Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ignoble Nobel

Jay Nordlinger has a good Impromptus today decrying the politicization of the Nobel Prizes which seem to be increasingly politicized:

Harold Pinter won the literature prize, and here the Nobel committee performed almost a parody of itself: They picked the most anti-American, most unhinged writer they could find, and one whose literary gifts are less than Dantesque.
The peace prize was a parody, too: It was given to Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency. (ElBaradei is director general of the IAEA — the successor to Hans Blix.) This is not only a parody, but a cruel joke, and an insult, and a disgrace. The IAEA may not be damnable, although that is debatable. But it is virtually impotent, and to accord it this great honor is appalling.

For one thing, it misleads people: about the efficacy of the IAEA (which is supposed to enforce the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty). (Have you noticed much nonproliferation lately?)
A man who has a special place in my heart — so to speak — is Joseph Rotblat, winner in 1995. You may not remember him. I remember him well, however, in part because I wrote a piece on him when he won, exactly a decade ago.
Rotblat worked on the Manhattan Project, but he walked out on that project, because he believed that Nazi Germany would never acquire the bomb — also that the U.S. was seeking its own bomb "merely" to defeat Imperial Japan, and to deter a post-war USSR. Rotblat was, to use a term that now seems antique, a fellow-traveler.
In the 1950s, Rotblat helped start the Pugwash Conferences, in which Western scientists would meet with Soviet ones, along with their KGB chaperones... Ostensibly, this was an anti-nuclear group, but somehow they managed to serve the Soviet agenda, whatever it was that year. The Pugwashers declared themselves completely opposed to the concept of deterrence — and everything else that eventually ended the Cold War, and won it for freedom. Before Rotblat received the Nobel prize, he and the Pugwashers were decorated by such peace-lovers as Husak, the Czechoslovakian dictator, and Jaruzelski, the Polish dictator. In fact, the Pugwashers were pleased to hold their conference in Warsaw after Jaruzelski imposed martial law.

Best idea for the Peace Prize?

...the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize should be the American military, every year: for the American military is the planet's greatest guarantor of peace.

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