A Peace Nobel for President Trump?
-Dr. Faisal Ahmed -
Today’s Trump-Kim meeting has been successful and a peaceful denuclearization in the Korean peninsula is imminent – but the future modalities need to be worked out. There is no doubt that the United States and North Korea are moving toward a broad-based geo-economic and strategic engagements in which China, Singapore, Russia and South Korea will be indispensable stakeholders. President Donald Trump called today’s meeting as very, very good, while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is so pleased to call it a prelude for peace.
This “brave” step by Trump, as President Vladimir Putin calls it, seems to have strengthened the narratives on Trump’s approach to peace-building in strenuous circumstances. In fact, it should not come as a surprise that a group of Republicans have already nominated Trump last month for the Nobel Peace Prize and forwarded his candidacy to the Norwegian Committee. Before one could specifically argue whether President Donald Trump deserves the Nobel, he candidly says that everyone thinks he should get Nobel Peace Prize but he just wants victory for the world. It is the success of the Trump-Kim meeting has restored the momentum. But we need deeper insights and deliberations on why Trump could be the right candidate.
Primarily, the answer comes from Alfred Nobel’s Will itself.In 1895 on October the 27th, Nobel sketched the characteristic of the recipient as the one “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”. Later, this definition was interpreted to include outstanding humanitarian contributions as well, which was thought to be under the latent ambit of the idea of developing fraternity among nations.
The notion of fraternity among nations reflects one’s statesmanship and all head of governments the world over aspire for it. But in this case, what makes Trump’s endeavours distinct is his inexorable ability to bring people to the negotiation table. Thispossibly qualifies as a great benefit to mankind, who is entwined in the complex geopolitical architecture.
Kimtested the thermonuclear missile that challenged global peace efforts, and the Trump-Kim love-hate relationship flourished.Trump is a new politician. Whether he is a realist or a proponent of liberalism is not clearly evident.And what about his being a neo-liberal?Protectionism, the so-called trade wars, free trade re-negotiations,and his assertion for fair market access during the recent G7are sufficient to answer that. But, one could say he is a liberal-realist, and the one opposed to conventional political stratagem. And why not: he wants to make America great again.
Trumphelped restoreequilibrium in the Korean peninsula by creating possibilities of a dialogue between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. We witnessed it on April 27. In fact, Trump was quick to realise that the major stakeholders including China, Russia and South Korea were not keen to launch an offensive on Kim, and thus made a timely intervention for talks in the pursuit of world peace. He created a hope which the international communitywas solicitous of, but could neveractuate. Needless to say that only Trump could have done it owing to his flamboyant personality coupled with his anomalous political posturing.
The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1901 to Frédéric Passy who was one of the founders of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He also organised the first Universal Peace Congress, and comfortably met the criteria outlined in the Will of Nobel. He shared the prize with the Red Cross founder Jean Henry Dunant – a choice which raised eyebrows then.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating peace in the Russian war with Japan (1904-05). This choice was also said to be controversial owing to Roosevelt’s international posturing wherein he is said to have opposed peace movements. Interestingly, Halvdan Koht, a Committee advisor remarked that “even if a statesman himself has no faith in the cause of peace, he may still make great contributions to it”. Later in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson received the Nobel Peace Prize for establishing the League of Nations. The United States Senate, however, rejected the proposal to join the League. More recently, President Barack Obama too created the hope of connecting the West and the East and developing his outreach in the turbulent Middle East, though the critics termed the Committee’s decision as being premature.Even Trump’s Middle East engagement for restoration of peace deserves a mention here.
Moreover, it is now apparent that with the success of Trump-Kim firstand historic meeting, the United States will be ready for a broad-based geo-economic roadmap for North Korea in days to come. An estimated $28.5 billion economy with approximately 14 millionlabour force, North Korea has grown at 3.9% in recent years.The ongoing efforts for engagement will create avenues in terms of both strategic and economic pursuits. A new market with huge economic potential is actually opening up. It can well be attributed to Trump’s indomitable desire for a constructive and peaceful socio-political transformation in the Korean peninsula for the benefit of the Asia-Pacific region.
On a lighter note, let us agree that Trump isn’t too old to get the Peace Nobel. Turning 72 this week, Trump is a vibrantand a dynamic statesman in-the-making, and is destined for larger contribution to the restoration of world peace in times to come. Statistically speaking, his age does not restrict eligibility either, because 18.3% of all the Nobel Peace laureates till date fall into the age group of 70-74.
With a clarion call for peace and denuclearisation in the Korean peninsula, a rapprochement between the United States and North Korea has occurred. Its intensity will be deciphered gradually, but the international community is hopeful. Truly, Donald Trump’s ease of managing love-hate relationships and his ardent global outreach in pursuit of peace makes him le candidat méritant.
Dr. Faisal Ahmed is an Associate Professor and Chair of International Business Area at FORE School of Management, New Delhi and is a leading expert on trade and geopolitical issues. His research and consulting areas include economic integration, global value chains, WTO issues, south-south cooperation, and trade & geopolitics. He held the position of consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) on south-south cooperation and has led projects supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India. He also holds an Executive Certification in Geopolitical Analysis from Geneva, Switzerland.He is a member of prestigious international associations like International Studies Association (ISA), Connecticut, USA; and, International Political Science Association (IPSA), Montreal, Canada.
His research papers have been published in national and international refereed journals indexed in Scopus, ABDC, and Web of Science (Thomson Reuters). He has also published several opinion articles, book chapters and monographs with ISBN. Dr. Ahmed has edited a book India’s Foreign Policy: West Asia and North Africa; and is the author of the textbook Business Environment: Indian and Global Perspective published by Prentice-Hall (PHI) publications. He has visited several countries and is invited as Speaker by leading think tanks, Embassy and inter-governmental organisation in India and abroad. Dr. Ahmed's articles have also appeared in leading newspapers like The Financial Express, Bangkok Post (Thailand), The Hindu Business Line, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Business Standard, The Santiago Times (Chile), The Straits Times (Singapore) and The Economic Times. Also, he has been on expert panel in national and international media like Times Now channel, Vietnam News TV and the BBC.
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