A group of 18 Republican house lawmakers has formally nominated President Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. This nomination comes after such lawmakers posit Trump should claim the award “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.” President of South Korea Moon Jae-in has also called for Trump to be recognized for his work in generating the peace talks between himself and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The idea of Trump winning the prize has human rights activists up in arms due to his extensive past with perpetrating discrimination, racism, sexism and xenophobia. The question stands — should Trump receive a Nobel Prize for his work with the Koreas regardless of his hate-filled demeanor in the U.S.?
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the most highly regarded awards on the planet. It’s meant to represent either an individual or organization that’s helped nations build fraternity by eliminating war, army threats and promoting discourse surrounding peace. Moon believes Trump’s pressure on North Korea manifesting in both economic sanctions to cripple their economy and war threats was what prompted the peace discussion between the two countries, suggesting such moves fostered an environment which pushed North Korea out of its shell of solitude and into the world of international relations.
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But, Trump himself is hesitant to fully praise the suggested nomination. “I thought it was very generous of President Moon of South Korea to make that statement, and I appreciate it, but the main thing is to get it done. I want to get it done,” Trump said.
This dash of reservation suggests the president knows his upcoming meeting with Kim and possibly Moon may not result in lasting peace. The Nobel nomination committee has been known to give prizes for ongoing developments, so the outcome from the upcoming meeting(s) with the Koreas may not matter, and Trump may in fact rightfully qualify for a Nobel Prize.
Regardless of the outcome of his actions, Trump’s involvement with the Koreas has been based on threats and intimidation — all around very un-peaceful acts.
Last year, Trump threatened North Korea with war. The nuclear weapon development and missile testing executed by the North Koreans was scaring everyone. Trump’s response was to out-gun Kim, a very high stakes game to play with people’s lives at stake. South Koreans were enraged at the egotistical battle between the two leaders, for they were going to bear the cost of a nuclear mishap if Trump and Kim’s words manifested into action. Clearly, this attitude has changed.
Additionally, while Trump’s economic sanctions and war threats may have produced movement toward peace, their outcome could have gone much differently. This risky behavior does not deserve a prize, Trump needs to take a step back from threats and turn to diplomatic and more statesman-like tactics if he wants to be truly considered for the Nobel Prize.
For these reasons, it will be odd to say the least if Trump is given the award. According to an article from Dallas News, “The Peace Prize generally goes to people with a record of conciliation or mediation of conflict, rather than — as the U.S. lawmakers put in the Trump nomination letter — ‘peace through strength’ policies.” Trump has maintained a status as a bigoted man who rules by projecting his “strength” as president and a privileged white man onto the public through policies like his travel ban, attempt to end DACA and his overall proclivity for xenophobia that has swept the nation following his election.
Trump’s policies only seem to support white, cisgender, heterosexual Christian man — and this cannot be overlooked when analyzing his candidacy for the Nobel Prize, as he clearly does not stand for peace in many minds.
Furthermore, giving Trump a Nobel Prize equates him with people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. It is insulting to the work of these past recipients to effectively recognize Trump as an equal. It is also illogical to award a prize to a man who has actively stated his support for white supremacists after awarding a previous Nobel Prize to a civil rights activist who fought against discrimination until his dying day. Or to award a man who has equated women to sexual objects and has constantly belittled their professional capacity after awarding a woman who almost died fighting to end the suppression of youth and to bring educational equity into the forefront.
By awarding Trump the Nobel Peace Prize, the nomination committee will be implying that evil acts of the past can be ignored if an individual does one good thing. Do not let this become the new status quo, let the Nobel Peace Prize keep its high status as a symbol for peace — a title given to those who are in the continuous fight for equality, peace and international fraternity.
Emiliana Almanza Lopez ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in sociology and environmental science.