Trump's Nomination for Nobel Prize in Middle East Peace: Alternative Fact or Just Plain Fiction?
By: John Mason/Arab America Contributing Writer
Far-Right Norwegian Lawmaker Nominates Trump for Nobel Prize
One week ago, anti-immigrant Norwegian lawmaker Christian Tybring-Gjedde nominated President Trump for his work in the Middle East. Specifically, according to the Washington Post, the nomination was “for a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, which opens up for peace in the Middle East.” A member of the Norwegian parliament for the populist Progress Party, Tybring-Gjedde wants Trump to be recognized because he “meets the criteria.” The UAE-Israeli accord, depending on one’s perspective, could be an historic deal that normalizes relations between the two nations and perhaps sets the stage for additional Arab countries to join in a diplomatic détente with their long-time enemy.
Since the time the agreement was arranged between Israel and the UAE, which will be signed in a celebration at the White House this week, the Kingdom of Bahrain has announced its intention to make a deal with Israel.
Given all of that, it turns out that Tybring-Gjedde filed late for the 2021 nomination. Nominations must be presented to the Prize Committee by February 1. Nominations can be made by select groups and organizations, including lawmakers. This was not the first time Ty bring-Gjedde-Gjedde nominated Trump for the Nobel. He threw Trump’s name in the hat in 2018 for his efforts to help reconcile the stalemate between North and South Korea. We all know what became of that reconciliation, though hope springs eternal. It is noted that President Obama won the Nobel Prize in 2009, just months after he’d taken office.
What Does a Nobel Prize Nomination Mean?
Only a select few win the Nobel Prize each year. Examples of winners for Middle East peace efforts are few and far between. Here, we are among the likes of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who captured the prize for a peace process engineered by the Carter administration in 1978. Or Palestinian Liberation Authority president Yasser Arafat and Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzak Rabin for a Clinton administration-engineered accord in 1994. These prizes are based on years-long processes of negotiating and arm-twisting, including the day-to-day work of embassy and State Department officials. These processes are not, at least until the official celebratory ceremony, glossy, show biz opportunities—rather, they involve a hard slog and a huge team effort, an all-of-government action. These are well-won prizes.
Fox News broke the news of Trump’s nomination with great fanfare, according to Yahoo Life, in the absence of context of each year’s nomination (literally hundreds of individuals.) This was a one-act deal, UAE-Israel relations, mainly desired by the UAE for trade, and by Israel for “buying off” compliant Arab countries, thereby bypassing any concern for the Palestinian people who are occupied by Israel.
Tybring-Gjedde buffered his nomination with a nod to the coming U.S. election, saying, “No matter how Trump acts at home and what he says at press conferences, he has absolutely a chance at getting the Nobel Peace Prize.” Further bolstering his ideological position, he posited, “It is now to hope that the Nobel Committee is able to consider what Trump has achieved internationally and that it does not stumble in established prejudice against the U.S. President.” A peace prize promoter couldn’t get much more fervent in his reasoning. Trump is, of course, delighted with his nomination; he was so excited that he tweeted (in the third person, no less) that he deserves a Nobel Prize.
A Different Take on Trump’s Nomination
A Los Angeles Times opinion piece summarizes perfectly the subject of the nomination of Trump. In a hypothetical letter to the Peace Prize Committee, titled, “Trump for a Nobel Prize? For what, fiction?,” the writer notes, “I saw in the news this morning that our president, Donald J. Trump, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a right-wing nationalist member of the Norwegian parliament for his role in getting Israel and the U.A.E. to agree to like each other. Frankly, I was surprised he wasn’t nominated for the Nobel in literature, given the depth, creativity and productivity of his fictions, but so be it.” In suggesting other names for purposes of nomination, the writer suggested:
“I have some names in mind. For example, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has excelled as an agent of peace during his tenure as Senate majority leader. He’s been masterful, in fact. By not bringing up for a vote some 375 bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House, McConnell has kept the peace in the Senate. Fewer bills on the floor means less partisan rancor.
Then there’s Atty. Gen. William Barr, who deserves consideration for seeking to drop the charges to which former National Security advisor Michael Flynn has already pleaded guilty, a move that was certain to smooth relations between the White House and the Justice Department. Barr also sent federal agents to clear protesters from the area between the White House and St. John’s Church a block away, allowing the president to hoist a Bible as a prop for a photo shoot while avoiding any possible friction with the protesters.”
We have nothing against the legitimate issue and acceptance of such major awards as the Nobel, duly deserved. We leave you to decide on this one.
“Lawmaker nominates Trump for Nobel Prize, Washington Post, 9/9/2020
“Who Exactly Nominated Trump For A Nobel Peace Prize? Not Anyone From America,” Yahoo Life, Sarah Midkiff, 9/9/2020
“Trump for a Nobel Prize? For what, fiction?” Los Angeles Times, Opinion, Scott Martelle, 9/9/2020
John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo; John served with the United Nations in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries.
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