News Release

As Biden and Putin Spar: Has the Nobel Prize Committee Helped Perpetuate War?

With tensions high between the U.S. and Russia regarding Ukraine, and continued conflicts around the world, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is coming under criticism for failing to fulfill its mission.

[The New York Times reports that the House on Tuesday “overwhelmingly passed a $768 billion” Pentagon budget. “The legislation, unveiled hours before the vote, put the Democratic-led Congress on track to increase the Pentagon’s budget by roughly $24 billion above what President Biden had requested.” The vote came “minutes after the House approved an unusual measure to lay the path for a swift increase in the debt ceiling.”]

The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Dec. 10.

FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, fredpax@online.no, @nobelpeacewatch
    Heffermehl has been a vice president with the International Peace Bureau and with the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms. He has spent over a decade scrutinizing what he calls “the failure of the Nobel Peace Prize to abide by its mandate,” writing several books and founding Nobel Peace Prize Watch.

    Heffermehl notes that Alfred Nobel intended for his prize to support demilitarization. In his will, Nobel wrote that the prize should be awarded to the “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

    Heffermehl has criticized the Norwegian Committee for neglecting the global disarmament aspect of the prize, and awarding it “to political figures, and/or individuals who have done work in other fields, like the environment — but not the actual work that Nobel thought necessary to actually abolish war.”

    Heffermehl addresses this year’s award in his most recent piece: “Nobel Peace Prize: Peace by Global Disarmament or Press Freedom?” which is at ProgressiveHub.net.

    He writes: “The idea of Nobel’s testament, much more important today, was to liberate all nations from the yoke of weapons, warriors and war.

    “So, can this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, for ‘freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,’ be the best effort for a disarmed world order in the world today? My research through 14 years leaves no doubt that the Norwegian awarders never liked Nobel´s vision of peace and have used the prize to serve their own ideas and interests. …

    “The world simply cannot afford to continue war business as usual. The costs of arms races prevent us from addressing numerous very real threats — climate break-down, nuclear arms, poverty, a lasting pandemic, an increasingly fragile food supply. We have to realize that military power games only guarantee eternal insecurity and threat of annihilation. …

    “What makes the 2021 prize particularly lamentable is that the committee failed to defend the world against a most deadly threat against press freedom in the world today — in the military field — the cruel persecution of Australian journalist Julian Assange for revealing the war crimes of a belligerent superpower.”

    Heffermehl’s books include Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted and Fame or Shame? Norway and the Nobel Peace Prizewhich was recently published in Norwegian and is now being offered to U.S. and other publishers.