Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize
The prestigious Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded this week, and Donald Trump has made no secret of his belief that he deserves it.
During a press conference last month alongside the prime minister of Pakistan, a reporter said to Trump, “Now, if you can solve this outstanding issue of Kashmir, very likely and definitely you will be deserving a Nobel Prize on that,”
Trump responded: “I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t.”
After Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize less than a year into his first term, he proceeded to intensify bombing in the Middle East. In fairness, Obama could have won the prize more legitimately later on for his role in helping to secure the Iran nuclear agreement, along with the rest of the U.N. Security Council member states plus Germany. Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from that deal, which even the CIA has confirmed effective in halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief, is about the only strike against Trump’s bid for the prize. And considering that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize while masterminding the bombing of Cambodia, Trump deserves leeway for that faux pas.
Trump has done more than any other U.S. president in modern history to end America’s foreign wars, fighting against a military-industrial complex that can’t imagine a world without them. Trump should win for the sole reason that he hasn’t gotten America involved in any new wars — which already puts him ahead of Nobel Peace Prize winners Obama, Kissinger and Al Gore, the former vice president who was serving alongside President Bill Clinton during the bombing of Yugoslavia.
Critics argue that Trump is more interested in photo ops with world leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. But Trump’s engagement with Kim has helped foster a rapprochement between North and South Korea. The two countries’ leaders met three times last year to discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, after 11 years of non-engagement.
Trump is also perhaps the first American president to view Russia through a pragmatic, non-ideological lens, treating the country as a potential partner in resolving conflicts in Russia’s own backyard. An example of this unfolded earlier this week, when the Trump administration announced a further withdrawal of American troops from northeastern Syria, entrusting America’s NATO ally, Turkey, to resolve any remaining conflicts with its neighbors.
Critics immediately chastised Trump for “abandoning the Syrian Kurds” to Turkey. What’s the problem? Turkey is an American ally. The Kurds live in Syria. It’s up to Syria to deal with its own citizens, and its own neighbors, in maintaining its territorial integrity and the security of its citizens. There’s also a diplomatic process underway involving Syria, Turkey and two other powerful neighbors: Russia and Iran. America has been mucking around in Syria for eight years without an exit strategy. What makes Trump’s critics think that the countries in that region can’t do any better sorting things out on their own?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan’s party suffered electoral losses earlier this year because Turkey has been overrun with millions of refugees from Syria. He wants the situation resolved so that Syrians can return home. Meanwhile, Trump critics in both the Republican and Democratic parties are so hooked on permanent war that they panic when an American president actually takes a chance on peace through troop withdrawal. (U.S. Special Forces in the region reportedly stood down on Monday night, after Trump’s announcement.)
Imagine an alternate reality in which Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2016, given her response to Trump’s withdrawal decision via Twitter: “Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.”
With that single tweet, Clinton revealed that if she were president, America would assume bad faith from its NATO ally (Turkey), would treat the regional superpower (Russia) like a permanent enemy, would consider a gambit in favor of peace to be against America’s interests, and would treat a group of Syrian residents as if they were American-owned.
Trump critics also freaked out last week when the president overtly encouraged Ukraine to work things out with Russia. The new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was elected on a platform that included ending the conflict with its neighbor. France and Germany are now working with Russia and Ukraine to end the conflict. It’s a purely European problem, and Trump is right to treat it as a family squabble that doesn’t involve America.
If the Nobel Committee really wanted to make a statement against American-led wars, it could reward the one American president who has gone to great lengths to fight the system that perpetuates such conflicts.
Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist
and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France.