I was among those who thought it a bit strange that President Obama would be given the Nobel Prize before he had actually done anything. The original nomination came just after he had taken office. Now there is a story from a Norwegian diplomat saying that Rahm Emanuel complained about it.
Obama administration rebuked Norway over Nobel peace prize, diplomat says • President's chief of staff scolded diplomat over 'fawning' award • Diplomat describes day as his 'most embarrassing at the UN'
Barack Obama's administration rebuked Norway after he won the 2009 Nobel peace prize, saying it was an awkward honour for an as-yet untested leader, a Norwegian diplomat revealed on Thursday.
"My most embarrassing day at the UN, at the time when I was Norway's ambassador there, was when Obama's Nobel peace prize was announced. Nobody was talking about it," said Morten Wetland, who served at the UN from 2008 to 2012.
"My colleague in Washington received a reprimand from Obama's chief of staff [Rahn Emmanuel, at the time]. The word 'fawning' was used," Wetland added in an article in Norwegian daily Dagens Naeringsliv.
The diplomat said that the prize put Obama, who was nominated for the prize just weeks after taking office, in a difficult position. "An American president wants to set his own agenda. Here he was forced into a role that he hadn't sought," Wetland said. "It could seem like somebody did this to make Obama visit the country."
The announcement came as the US was engaged in two conflicts, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Norway's ambassador to the US at the time, Wegger Stroemmen, could not be reached for comment.This is likely a story that needs some corroboration from the other parties who are reported to have been involved in it. Obama certainly went through the process and received the award in a manner that conveyed the impression that he was pleased with the honor.
Wetland's words were published in the midst of a recurring debate on the independence and the make-up of the Nobel committee, whose five members make fully autonomous decisions but are appointed by the Norwegian parliament.