Saturday, October 08, 2005

An Award for the Struggling Nuclear Detectives...

...and the resulting meandering rant:

This year's Nobel Peace Prize went to the IAEA and its leader, Mohamed ElBaradei.  The liberal hemiblogosphere has been buzzing with the notion that this was in part a slight toward the USA, which has not given nuclear nonproliferation much serious attention (despite the fact that both Presidential candidates in 2004 agreed that it is a top priority for the USA.)  

Personally, I do not think it was much of a slight toward the USA.  Rather, I think that perception comes from our ethnocentric attitude, under which we assume that everything that happens in the world has something to do with us.  In fact, probably most people elsewhere in the world spend most of their time not thinking about us.  When they do think about us, it is to wonder why we waste so much food, when so many people are starving.  Even some of our own people are starving.  They wonder why, in a Christian nation, it is OK for people to go hungry.  They wonder why we would be talking about cutting funding for food stamps, when we are still spending a brazillian dollars on a space weapons program that we do not need, and that is not going to work anyway.  They wonder why a Christian nation would vote in a President who claims to be pro-life, who spends hundreds of billions of dollars (PDF file: The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan and Enhanced Base Security Since 9/11) fighting terrorists, yet gives our own corporations license to poison our children.   No terrorist attack has ever killed as many people as irresponsible corporations have.  No terrorist organization has the capacity to spread toxins around the world the way large US companies can...and do.

Anyway, according to The Economist, the Nobel committee was interested in making a point about the need for continued multilateral support for nonproliferation, but there is no compelling reason to interpret that as a direct insult to the USA.  Rather, it probably was a deliberately vague implied insult:
An award for the struggling nuclear detectives

Oct 7th 2005
From The Economist Global Agenda

[...] Though the Nobel committee’s chairman, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, denied that the award was a veiled criticism of Washington and its unilateralist tendencies, the committee’s announcement made it sound rather that way: “At a time when the threat of nuclear arms is again increasing, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to underline that this threat must be met through the broadest possible international co-operation.” [...]
I would interpret that as a forward-looking statement, not a condemnation of past behaviors.  The Nobel Committee is not in the condemnation business.  That's a job for bloggers.  

Categories: rants, armchair musings