President Trump cited failed peace deals that he initiated to support his claim that he should have been the winner of the latest Nobel Peace Prize.
Rabat – President Donald Trump believes that he and not the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali should have been the rightful winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, on January 9, the American president suggested that the Ethiopian Prime Minister was given credit for the success of a peace process that he had shaped and initiated in the first place.
“I’m going to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize, I’ll tell you about that,” Trump told a crowd of cheering, MAGA hat-wearing fans. “I made a deal, I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of state that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said: ‘What, did I have something to do with it? But, you know, that’s the way it is. As long as we know that’s all that matters. I saved a big war, I’ve saved a couple of them.”
Ethiopia’s Abiy received the illustrious prize for his efforts in de-escalating the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict and bringing about seeds of mutual trust and hope in what was, until recently, one of post-colonial Africa longest and most fraught border disputes.
In addition to his pivotal role in ending the political and diplomatic stalemate with Eritrea, Abiy has also won credit for massive socio-political reforms on the domestic scene.
“Abiy has introduced massive liberalizing reforms to Ethiopia, shaking up what was a tightly controlled nation,” remarked a recent BBC report. “He freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home. He has also allowed the media to operate freely and appointed women to prominent positions.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s suggestion that he was overlooked for the Nobel has been mocked online by observers who say the American president is “confused.”
The confusion, Business Insider reported, citing a tweet by the US’s Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee, is that Trump’s Nobel comments suggest he was mistaking a conflict resolution in which he had intervened with one with which he had nothing to do.
The original tweet by House Foreign Affairs Committee said, “Trump is confused. PM Abiy Ahmed Ali was awarded for his efforts to bring peace to the Horn of Africa, not stalled negotiations about a new dam on the Nile. If they gave the Nobel for deals that didn’t happen, the Pres. would have a shelf full of them.”
Reports of Trump deserving the Nobel began circulating in the first half of 2018, in the heat of the then-promising “complete de-nuclearization” negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea.
“President Donald Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” South Korean president Moon Jae-in said in April of 2018, amidst hopes that the Trump-led negotiations with North Korea would lead to a historic breakthrough.
But the process later failed in dramatic fashion, with North Korea walking away from the negotiations and blaming Washington for clinging to “its outdated viewpoint and attitude” on denuclearization.
Meanwhile, Trump’s comments come days after his much-criticized decision to kill a top Iranian general led to the prospects of an unprecedented military confrontation with Iran, as well as fears of World War III.
However, the tensions with Tehran de-escalated rather paradoxically, as Trump deemed the damage caused by Iran’s retaliation—hitting two US bases with missiles—not serious enough to deserve a strong response from Washington.
For many commentators, however, Trump’s highly unpredictable “persona” and his petulant and wayward foreign policy mean that nothing should be taken for granted regarding what now appears to be a full-throated de-escalation with Iran.