Were his personal life a reflection of peace
President Trump received three nominations for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to the United Nations’ World Food Programme today.
Trump was nominated by the Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde for his peace efforts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The two states reached a deal for greater peaceful coexistence last month, with Israel withdrawing threats to annex parts of the West Bank according to a BBC report. The Abraham Accord as its known was signed on the 15th of September this year at the White House, with President Trump as a witness. The UAE became the third Arab country and the first in 26 years to recognize the autonomy of Israel.
Tybring-Gjedde also lauded Trump for his ability to talk to people with ease regardless of their backgrounds, and his withdrawal of American soldiers from the Middle East as reported by The Atlantic. Besides peace mediation processes, the reduction of armies is a key qualifying factor for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to Alfred Nobel who instituted the Nobel Prize.
“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- — -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)
This means that Trump did engage in successful peace processes in the global scene, with visible results that are as fresh as last month’s Israeli-Emirati peace deal. His peace efforts are closely related to those of Abiy Ahmed Ali, who won the Peace Prize last year. (Perhaps not to the same scale as Mr. Ali’s, but international peace mediation all the same.)
Mr. Ali, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, became a Nobel Peace Laureate “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea” (All Nobel Peace Prizes). The two-decade-long Ethiopian-Eritrean border stalemate resolved within a year of Mr. Ali’s Prime Ministership.
In contrast, former US president Barack Obama who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 won it for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen cooperation between people”. It sounds like a flimsy reason to win the Peace Prize for effort alone, without much to show for it (at the time of award). His award was met with criticism in the US.
Five years later in 2015, Geir Lundestad, an ex-secretary of the Nobel Peace committee revealed that they had hoped the Prize would strengthen Mr. Obama, but had failed to do so. It is however unclear what he meant by ‘strengthen’. Lundestad also indicated that the Peace committee had regretted their decision to award Mr. Obama the Peace Prize laureateship.
Was Mr. Obama a more deserving candidate than Mr. Trump? Did neither of them deserve it but the committee ran on ‘Obama euphoria’ at the time? Is the award process credible? But then again, one only needs to read the list of its laureates to realize the subjective nature of the Peace Prize.
That stated, President Trump appears to have done more to qualify for the Peace Prize than Barack Obama had. So why couldn’t Trump win it?
According to Tybring-Gjedde, the very man who nominated him, Trump was never going to win, because of his mouth, and morality. Speaking to Graeme Wood, Tybring-Gjedde said, “I know a couple of [the five members of the committee], and they are looking for people who should behave a certain way. It’s not like chemistry — if they find out you have four divorces and are bad personally, they will never not give you the chemistry prize for that.”
The message from the Peace committee seems to be that you can’t make peace out there while creating a trail of chaos in your personal sphere, and expect to win the Nobel Peace Prize. You must be a person of peace, not just a negotiator of it. That, ladies and gentlemen, seems to be President Trump’s Achilles’ heel.
It might be just the reason the peace committee conservatively awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the UN’s WFP, “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” WFP is a safe choice with little scope for volatile politics. Donald Trump, however?
Had Trump been a nice guy like Barack Obama, perhaps he might have bagged this year’s Peace Prize. But he isn’t, and we’ll never know.