Foreign Policy

When Will Ronald Reagan Win the Nobel Peace Prize?

The news today is that the professors who hand out the Nobel Peace Prize have decided to award one to Al Gore for “disseminating greater knowledge” about climate change. Congratulations to the former vice president. Time will tell if his “moral crusade” against global warming is real or not, but the professors think making a movie was a sufficient reason to recognize “one of the world’s leading environmentalist politicians.”

Several years ago, the professors also gave a Nobel Prize to Jimmy Carter because, according to the committee’s chairman at the time, he “has a more moderate point of view than the sitting [Bush] administration.” Years earlier in 1973, the professors had awarded a joint prize to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam for ending the Vietnam War. Apparently, the professors are impressed with pronouncements of internationalism and a moral equivalence between combatants, even if one represents freedom and one totalitarianism.

But how can the professors explain giving the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev back in 1990, but not the man who forced him into retirement — Ronald Reagan? How can the loser of the Cold War that represented repression and totalitarianism be a more worthy recipient but not the ideological victor? After all, it was Reagan’s policies that ended the Cold War and took the world away from the brink of a potential nuclear confrontation that had threatened mankind for 50 years. If Gorbachev acquiesced to this new reality, it was not because it was his idea. Rather, he had no other option.

Reagan’s policies moved beyond containment to aggressively engage the Soviets on military, economic and ideological grounds. He did this in the face of total opposition from liberals (including Al Gore) and amid predictions from the media and academic establishment that his policies were unrealistic and doomed to failure.

Maybe the professors objected to Reagan’s warlike statements (“Evil Empire”) and saber-rattling. However, the Cold War was ended through negotiation when Reagan deftly backed the Soviets into a corner. His 1987 INF treaty with the Soviets was the first of the Cold War era to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons both sides possessed. He made that deal even as he refused to include strategic defense in the negotiations, as Gorbachev had demanded. The Soviet Empire could not keep up with the dynamic American economy and eventually went the way of the Edsel. As one former KGB official noted some years later, “American policy in the 1980s was a catalyst for the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Too bad the professors weren’t listening.

In his will, Alfred Nobel asked that his peace prize go annually to the “person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Sounds like Reaganism to me.

Tags Al Gore Mikhail Gorbachev Person Location Politics Ronald Reagan
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