T. Roosevelt, Kissinger, Arafat, Peres and Obama are highly controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners. Find out why and join our poll and discussion. Suggest other names of people who perhaps shouldn't have won their Peace Prize
Controversial Peace Prize winners
Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2016 for his efforts to achieve piece and end the 52-year conflict with left-wing rebel. According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who in the preceding year "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." However, sometimes, the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize winners generates heated debates on their merits for receiving the award when compared to other candidates. There are some Nobel Peace Prize winners that are considered to be especially controversial. Here we present a few examples. Vote who you think are the most controversial among them or suggest other controversial winners in the comment section below.
- Theodore Roosevelt (1906): President of the United States between 1901 and 1908, Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful efforts to end the war between Russia and Japan. However, although Roosevelt favored a world order which could bring peace among all "civilized nations", he was far from being considered a pacifist. In fact, during the war between Spain and the United States in 1898, he led an American cavalry regiment in Cuba. Roosevelt has been criticized for his interventionist and imperialist approach to nations he considered "uncivilized." About his Nobel award, the New York Times wrote: "a broad smile illuminated the face of the globe when the prize was awarded... to the most warlike citizen of these United States."
- Henry Kissinger (1973): the Nobel Prize received by Richard Nixon's Secretary of State is considered one of the most controversial awards since the Peace prize was established in 1901. Kissinger received the prestigious award in recognition for his efforts negotiating a cease-fire in the Vietnam war. He was supposed to share the Prize with his Vietnamese equivalent, Lê Đức Thọ, who rejected the award. The war ended two years later. The controversy surrounding Kissinger's Nobel Prize increased after the publication of documents from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) confirming his involvement in the coup d'etat led by Augusto Pinochet in Chile the same year. Two Nobel Committee members resigned to show their dissent to the award given to Kissinger.
- Yasser Arafat, Yitzack Rabin and Shimon Peres (1994): the Palestinian president, and the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel received the Nobel Prize to honour a political act which called for great courage on both sides, and which has opened up opportunities for a new development towards fraternity in the Middle East." However, peace negotiations in the Middle East were a failure. In this occasion, one member of the Nobel Commission also resigned to show his opposition to this award, calling Arafat a terrorist. In 2002, several members of the Committee suggested Peres' award should be withdrawn after the Israeli politician was named Foreign Minister of Ariel Sharon's government.
- Barack Obama (2009): Obama received the prestigious Norwegian award the same year he became president of the United States. He received the prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" and, especially for his "vision of a world with no nuclear weapons." The award was heavily critisized as undeserved, premature and politically motivated. Obama himself said that he felt "surprised" to receive the prize and did not consider himself worthy of it. He nonetheless accepted it. Although Obama has recently reached an agreement with Iran about their nuclear weapons and has normalized the relationship with Cuba, two important diplomatic achievements, many consider his presidency as generally pro-war. He has increased the US military presence in Afghanistan, ordered the military involvement in Libya in opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, and also rdered military intervention in Iraq in response to gains made by the Islamic State after the 2011 withdrawal from that country.
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Who is the most controversial of all Nobel Peace Prize winners? Vote and tell us why
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