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The Great Prize

by Victor Davis Hanson

Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, by Jay Nordlinger (Encounter, 400 pp., $27.99)

What went wrong with the Nobel Peace Prize?

The same is often asked of the United Nations, another godly enterprise that sometimes proves less than human. Certainly, the luster of the “most famous and controversial prize in the world” seems to have been tarnished in recent years. The 2002 winner, Jimmy Carter, opportunistically campaigned for the award. He did that mostly by trying to embarrass sitting U.S. presidents, whether Bill Clinton, by undercutting his efforts to isolate North Korea, or George W. Bush, by venomously attacking him over Iraq. The latter machinations were cited approvingly by the prize’s chief judge, Gunnar Berge, who praised Carter’s back-dealing as a much-needed “kick in the leg” to Bush.

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