Would Alfred Nobel laugh or cry at the 2016 Prize: A Norwegian diplomacy rescue operation?

By Jan Oberg

1. In my view it is well within the will of Alfred Nobel to reward people who negotiate a peace agreement. In this perspective this year’s choice is better than several from the latest years.

2. That said, it is quite obvious that the Committee has deviated from its mandate in another respect. Nobel’s wish and will is about something already done that deserves to be rewarded.

This years’ choice – like, say, that of Al Gore and Obama – is a clear example of the Nobel Committee sliding into another role: that of influencing world events in the future. (And grossly exaggerate its own importance in Realpolitik terms beyond symbolic, normative celebrations and solemn words).

One indication that the Committee by its choice this year wants to influence the future is that visitors to its website can vote on whether or not they believe that the award will help the peace process in Columbia.

3. Why reward only one person, the government side? To award only one party to a peace agreement borders on the absurd.

Why did the Committee choose deliberately to not recognize and award the FARC side? Although I am not an expertRead More »

Peace without war in Colombia

By Jonathan Power

August 30th 2016

After 52 years of fighting between the Colombian government and Farc, the left wing, drug-dealing, Marxist, guerrilla grouping, there is a peace agreement.

I’ve always wondered why the US and Nato never intervened militarily. They should have if they were to be consistent. Colombia has long been exhibit A for those who say, “Look what happens when the outside world doesn’t intervene- the local fires just burn brighter and fiercer”. (And it has been said likewise for Sri Lanka during its civil war.)

The facts say the opposite: fires burn brighter and fiercer when there are invasions by the US and Nato. In Kosovo Nato jets, at President Bill Clinton’s command, tore into Serbia to bring “peace” to an unthreatening backwater of Europe and left behind a mafia that de facto had unseated and replaced the government.

Similarly, they blasted into Afghanistan even though the original purpose was not a war across a whole country but merely an attempt to kill off Al Qaeda. Likewise, into Iraq and Libya. As in Afghanistan, all these interventions made the fires burn fiercer.

So why not Colombia? I don’t know the reason that made Clinton decide not to intervene but although this peace agreement has taken a heck of a long time to negotiate is it not better than stoking up from outside a terrible war with hundreds of thousands of casualties?

Clinton said in 1999 thatRead More »