IT IS obvious that political expediency and a definite slant towards the Western world view determine who wins the Nobel Prize.
But to confer this valued prize on Barack Obama because of his intentions to do certain things in the future is like giving an Oscar to an actor for a brilliant performance in a movie yet to be produced.
Obama is articulate, affable, presentable, endearing and charismatic - but this is not a personality contest.
The critical question is: has he changed the US's war-mongering policies? The answer is an unequivocal no. He is sending more troops to Afghanistan, 64000 to date, and about 150000 remain in Iraq. He still maintains more than 700 military bases throughout the world, defends Israeli war crimes in Gaza, threatens Iran and kills innocent civilians in Pakistan and elsewhere.
The Nobel Peace Prize, awarded by a committee chosen from among the Norwegian parliament, had previously stated that its guidelines considers "a Western democratic view of world politics".
Some of the recipients are shocking, nonetheless. Israel's Menachem Begin, a self-proclaimed terrorist, received the prize in 1978. Henry Kissinger (1974) was responsible for wars in South East Asia and Lebanon.
And so did FW de Klerk, for so long an apartheid leader, a system declared a crime against humanity. In 1994 Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres, the architect of Israel's nuclear bomb industry, won.
Obama's pious platitudes of nuclear disarmament will remain rhetorical. If the committee's intentions were to encourage him towards peace, a review the past history of previous recipients will reflect this is a futile exercise.
Firoz Osman, Secretary-General, Media Review Network