Nobel Peace Prize?

A recent article appearing in the New York Times captured my attention. The headline screamed, “President Trump a Nobel Laureate? It’s a Possibility.” 

It is obvious, to many that Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as a Nobel laureate. Trump has characterized himself as dystopian in world view, divisive in rhetoric and perhaps unhinged. In a span of 2 years, he has mocked people living with disability, threatened violence on some, and exhibited a plethora of other bad behavior that only Trump can pull.

Granted, an individual with a tainted self-, heck, national-image would be a hard sell to bring world peace. But what if he is? History was made a few weeks ago when the presidents of North and South Korea, two countries that hitherto did not see eye to eye shook hands on the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone separating the two countries in the first such summit in more than a decade. This handshake came in the backdrop of more than five years of missile tests and threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim had even threatened a nuclear war if push came to shove.

And that is where Trump comes in.

Pundits in South Korea think that Mr. Trump deserves a Nobel Prize for helping start the unexpected peace process unfolding on the divided Korean Peninsula. And the world is picking up on this vibe.  President Moon Jae-in has gone ahead to endorse this idea of a Trump Nobel, noting:

It’s really President Trump who should receive it; we can just take peace.

An imagination of Trump as a Nobel Laureate, perhaps is far-fetched. In the same light, this creates a different conversation for practitioners in the field of conflict resolution. What matters most: peace or image? Are two antagonistic parties likely to engage a mediator who is dystopian in nature, but who gets the job done and takes care of interests at hand!

Many international conflicts are characterized by bloodshed and endless loss of life. It is anyone’s guess who the perpetrators and financiers of such violence are, yet the same men (and women) who regrettably end up sitting on the negotiation table seeking a satisfaction of their interests. The loss of life, as such, becomes nothing more than collateral damage.  Should such antagonists demand a sounder peace facilitator?

Peace is a mirage. We cannot at any one-point shout that the world is at peace. At the same time, peace should not be construed to mean the absence of war. Trump walking the USA out of the Iran deal puts the world in the same place a cordial co-existence between South and North Korea seeks to run away from; a danger zone filled with economic sanctions that mostly affect women and children.  

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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