The persistent theme of much mainstream media coverage of President Barack Obama is the earnest effort to justify the leap of faith the American electorate made in 2008–a leap that the media themselves convinced the voters to make. Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith and Miriam Elder offer the latest–and one of the oddest–examples in a column about the Iran nuclear deal, saying that Barack Obama may have finally earned his Nobel Peace Prize.
The idea that the Iran deal is a success is as premature a conclusion as the original decision of the Nobel Prize committee to give the award to Obama in 2009, before he had done anything. The Israeli government sees the deal as a “historic mistake,” one that will allow Iran to become a nuclear power at a time of its choosing. The Israeli writer Yossi Klein Halevi told Breitbart News today that the deal makes an Israeli strike “inevitable.”
Smith and Elder give the Obama administration the credit for going “further toward an interim agreement to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons than many thought possible.” That is worse than spin. It is real-time historical revision. The deal signed Sunday was stronger than the one the Obama administration approved two weeks ago, and the only reason for that was that France–France!–held out for further Iranian concessions.
Perhaps aware that their claim is shaky, Smith and Elder add two of President Obama’s other foreign policy achievements: the START treaty and the Syrian agreement, both of which involved the U.S. accepting lopsided terms that put it at a strategic disadvantage. In Syria’s case, the deal ensured the murderous Assad regime would remain in power. (Curiously, they leave out the Libya war, whose aftermath has been a disaster.)
In a nod to reality, Smith and Elder acknowledge that his Nobel was originally “unearned.” But that has been one of the few criticisms Obama’s fans have allowed–as an awkward way of expressing the underlying truth of his greatness. Obamacare fan Ezra Klein joked that Obama should win the Chemistry prize because “he’s got great chemistry.” Similarly, Smith and Elder applaud Obama’s “clever” response to the award.
In 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was nominated for the Nobel Prize for leading the Munich talks at which Czechoslovakia was abandoned to the Nazis. Many hailed Chamberlain’s “peace for our time.” A year later, Europe was at war, largely because of the aggression the Munich agreement had encouraged. The Nobel Prize committee gave no Peace Prize in 1939. Even they realized that peace is distinct from appeasement.
Image source: DanOshinsky.com