“War is Peace” - On the Award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama

To give him his due, even the President seemed stunned by the Nobel Committee’s award of the 2009 Peace Prize. We have got used to spin but the notion that the President of the greatest imperialist power on the planet is worth a peace prize after only 11 days (1) in office takes us back to the “Newspeak” of George Orwell’s 1984. The best example of its nonsense was emblazoned on the Ministry of Truth building, “War is Peace”.

The same could be said of this award. The USA garrisons more than 100 countries around the globe. It controls 64.8% of the global arms market supplying arms to African “civil wars” as well as its own surrogates around the world. And what has Obama promised? He intends to expand the Pentagon’s arms budget and put more US troops in Afghanistan. War is Peace alright. For US citizens (and not only US citizens) much of this takes place, as in Orwell’s 1984, on the fringes of empire. For instance the unmanned US drones which regularly murder Pashtun speaking villagers in Afghanistan and Pakistan are controlled from an air base just outside Las Vegas. It is like an arcade game for the boys, with the same lack of human consequences. The maimed and the dead are thousands of miles away and cannot fight back. It is a war of terror not against terror. All Obama has announced is that he will use “soft power” since the arrogant unilateralism of the Bush regime has failed US interests. This is not a peace policy but just a smarter imperialist policy.

This too is why the slogan “Troops Out of Afghanistan” may have good intentions but is actually compatible with more war elsewhere if it suits our masters. And under this system there will be more war elsewhere. The bursting of the speculative bubble has created new economic tensions around the world. These are felt everywhere but nowhere more than in the US. The US has been making the world pay for its crisis since 1971, as it prints dollars to pay its debts for other countries to circulate. Until 1999 92% of all world trade took place in dollars. Today it has fallen to 40% and Russia, China, Japan, Venezuela, Iran and the Gulf states are all looking at trading in currencies other than the dollar (a basket of currencies is now the favoured anti-dollar policy). The US cannot regard this situation with calm. Above all it will have to make sure that key energy commodities are under its control and it will come up against the creeping forward policies of China and Russia. The world is facing more wars. On the award to Obama we could repeat what Malcolm X once said about Martin Luther King, “He got the prize, we’ve got the problem”. And that problem is the continued existence of capitalism...

(1) Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize closed on 1 February and Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the USA on 20 January 2009.