a realistic alternative to the solution of global terrorism other than a use of force. Everyone who I've seen whine about the military action never has an alternative lined up, short of essentially telling the terrorists that they're naughty and would they please be so kind not to do so again. God knows how World War 2 would have been fought had public opinion and polls been around the way they are now.
They should be given any "Military Peace Prize" if there is one, but certainly not the
Nobel Peace Prize, which should not be associated in any way with "Killing & Destruction" no matter for whatever good those killings and destructions are aimed for.
Why are we discussing two figure heads like this? The only name that comes to my mind is that of Secretary of State, Colin Powell. The man has been all over the world defusing many 'hot-spots.' He has been the backbone of the International Coalition against 'terrorism.' In many regards Powell is making the effort for peace around the world.
Peter LaBorde, USA
Let's remind ourselves what the prize is all about by reading an excerpt from a speech by a potential peace prize winner (if he wasn't murdered) about a past winner (who was murdered):
"I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, ...... those of you who are black - considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization - black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love. ...... Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world."
- Robert F. Kennedy
I agree with Mr. Ralph Garber. If any one person has taken the greatest personal, national and international risk to avoid a greater catastrophe, then that person is President Musharraf. Not only that he also took great decisions to breakaway from the past and align Pakistani society with the rest of the moderate world. All this while still facing an uncalled for threat of war from India. He has sincerely called for a peaceful dialogue with India so many times, so that the whole region can have peace and security.
You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
This prize should be awarded to a person who lost his son, or to a child who lost his dad, to war and still carries an olive branch.
Yes Bush is hawkish and probably in the pocket of the arms industries and as such his methods lean to easily towards overwhelming violence (a Nobel prize might make him think more before bombing a village to destroy a Taleban ammo dump) but these two nations are saying clearly - if you exploit women or minorities, promote and export violence, and remove at will basic human rights the world won't stand silently by any more as you do.
When I first heard the news I thought that it was a joke. How can these people be nominated for a peace prize when they are waging war. War is war, no matter the motivation.
The fact that so many people, including those from the so-called developed world, are against this is an incredible relief to me. I am glad that so many can see through the mainly biased opinions of the western media and know that Bush and Blair are just two world bullies who don't even deserve to be considered for the peace prize.
Without war there will be no peace. Mr. Bush made the right decision when he chose the path of war to find peace. al-Qaeda is an intolerable organisation. What did you expect him to do - treat the killer of your countrymen as a friend? God Bless America and Bush for having chosen the right path to preserve liberty, freedom and secularism. By the way, it's OK to choose Bush but Tony is not a bad choice either.
Pardon me while I finish laughing....
A. Chaudhary, Italy
I find it difficult to understand why some people do not see that to maintain peace and a stable world it is sometimes necessary to inflict military action against those rogue countries. I'd be interested to hear their suggestions on how to tackle these countries, which haven't been tried by Blair or Bush before military action!
Tough call. On one hand there is concept of a "just war", as outlined by Michael Walzer, ridding the world of a sinister problem through violence. On the other hand, there is the intent and meaning of the prize. The award could be argued for Bush, at a later time, should the nuclear weapons cuts, the ultimate success of the anti-terror campaign be successful, and the rebuilding of Afghanistan occur.
As Bush himself said, the "battle" against terrorism is young. Afghanistan and the WTC have barely stopped smoking. Events and history may judge Bush and Blair otherwise, so nominate them next year. Just as Arafat's award was really too early to call, so Bush and Blair should be, for different reasons and maybe not for forever. The intent and criteria of the prize must be weighed against the events in the world, ultimately those on the committee are the only ones capable of making that final decision.
The person who brings a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis should get it. If at all, Bill Clinton at least tried! President Bush getting a noble peace prize will be a joke!! He acted to retain his own power after September the 11th. Blair was Bush's ambassador throughout the world. If there aren't any candidates to nominate the peace prize can be withdrawn for one year rather than being given to people with double standards!
Declaring a war on terrorism & bombing innocent civilians in Afghanistan surely can't be the only way of fighting terrorism. Instead maybe America ought to ask itself why these terrorist organisations repeatedly target America and American interests and try changing the policies which provoke these terrorist organisations. The day Bush does that he surely deserves the prize.
How can it possibly be appropriate to consider awarding a prize for peace to those who wage war? Regardless of mitigation, there can surely be no circumstances that warrant rewarding aggression, however well intended.
Any person that brings peace will have already received their prize, and recognition will mean little. However, their job will never be finished.
If Blair's got an ounce of humility left, he'll do the decent thing and not accept the award. The fact that he and Bush have been nominated is one very sick joke.
Having looked at some of the recent recipients of the prize, I am convinced the award is intended to be ironic and in this case I can't think of two people more deserving. After all Henry Kissinger also won the Nobel Peace Prize!!
Never mind the fact that at this point in time President Bush it threatening at least three other countries with military action.
Peace does not come when two wrongs make it right. Peace comes when you you feed the weak not when you feed (or starve) the strong
Yes and No. Yes, Bush and Blair are worthy of the prize but no, instead it should be given to Ronald Reagan for ending the Cold War. He does not have many years left. He should be honoured.
To my mind, the Peace Prize should be a recognition of acts of peace that truly change the world. Although it could be argued that the fight against terrorism increases safety in the world, it does not change the age old premise that might makes right. Personally, I would like to see the award go to a person or group who promotes peace and understanding on a personal level, such as some of the Palestine/Israeli movements that try to promote true understanding between peoples with such a long history of hatred between them.
Ha, ha, ha, ha. The English sense of humour really is wonderful!
Are we really obliged to choose just anyone? Does our 'civilised' world not have anyone more competent for conferring such an acclaimed prize? It just reflects what stage this world has reached.
The pretzel should get the peace prize. At least it tried to do the decent thing.
How about awarding it to the people and government of a country like Brazil, who have never shown aggression to another state? Or to the people of both Northern Ireland and the Republic who are trying to unite for peace despite the best efforts of the extremists? Better still, give it to the winners of the World Cup. Nothing unites this planet like footy.
Andrew Clark, UK
I am thankful to see that there are so many against this suggestion. It renews my faith in the humane race.
Rob Read, Canada
The new cemeteries in Afghanistan are very peaceful, after all.
Anders Dybwad, Norway
The problem is that any member of the Norwegian Parliament can nominate a person for the Nobel peace prize. It was Harald Tom Nesvik, a member of the Norwegian Parliament from the Progress Party (which is the right-wing, populist equivalent of Jean Marie le Pen and Jörg Haider's parties) who was behind these nominees. I feel ashamed, on behalf of the Norwegian people and parliament that this could happen. One-fifth of the Norwegians voted for the highly popular Progress Party last year. But what else can you expect from a country whose people are far too wealthy, who don't know how incredibly spoiled they are and who benefit from a high oil price?
So why were Blair and Bush nominated? Because of their silent support and arms export to countries like Burma and Indonesia (East-Timor)? Because they are putting economical benefits and protectionism before peace? This nomination makes an interesting contrast to what the captain of the Norwegian cargo ship "Tampa" did last year on the Australian shore. So let's hope that the Nobel committee's choice is more mature.
Bill Douglass, Chicago, US
I think that vengeance should not lead to a Nobel peace prize.
If Yasser Arafat got it, even with his bloody past, anybody could get it.
Hamed Karzai, the Afghan interim president might make an interesting nomination, not least because it might help his reputation amongst the warlords he's trying to bring under the rule of law. Being seen as a man "sponsored" by the West may give him an extra few days for what it's worth.
John Reid, New Zealand
Giuliani was a hero but not a winner of a peace prize. In the face of great provocation, the President of Pakistan has accommodated India, appeased the Americans, has consistently attacked terrorists in Pakistan, maintained order in his country and shown leadership in the cause.
George and Tony have done the right thing but I have to question their motive - was it to rid the world of evil-doers, put themselves on the world stage, seek retribution or protect their jobs from an electorate demanding revenge?
Blair should receive the award, I feel this with every fibre of my being. Bush should not under any circumstances even be considered, that is the biggest joke I've ever heard, I think I'm going to be sick, the award will lose any meaning if he receives one.
To include Bush is a disgrace. He was governor of Texas and that state has the death penalty.
I vote for the former king of Afghanistan, His Majesty Mohammed Zaher, without which the Bonn peace agreement - and hopefully, peace in Afghanistan - would not have been, and will not be, possible.
An organisation such as the Red Cross should be nominated - they helped the most after 11 September. Awarding the prize to Bush, Blair or Giuliani would be like awarding the peace prize to Hitler after the Reichstag fire.
Thanks Talking Point for taking up my earlier suggestion that you have at least one forum a week for people to spout forth their pathological anti-Americanism. Does everyone feel better now?
Hmmm, I can't decide. Who are they up against? Idi Amin? Genghis Khan? Satan?
How can a policy of retaliation be one of peace? Jesus said "Love your enemies and do good to them" (Luke 6:35). Such is the nature of God. Anyone who claims to have the moral high ground must live like this.
Is it April Fool's Day already? This year's flying by!
Bush and Blair should not get the peace prize. It's far too early to tell if their actions have enhanced the prospects of peace or just laid the foundations for a more polarised world. I would vote for Giuliani, as he acted with quiet dignity to support the victims and show the strength - rather than the anger - of New York.
No, not at all. How can you even think about nominating them for peace, when they are responsible for killing thousand upon thousand of innocent Afghans? What will history say tomorrow, what rights will an independent country have if a superpower can bomb and devastate it at will or whim?
In the words of Alfred Nobel, the peace prize should go to people who in the preceding year "have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" and who "have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
I think this very decidedly rules out Bush and Blair. A personal nomination would be Mary Robinson.
I would not give the award to Mary Robinson or Kofi Annan - fine talk from such people is cheap and involves little risk (personal, political, moral, or even financial) and only infrequently achieves any sort of result. Mayor Giuliani has done many estimable things and deserves recognition but he has hardly been active in the search for peace. A good example of a recent winner who has truly merited the award is Nelson Mandela: a man who took real risks and suffered personally for his beliefs and who, when given real power, did not seek to use it to settle scores. A tough bill to fit, but we are talking about an international peace prize.
Old African parable; Do you thank the man that lit the fire simply because you like the ash that formed from the burnt hut?
All Bush and his shadow president Blair have done is ignite a conflagration of global distrust that threatens the last shreds of hope left in an already troubled region. Most Middle Eastern and Muslim friends of mine feel more wronged now than they have done for a long time. Maybe due to a failure of politics or presentation, the world is potentially more dangerous and volatile now than before Bush came to power. We yet hope this fire burns out to leave the gentle ash of peace. Peace price? Ha!
Randall , Ecuador
It's not as daft as it sounds but no time has passed since the events on 11 September and history has had no time to judge the consequences of their actions, which most of us do support. Those that truly bring peace are those that work without rhetoric and the cover of a political badge. Aid workers in Africa and Afghanistan for example.
The peace prize should go to individual(s) who spend a lifetime working for understanding, cooperation, and human rights. Bush spent his first year in office returning to unilateral policies and manifest destiny-style of government. His post-September actions are to protect his country's interests, not promote peace. His nomination is understandable in today's environment, but an award to him would be an insult to the purpose of the prize. I've been more impressed with Blair's attitudes and actions towards various conflicts, but he hasn't put in enough effort or time to justify a Nobel prize so soon.
Giuliani did an incredible job of reinforcing a city's spirit and managing a disaster, but sadly this is not a contribution to a better world. Nominations should be made from a pool of active people seeking change, not from victims who reacted to being attacked.
For Bush and Blair to win the prize would be a travesty. Even to have them on the nominees list is insane. When we're talking about putting them next to people like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, this nomination devalues the whole currency of the prize.
This is an absolute joke. Bush just announced plans to bring his defence budget up to Cold War standards, effectively doubling it over a period of five years. How could you ever give him the Peace Prize? I think neither of them qualify since peace is peace and bombing a country (either be it Iraq or Afghanistan) even when there's good reasons for it, is not peace. For Bush I'd add that his attitude has lead to an even worse situation in the Middle East due to his unjustified support of Ariel Sharon.
No. Fighting for peace is an oxymoron. People who rain down thousands of tons of explosives onto a country on the verge of starvation are doing nothing to promote peace. Why should such acts work to crush the spirit in Afghanistan when they never worked in Britain during World War II?
Ed Vista, UK
Individuals shouldn't be allowed to be even nominated. This prize should be awarded only to an organisation. There are plenty in this and every other country to choose from: - Oxfam, Red Cross or Crescent, Christian Aid, The Corrymeela Community of Northern Ireland ad infinitum. Even the most deserving of individuals would acknowledge that they couldn't have done anything without their friends and supporters.
Yes, they should win. Unlike other people who have posted here who could care less whether US and British citizens live or die, Bush and Blair have taken steps to protect them and to bring peace to the world God bless them both and good luck to winning.
Eduardo Unda Sanzana, Chile
Bush and Blair are doing what is probably the right thing regards Afghanistan, indeed the action may contribute significantly to world peace, but they should not win the peace prize for declaring war. Although the Nobel system is funded on the proceeds from dynamite. So perhaps...
I cannot believe that this nomination has been put forward. Have people lost their minds? I have just been reading about the starving children in Afghanistan. I would gladly support Blair and Bush if they immediately solve the plight of the Afghans. For the sake of peace this nomination should be rejected.
The Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, ICBL, Amnesty International, Mother Teresa, George W Bush - spot the odd one out.
I am not sure that anyone deserves a Peace Prize following the dreadful events of 11 September. However, I do think that Mayor Giuliani should receive some form of international recognition for his work in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. His no-nonsense approach in dealing with that catastrophe and his compassion should be rewarded. What was also refreshing was that there did not seem to be any political agenda or hidden motive behind his actions. Perhaps others should take note.
Only if the award is now intended to be ironic.
I agree Bush and Blair are not ideal candidates for the peace prize... but I for one am thankful that they are DOING something about the terrorists that threaten my family members' lives every day.
Maybe in 20 years time their actions may be worthy of sharing a peace prize with those that follow, but now? There isn't even peace yet, and Afghanistan certainly isn't rebuilding itself yet. Not having war isn't everything, for true peace you need to have a life, a job and a country.
I would have less of a hard time if it were just Tony Blair. He has at least gone around and visited the nations. There is at least the notion of coalition building here. However, in my mind, George W Bush has done nothing but enter and then escalate war. This could become a quagmire for the "allies."
Wow, to read all the comments on this page, you would think that the West was the aggressor on 11 September. I know schools don't teach much history anymore, but this only happened four or five months ago, people! Bush and Blair should definitely be considered for the Nobel Prize. What better way to secure peace than to try to rid the world of fanatical terrorism?
John Scott, UK
You'll always get the moaners who'll say they don't deserve it, even though they travelled all over the world building alliances and bridges.
A question to the moaners, what have you done for peace? Yes that's right, nothing.
Blair and Bush do not deserve the Nobel peace prize as they are countering terror in kind. Their campaign in Afghanistan has killed far more people than those who perished in the attack on America and whose perpetrator is yet to be known.
Instead of the prize, Blair and Bush should be tried for crimes against humanity. Their soldiers killed and tortured so many people in Afghanistan. Recently, human rights bodies condemned the United States for the inhuman way in which it is treating so-called traitors from Afghanistan. Does this qualify one to win a Nobel prize?
In the Middle East, Blair and Bush are supporting Israel as the latter's soldiers destroy Palestinians. Why should they be honoured?
I give Mary Robinson my vote.
Will everyone please stick to the question and not just have a pop at the leaders of the UK and the US. Do I think they should receive the peace prize? No, and that's it. Ogova and those other people that live in countries that hate our prosperity and freedom, channel your hatred into something constructive, you just add to the downward spiral.
Fergus J, London, UK
Certainly. They obliterated a poor and starving country that was already pre-industrial back into the stone age, causing rampant poverty and death the likes of which will never truly be covered in the western media, least of all the United States.
Whilst I agree with some of their actions so far, it's not exactly a policy of peace, is it?
Kieran Dimmick, England
My own choice would be Mary Robinson or Kofi Annan for their ceaseless efforts to work for peace and human rights. A special prize should also go posthumously to the New York firemen who died and all who gave their lives to save the lives of others.
This Harald Tom Nesvik can't see the wood for the trees. Let's just hope the Nobel prize committee have a bit more sense.
What have Blair and Bush done for peace, apart from declaring war on terrorism?
There's a lot of finger pointing here children! Blair and Bush are both working to prevent terrorist attacks on our countries (unless you think we're better off with them). Adrian has missed the point - the Israelis and Palestinians are as bad as each other. I would not vote for either Bush or Blair - as they are not focussed solely on world peace and national interest will always come first - but if you wish to condemn their efforts please detail how you propose to deal with worldwide terrorist organisations. With a leaflet campaign? Kofi Annan has my vote. I know he was joint winner last year but he deserves it again.
Absolutely not! Bush has done nothing for world peace with all his hot-headed threats. Now he's trying to increase the US defence budget threefold - not exactly a peaceful notion. A declaration of war on terrorism does not constitute a promotion of peace. Even if he succeeds, the message to the rest of the world will be that a strong attacking defence force can win - hardly a way to foster peace in the world.
For what - bombing innocent Afghan civilians because they happened to be in the firing line? The mind boggles!
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