By Gabriel C Banda
IT is presently unlikely that Donald Trump will get a Nobel Prize for Peace. Even if, from the coming Singapore talks, some advances were to be made on settling some Korea issues, it will not be easy to give Donald Trump a Nobel Prize.
The reasons why Donald J Trump is unlikely to be offered a Nobel Peace prize are many and easy to understand. The Nobel Prize for peace is meant to honour a determined and deeply humane quality that acts to build peace where there is extreme disharmony.
There are many factors around Trump and a Nobel Prize. The award of a Nobel Prize is not just about opposing parties reaching some settlement. The method and process of reaching some settlement are very important.
Depth of Spirit and Method are what are rewarded for being examples of action towards high human achievement and dignity. The spirit and method must be in combination.
The method must show some peaceful approaches. The Nobel Peace prize suggests Non-Violence and Non-Aggression as its base. Important are the spirit and method through which a conflict is settled. It is about action that very positively transforms the family of humanity.
Some persons turn round from rough individual and group methods and practices to embody more non-aggressive, respectful, and harmonious attitudes and actions. They accept and embody the essential humanity and dignity of others.
The Donald Trump spirit’s approaches, in word and deed, will likely exclude him from honour of the Nobel magnitude.
Fire and Fury
Installed president in January 2017, Trump has made himself an emperor, complete with ruling princes and princesses, that has decreed some policies and actions that have hurt humanity and the integrity of Creation.
Trump has some issues that are “disqualifying,” to borrow a term our Big Man Senator John McCain has said about other issues.
Donald Trump’s methods counter the spirit of the Nobel Prize for Peace. In local and international relations, he believes in, and practices, Fire and Fury, to quote his own words. He bullies and pushes others around, issuing threats and strong-arm tactics to get others to yield to his position of advantage against them.
He insults others. He disrespects the humanity of others. He tries to bully citizens and rulers of other dominions. He is proud, boastful, of the aggressive style.
Trump has been consistent in his harsh attacks on others. His performance makes many uncomfortable. In his presidential election campaign, he displayed sparks of inner violence towards others.
In the Korea issue, Trump and Team have made “fire and fury” threats against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. As incitement to stop North Korea’s nuclear weaponisation, Trump has offered economic benefits or else economic sanctions and even force.
Trump is looking for surrender of Kim rather than an amicable settlement over differences involving North Korea, South Korea, and the United States. He was rushing for immediate “denuclearisation” instead of, as we suggested before, working towards first understanding Kim Jong-un and building some relationship and friendship that will help the parties reach amicable settlement of contentious issues.
“Denuclearisation” has become a term for some disarming of North Korea while the USA keeps its weapons arsenal and presence in the area.
There was some taunting of the other just like some boxers have done before matches. Some poor Trump and team remarks and approaches towards his Korean counterpart threatened the planned June 2018 Singapore meeting with Kim Jong-un from taking place. But Kim has not been scared by Trump and team.
Recently, in the same breath of denying such intention, Trump has openly asserted that the “Libya Model” or scheme of force as said by his National Security Advisor John Bolton can be visited upon Kim Jong-un if the North Korea ruler does not comply with Trump’s demands.
The Nobel Prize is not just some matter about reaching a settlement. The method you use is important. Otherwise persons would have been honoured for using force to make others surrender and thus stop a war.
Carrot and stick diplomacy does not seem consistent with the Nobel approach. The Fire and Fury doctrine or practice counters the spirit of Nobel peace. The method of threat prevents Trump from being honoured with the Nobel Prize.
Enemy of the Earth
Besides approaches in international negotiations, the Trump spirit has continued to act against the integrity and togetherness of humanity and creation itself.
He has put into place policies and laws that act against persons of some religions – Islam. Trump is still planning to put up physical walls to divide persons in their human variation.
The anti-immigration policies, with Mexicans as the immediate face of that deep prejudice, are creating disharmony in humanity. Trump has also created problems for families of migrants through his policies that divide parents and young ones.
And, also, Trump has pulled the USA out of the international agreement on Iran and nuclear technology.
And through effort to withdraw the USA government from the Paris Climate Accord, Donald Trump has acted against humanity’s collective efforts towards healing the earth and maintaining a sustainable environment in the present and future.
At home, the Trump spirit has worked against the earth and communities by encouraging industries and businesses to disturb the environment.
Trump has taken a position as an Enemy of the Earth. Meanwhile, the Nobel Committee has honoured those, like our Big Sister and Aunt Wangari Maathai in 2004 that worked strongly towards wide environmental health.
Besides actions against the health of our common environment, for the earth and environment are one and wholesome, Trump has disturbed world trading relations through imposing or threatening selfish economic tariffs and sanctions that will have negative effect upon many in the world, including Americans.
And Donald Trump, carrying along with him Britain’s Teresa May, and France’s Macron, in April 2018 attacked Syria even before the planned international investigation team on accusations of use of chemical weapons had done its work. In some pattern, there had been another US attack in April 2017.
This was like George W Bush Jr, in Iraq, before him, and the fake Weapons of Mass Destruction charge against Saddam Hussein. George W Bush, Jr, had carried along Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair as accomplice. There has been no learning from the self-evident misdeeds of his predecessors.
Locally, in the USA, Donald Trump has put into place measures that will reverse Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and lead to reduction of access to medical services by millions of Americans, as was before Obama.
It seems Donald Trump’s obsession and hatred around the legacy of the Barack Obama presidency prevent him from making his own achievements in some things.
Perhaps Trump’s hostility towards Obama is driven by envy of the younger President’s achievements. Where Trump has sought to build walls, Obama built bridges.
Barack Obama was in 2009 honoured by the Nobel Committee for his thoughts and actions towards making the world a more peaceful place. The award was for “efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
On becoming USA president, Barack Obama had reached out to those previously demonised and considered pariahs in an “axis of evil.” They included North Korea and Iran. Obama began to work towards denuclearisation. His was not about disarming others while USA kept their nuclear weapons, which their opponents felt threatened by.
Locally, Obama, through the Affordable Care Act, worked on improving the situation of millions not having access to medical services.
Obama, through the 2012 DACA policy, showed compassion towards children and families found in illegal migration. Obama supported the worldwide effort towards a Climate Accord that leads to a healthier environment.
Of course, Barack Obama’s rule had its negative effects upon the world. One Obama sin was too reluctantly, but inexcusably, joining France’s warlord Nicolas Sarkozy in raiding Libya, after misusing the United Nations sanctions system, an invasion that led to great suffering and disorder in humanity.
The world still has to recover from that Libya invasion. The effects of disorder have reached far, including the western world and nations that sponsored the evil action in Libya.
Another Obama sin was the committing of resources and other support to a rebellion to remove Syria’s Assad administration. Obama’s weakness has been to reluctantly go along with bullies even when aware of a destructive path he was enjoining himself to.
But things could even have been worse had he not declined to use force, as John McCain and others urged, on accusations of chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces. Another US president might have been more forceful and disruptive over Libya and Korea.
The burdens to Obama belonging to the Nobel peace team came up for his actions that happened after he was already honoured for actions making a positive difference in human relations. I do not think Barack Obama would have got a Nobel Prize after the events of Libya and Syria.
Rulers and Laureates
As in Obama’s case, the combination of being government ruler and Nobel Peace Prize winner is delicate.
In South Africa, Frederik de Klerk, just before he became president, worked with Nelson Mandela, Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda, and some in the worldwide anti-apartheid team to dismantle the evil racist system of Apartheid. In 1993, De Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel for Peace.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos was in 2016 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his great work and sincerity in working for resolution of a long FARC armed insurgency. He has continued to show sincerity in his belief and effort. It is not known how far the reconciliation process with reach.
Elsewhere, my Big Sister Aung San Suu Kyi got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, after consistently, in a non-violent way, working for social and political change in some difficult situation found in Myanmar/Burma. She showed deep humanity in the midst of harsh adversity.
Of course, after she took on state office after the social change in a complex situation of military and political authorities, there have been uncomfortable situations involving the sad situation of persons of some ethnic and religious groupings. But she got the Nobel Prize before she became a government official.
Now, with Donald Trump, his disqualifying burdens are current, before he has been listed for a Nobel Prize. I believe that Trump’s burdens against peaceful human relations and creation itself will make it difficult for him to be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.
In fighting Obama’s legacy, Trump has been fighting the very honourable actions for which the Nobel Committee honoured Obama. Trump should not hope to win a prize while doing things that work against the Nobel team’s appreciation of another candidate.
Trump sometimes unleashes things he cannot control, things that become problems for the world.
Nobel Peace holders in general have some deep dignity in their demeanour and actions. They show respect for other human beings and they are supposed to respect the earth and creation. They have shown determined action, following non-violent methods, towards peace or the integrity of creation.
Calming Fire and Fury
Nobel Peace Prize persons show that they are deep friends of humanity and creation, not enemies of the earth. Nobel Peace prizes are for those who calm and tame fire and fury in themselves and others.
Of course, over the decades, there are those persons that have been Nobel honoured and others doubt their efforts were sufficiently worthy. Of course, there are some, like the great pacifist Mahatma Gandhi himself, whose non-inclusion has continued to surprise many.
Sins of Rule
The sins of rule that Donald J Trump has committed prevent him from such high honour as the Nobel Peace prize. It is difficult to be honoured for settling tensions and problems you have willingly created or contributed to. By error or belief, Trump practices principles of threat and intimidation, from which “fire and fury” arises, adverse to Nobel Peace principles.
Trump and North Korea’s Kim, with his nuclear weapon tests that disturb the earth, are unlikely to get Nobel awards. But more likely suitable candidate can be the South Korea ruler, Moon Jae-in. Moon has shown good humanity and commitment.
Even before he became president, Moon Jae-in was already for peaceful co-existence with the North and good relations between North Korea and USA. He has been a facilitator able to reach both Kim and Trump, build a bridge, and move towards dialogue.
I have no authority over the final awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. But I know that the awarding Committee is thorough in its consideration of candidates in relation to the purpose and basic principles of the Peace Award.
I knew a member of the Nobel Peace Committee. Cheerful Professor Ole Danbolt Mjos, of Norway, was a very thorough person with deep medical, academic, and public service credentials. When we met in Norway and Zambia, he was always systematic and thorough in his discussions over various issues. Sadly, Ole Mjos passed away in 2013.
I believe other Peace Committee members that have carried on where he left are very objective and thorough. My comments on the suitability of Trump will not affect their views should someone offer Trump as a Nobel candidate.
I have merely tried to show that Trump’s methods and practices have been at variance with the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. His methods of negotiation have not been peaceful.
Using the antagonistic doctrine and practice of Fire and Fury will prevent Trump from being highly honoured.
He is using his presidency to implement policies and practices that are bringing disharmony to humanity and creation. The Trump spirit has heavy disqualifying issues.
GCB, LUSAKA, May/June, 2018.
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Based at Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues. Attended the MA Peace Studies programme at University of Bradford.