Written by Ralph E. Shaffer
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Topics: Donald Trump, War

Sunday, 9 April 2017

OSLO. In a surprise press conference in Oslo on April 7, the Nobel War Prize Committee unexpectedly announced that the award for 2017 would not be made in October, as it usually is. Instead, the Committee has unanimously decided that the award should go immediately to President Donald Trump of the United States of America.

The reason for the early decision, the chairman said, was that the decisive and effective action by the president in ordering a missile strike on a Syrian air field following the dastardly nerve gas attack on innocent children made further consideration of the other 300 candidates nominated for the War Prize unnecessary. Among Trump's competitors for the War Prize were Russia's Vladimir Putin, for his invasion of the Ukraine, and the collective running the ISIS Republic in the Middle East.

"The president's new policy of 'Peace through War,' the logical outcome of his campaign slogan of 'Peace through Strength,' as demonstrated in the missile attack on a Syrian air field, was the determining factor. Earlier in the week we were ready to award it to him as soon as his pre-emptive strike on North Korea's atomic weapons center took place. But his outrage over the slaughter of a handful of innocent Syrian children, suffocating to death on the evening television news, moved him to act immediately on the Syrian atrocity."

The few members of the American press who were present for the unexpected announcement tried to question the chairman. A reporter from the New York Times asked, "If the president was so appalled by the agonizing deaths of the Syrian kids, whom he had seen on television news, why would he not allow them into the U. S. as refugees? Where was the humanity in his anti-refugee executive order?"

A Washington Post opinion editor, in Oslo on vacation, wondered why Trump wasn't outraged enough to support military action against Syria after many times that number of kids died of nerve gas in a Syrian attack in 2013? At that time, Trump repeatedly tweeted that President Obama should do nothing militarily.

Then a Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent rose and asked the chairman to explain why incinerating little Vietnamese children with napalm was a more humane and acceptable death than one from sarin gas.

The Committee chairman ignored all the questions. His response, instead, explained the reasoning of the Committee. "The president, during his election campaign, repeatedly argued that he sought 'Peace through Strength,' calling for a massive expansion of the American military and its atomic bomb capability. Now, he has demonstrated that he has carried that idea one step beyond, seeking 'Peace through War.' He recognized that diplomacy is just talk that fails to stop any aggressor. Only forceful military action, with all options on the table, will hold a dictator in check."

The Boston Globe military editor disagreed. "How many kids will die a horrible, slow death from atomic bomb poisoning when Trump hits the North Korean weapons stockpile? The only Peace that brings is the peace that follows an agonizing death. Where's the humanity in that?"

Before the press conference had ended, word came that Trump had learned of his good fortune and had issued a tweet. "If we must have Perpetual War to maintain a Perpetual Peace, that's exactly what America will do. That's the real meaning of 'America First.' "

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Ralph E. Shaffer is professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona. reshaffer@cpp.edu

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