Last week, the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize was announced. In the past I’ve worked hard to show the wisdom of choosing the Nobel prize winners, and I’d like to continue the tradition this year. In all honesty, this year’s pick isn’t too bad, though I still can’t believe the Nobel committee can’t find a more worthy individual. Anyway there’s the gist of this year’s winner:
Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency that he heads won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
ElBaradei, a 63-year-old lawyer from Egypt, has led the U.N. nuclear agency as it grappled with the crisis in Iraq and the ongoing efforts to prevent North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.
The Nobel committee said ElBaradei and the IAEA should be recognized for addressing one of the greatest dangers facing the world.
Not too bad. It’s just interesting that ElBaradei and the IAEA have been awarded this prize when, as far as I can tell, neither really has done much to stop nuclear proliferation. Indeed, the two countries mentioned, Iran and North Korea, are in the news today precisely because they are moving towards having nuclear capabilities despite all the talking. So, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a man and his organization which is ineffectual? Maybe. Maybe not. But here’s a hint of why ElBaradei may not be as effective as he wishes to be:
ElBaradei, who was reappointed last month to a third term, has had to contend with U.S. opposition to his tenure. Much of the opposition stemmed from Washington’s perception he was being too soft on Iran for not declaring it in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. That stance blocked a U.S. bid to haul Tehran before the U.N. Security Council, where it could face possible sanctions, for more than two years.
The IAEA passed a resolution last month warning Tehran of such referral unless it allayed fears about its nuclear program.
Iran, who makes nearly the whole world nervous with its nuclear shenanigans, may very well be developing nuclear weapons right under the watchful nose of the UN, but ElBaradei can barely muster an angry letter to Tehran threatening that the UN might be so upset as to vote on whether they want to be really upset. Color me skeptical that the IAEA can talk Iran out of its nuclear program. Oh, and here’s another tidbit of what this “unafraid advocate” of nuclear non-proliferation can do:
He accused North Korea, for example, of “nuclear brinkmanship” in December 2002 after it expelled two inspectors monitoring a mothballed nuclear complex. Pyongyang said the plant needed to go back on line because of an electricity shortage.
Ooo, ElBaradei threw down! Unfortunately for him, last time I checked, names will never hurt me, you, or anybody else.
I do realize that geo-politics is a tough business, especially when nuclear power (for either martial or energy purposes) is at stake, but . . . come on, a guy who only throws around names and resolutions doesn’t strike me as a guy who is going to be doing a whole lot. Of course, he is working for the UN, which is hardly a bastion of effectiveness. Maybe if he worked for an organization that actually had a Big Stick he’d be much more effective.