In 1901, under the terms of the will of Alfred Nobel, the first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jean Henry Dunant and Frédéric Passy. But while both men received multiple nominations, six separate nominations were filed for Czar Nikolai II of Russia. The last czar of Russia under Romanov dynasty rule, Nikolai II (nicknamed “Bloody Nicholas”), was best known for the massacre of more than a thousand peaceful protesters in St. Petersburg in 1905.
Though the Nobel committee does not release nominations until 50 years after they are made, a Norwegian nonprofit organization reported this week that Donald J. Trump was among this year’s nominees, apparently recommended by an unnamed American.
The prize is awarded annually to those who do the “best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” According to the report, Trump’s nominator chose him based on “his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China.”
The billionaire real estate mogul, former reality show host, and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful’s qualification for the prize may be dubious. After all, he is known for attacking Muslims, insulting women, disparaging Mexican immigrants, opposing LGBT equality, and for advocating the intentional targeting and killing of innocent people who are related to ISIS members.
But it turns out being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is not that difficult. In 2013, a group of Russian activists made news for nominating Vladamir Putin. Brutal Russian dictator Joseph Stalin received nominations in both 1945 and 1948. And Italian fascist Benito Mussolini was nominated twice in 1935. Even Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1939 to be a Nobel Laureate (though his nomination was later withdrawn).
According to the organization’s website, the Norweigian Nobel Committee will accept nominations from:
- Members of national assemblies and governments of states,
- Members of international courts,
- University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes,
- Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,
- Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,
- Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and
- Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Under those rules, any member of any government and virtually any academic can nominate anyone they choose, regardless of merit. This means that even the most brutal dictators and warmongers can have their names submitted in for consideration and the Nobel Committee will have to accept them. Had the Afghan government under the Taliban recommended Osama bin Laden, he too would have been a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. It does not, of course, mean the names received will receive serious consideration.