Friday night topic: Carter and the Nobel prize

— 4:30 PM on October 11, 2002

The Nobel committee has awarded a Peace Prize to ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has campaigned for the prize tirelessly for years now, sticking his nose into official business around the globe as if he were still acting in an official capacity. I figured the Nobel committee would eventually cave and give Carter a Peace Prize, elevating the former peanut farmer to the same status as other great crusaders for peace and human dignity, like Yasser Arafat. But I didn't expect the Nobel folks to give the award to Carter as a means of sending a nasty message. The AP news account tells the story:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his peace mediation efforts and promotion of human rights in what the awards committee said was a criticism of current U.S. policy and "a kick in the leg" to those following the same line.
In the wake of last year's terror attacks, which have prompted a tectonic shift in outlook from the world's only superpower, the U.S. probably won't take kindly to criticism from snooty European assistant principal types. But at least the committee got the "kick in the leg" wording right; it reflects properly the difference in stature between the complainers and their subjects. Even if it were a famed Flying Norwegian Roundhouse, with exquisite elevation and solid rotation, the Nobel committee's kick wouldn't land any higher than mid-calf.

Mr. Carter's obligation now is a higher one than his duty to the international rights community: it's his loyalty to his country, to his President, and to the cause of real peace in the face of terror. He should politely but immediately give back the Nobel prize.


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