The following is an excerpt of my interview with Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. In this section, Jagland speaks about whether Obama lived up to the expectations of the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in 2009. The rest of the interview will be published later today covering topics from the tragedy in Norway to Europe's role in Central Asia.
Has President Obama lived up to his Nobel Peace Prize?
Yes, I think so. I’m as convinced as I was when he got it that he deserved it for many reasons. He changed so many things in American foreign policy; During three months’ time, he, for instance and that’s what’s the main reason why he got the prize, namely that he paved the way for new negotiations with the Russian Federation about nuclear arms. If you look at the will of Alfred Nobel that goes directly to what he said that the prize should go to the person that has worked for - he called it reduction of standing armies but in today’s terms it means arm control and disarmament. So President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize because he paved the way for such negotiations; he said that he was willing to discuss the nuclear shield of Europe and therefore, the Russians were beginning to come back to the table and negotiations started again.
We couldn’t avoid giving the prize to President Obama given the will of Alfred Nobel and what he did on this point. But, there are other things also, which we looked at, for instance, the fact that he started immediately to build bridges to the Muslim world throughout the time.