The Corner

Our Prospective Laureate

Idle question: If the Norwegian Nobel Committee gives John Kerry the peace prize for the Iran deal, and Iran goes nuclear, will he throw away his Nobel medal?

P.S. Kissinger, in fact, tried to return his Nobel medal, and the “diploma,” and the money, after the North cratered the Paris Agreement and, in fact, conquered the South. In a moving letter to the committee, Kissinger said he felt “honor bound” to do so. The committee wrote back to inform him that the Nobel Peace Prize is not returnable. It’s given for work already done, regardless of what ensues.

If you’re interested in this episode, and more, try my Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World.

P.P.S. The committee has already given the prize to Obama (2009). Nothing in the rules prevents them from giving it to him again.

P.P.P.S. The peace prize is worth $1 million and change. Kerry doesn’t need the money. In 1973, Kissinger got $65,000 (which was half the prize, for he was a co-laureate with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Tho). (Kissinger used the money to set up a scholarship fund for the children of dead or missing American servicemen. He named the fund for his parents.)

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