Jerome Cartillier –
ِA decade after Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, could his White House successor Donald Trump follow suit for navigating the thorny North Korean nuclear standoff?
The very idea, put forward by a handful of Republican lawmakers in a letter nominating the US president for the esteemed award, is enough to make his American and international detractors cringe.
And many observers have been left flummoxed by a debate widely seen as premature — to put it mildly.
But the whispers are no doubt sweet music to the ears of the 71-year-old businessman, who assumed the presidency with no political, military or diplomatic experience, and whose thirst for recognition is firmly established.
“That’s very nice, thank you. That’s very nice,” a smiling Trump said as supporters at a campaign-style rally in Michigan chanted “No-bel! No-bel!”
“I just want to get the job done,” he proclaimed, after fondly pronouncing the word “Nobel.”
Three days later in the Oval Office Trump returned to the topic, saying it was “very generous” of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to suggest the US leader — rather than himself — was deserving of the prestigious prize.
“I appreciate it but the main thing is to get it done,” Trump said. “I want to get peace.”
The spectacular Korean detente of recent months, with a summit approaching between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the — still theoretical — prospect of denuclearization, have fed hopes of a historic turning point in the region.
But as remarkable as the imagery and symbolism have been recently, many analysts point out that it is early — very early indeed — to speculate on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with a regime that has been led by the Kim dynasty for nearly 70 years.
“It’s surreal in the sense that it’s clearly premature to be talking about giving anybody a Nobel Peace Prize,” said Aaron David Miller, a former US diplomat and negotiator in several Democratic and Republican administrations.
But “if in fact the diplomacy goes the right way,” the scenario is “conceivable,” he said.
The Nobel chatter also reflects an impassioned debate taking place over the exact role of America’s president in the ongoing diplomatic overtures. — AFP