Mandela, Malala, and now… The Donald?
Should Trump win the Nobel Peace Prize? South Korea’s leader thinks so, after the US president helped broker historic peace talks. Trump’s own showdown with Kim Jong-un could be weeks away.
“Nobel! Nobel! Nobel!” So chanted the crowd of Donald Trump supporters at a Michigan rally last weekend. “That’s very nice, thank you,” replied the US president with a grin, playing down his chances.
But on Monday, he received another weightier endorsement from the South Korean president himself, Moon Jae-in. “President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Moon declared, according to the South Korean presidential office.
Since then, what was once unthinkable to many has become a distinct possibility — Trump could win perhaps the most prestigious award for statesmanship on the planet.
The possibility intensified following Moon’s historic meeting with Kim Jong-un last week, in which the pair pledged the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.
Some say it was Trump’s unique style of diplomacy which encouraged Kim to negotiate in the first place. He is due to sit down with the North Korea dictator this month, and onlookers tentatively hope the meeting will bring lasting stability to the region.
Still, the Nobel Peace Prize would be a remarkable turnaround for a man who, not long ago, threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in a storm of “fire and fury”, and boasted about having a big nuclear button.
Then there are the multiple scandals that continue to swirl around the US president.
On the same day Moon tipped Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, adult film star Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit accusing the president of defamation (separate from an ongoing case regarding hush money she was paid following an alleged affair with the president).
Furthermore, more than a dozen sexual assault accusations continue to loom over Trump, as well as unresolved suspicions about secret Russian collusion with his election campaign.
Still, these controversies may stay outside the criteria of the Nobel Peace Prize — an award which has had questionable recipients in the past.
For example, Barack Obama won it in 2009 despite having been in office for less than nine months. Obama himself was “surprised” by the accolade, which many thought was undeserved.
Is Donald Trump a more fitting recipient?
Of course, some say. Trump has done more to bring North and South Korea closer to peace than any of his predecessors. And if the North does give up its nuclear arsenal, Trump will be as worthy a winner as any. Our judgement should not be blinded by politics or anti-Trump sentiments, however strong.
No way, others respond. Denuclearisation in North Korea is a long way off — progress there is symbolic, not substantial. What’s more, Trump’s violent rhetoric could have led to war. You cannot ignore the wider context of his presidency. From bombing campaigns in the Middle East to stoking dangerous xenophobia at home, Trump has nothing to do with peace.
- Should Trump receive the Nobel Peace Prize?
- Is he a good president?
- Hundreds of people are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year. Who would you nominate and why? It could be a world leader, a celebrity or a lesser-known figure. Write a short speech explaining the reasons behind your selection.
- Since it was first awarded in 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has caused both controversy and praise over its selections. Do some research into its history. Then write a paragraph in response to this question: “The Nobel Peace Prize achieves nothing and should be abolished.” To what extent do you agree?
Some People Say...
“My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.”Donald Trump
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- The Nobel Peace Prize winner is usually announced in October and presented on December 10. The cutoff for this year’s nominations was February 1. Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to attend talks with Kim Jong-un, which are expected to take place by the end of May.
- What do we not know?
- We do not know if Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2018 prize. We also do not know where the proposed US/North Korea summit will take place. Trump recently suggested meeting Kim on the South Korean border, but neutral locations like Mongolia and Singapore have also been suggested. Even more uncertain is the likely outcome. Trump himself said he would “walk out” of talks if they do not proceed to his satisfaction.
- Moon has stated that Korean talks could be the result of “US-led sanctions and pressure”.
- Others doubt that Trump’s negotiations will achieve anything, particularly the promised “denuclearisation” of the region. See The Atlantic link under Become An Expert.
- The act of damaging somebody’s reputation.
- Hush money
- Money paid to prevent somebody revealing embarrassing information.
- It is awarded to the person “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
- A USA Today survey found that 61% of Americans believe Obama did not deserve the award.
- Bombing campaigns
- Last year, Trump ordered a MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs”) to be dropped on Afghanistan, and took part in recent strikes against chemical weapons sites in Syria.
- Most recently, Trump said there was “no reason to apologise” for his campaign pledge to ban all Muslims from entering the US.