Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Nobel Nominations Edition

Via International Relations Professor Dan Drezner’s twitter feed:

Jesse Johnson works for The Japan Times, “Japan’s largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper”; Asahi (technically Asahi Shimbun) is the second-largest of Japan’s five national newspapers.

Nah, a piece of paper wouldn’t work… but if someone stamped an elaborate challenge-coin-style design on a chunk of brass the size of a small hubcap, and hung it from one of those massive silk curtain tie-backs that were popular when Reagan was in office…

54 replies
  1. 1

    I am surprised. Maybe they think with the weird North Korea situation, it’s a harmless, pathetically easy way to get on Trump’s good side? It is difficult for me to wrap my head around it, but logically I realize that ‘flatter that dumbass so we can get America to do what we want’ is a perfectly reasonable strategy for a foreign leader.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    American presidents have been right.
    American presidents have been wrong.
    But an American president hasn’t been this pathetic in a long, long time.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The bottom line here is Donald is unworthy of a nomination, and there’s no way in hell the Nobel Committee will grant a fascist fuck a peace prize.

  4. 4
    SRW1 says:

    Well, Trump is such modest and inconspicuous figure his meritoriousness might easily get overlooked!

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    What’s Japanese for “short-fingered vulgarian”?

    Trump is the most unJapanese person I’ve seen or could imagine. How they evaluate and contend with him daily and strategically would make a fascinating read.

  6. 6
    pat says:

    His jealousy of Obama reaches the heights of creepiness.

  7. 7
    Lapassionara says:

    Please, just make it stop! The lying, the cruelty, the vanity, the terrible policies, the dreadful pall he has cast over our lives. Just make it stop!

  8. 8

    The man is delusional. He still thinks that anything Obama did, he can do too.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Maybe mathematics. He can magically turn something into nothing.

  10. 10
    debbie says:

    Trump said the letter was five pages long; what are the odds he wrote it all himself?

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:


    I hear ya.

  12. 12
    jonas says:

    it’s a harmless, pathetically easy way to get on Trump’s good side?

    Yeah, but a remarkably humiliating one. I’m surprised by how willing a lot of world leaders have been to debase themselves in front of Trump, supposedly because they fear embarrassing him and getting on his bad side or something. A few, like Merkel and Trudeau, have been like “fuck that,” and tell Trump to get bent, but others like Abe or a Teresa May have been reliable lickspittles and voluntary dignity wraiths.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    I guess there’s also the Nobel Consolation Prize– which is almost exactly like the prize that Obama won. But bigger and much more beautiful.

  14. 14

    @Villago Delenda Est: Doesn’t Kissinger have one? And the Burmese despot.

  15. 15
    Chris Johnson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Exactly. He might as well have one for all the significance it has.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Kissinger’s prize caused Tom Lehrer to quit singing satire, as it was officially dead.

  17. 17
    Kent says:

    Trump seems to think that a Nobel Prize nomination is the same thing as an Academy Award nomination.

    They are not. Anyone can send a letter to the Nobel Price committee nominating or recommending anyone for the price. It doesn’t mean anything. I could write a letter nominating myself and then call myself a Nobel Prize nominee. This whole thing is as ridiculous as Trump creating fake Time Magazine covers with his face on them and then posting framed copies on his walls. Yes, he actually did that.

  18. 18
    Mary G says:

    Abe probably picked Twitler’s pocket for billions of dollars in trade advantages in return for that 5-page letter, and it would be hilarious to be a fly on the wall who understands Japanese when they talk amongst themselves about what an idiot he is. You notice all the actual tariffs are against China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, but nobody seems to notice the millions of Japanese cars coming into LA Harbor every month. Because Abe is a nice guy!

  19. 19
    Mike in NC says:

    I like where somebody came up with the nickname “Needy Amin” for the Fat Bastard. It captures that he’s so absurdly vain and narcissistic. Remember the report that two people were employed full-time to simply thumb through newspapers and magazines looking for favorable articles to put in his pathetic scrapbook?

    Surprised some minor Saudi prince didn’t get asked to nominate him for the Nobel. Saudi Arabia was Trump’s first overseas destination because he knew they’d pull out all the stops to flatter his demented ass with bling. He also did his best to run interference on the Khoshoggi murder.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Curious why he hasn’t installed his own glowing orb in the White House. Seemed quite drawn to it.

  21. 21
    hells littlest angel says:

    It’s so ludicrous that I can only imagine that Abe did it as a gesture of contempt. “Please nominate me!” “I will be happy to, honorable fucking jerkoff.”

  22. 22
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    This one we want to fight–

    We need more than a stirring song.

  23. 23
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Saudi Arabia was Trump’s first overseas destination because he knew they’d pull out all the stops to flatter his demented ass with bling.

    Are you sure that was his motivation?
    The Orb definitely got to him. But who controls the Orb? :-)
    (That entire trip was … weird.)

  24. 24
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Well, hey every ‘real American’ knows blacks are lazy and stupid– so if Obama did it any dummie can do it. So of course Trump the bestest dummie ever has stepped up.

  25. 25
    Aleta says:

    And why did he pick Abe for this honor? Why would he discriminate against all the USAmericans who’d gladly nominate him in exchange for something. Why not a Gingrich or a Hannity ? Their price too high, and his currency’s been devalued? Well whatever, but fwiw (it’s worth 0) it shows he acknowledges how blatantly illegitimate his nepotism and cronyism appear.

    And he couldn’t use the Saudis either — bummer. Did Netan yahoo refuse?

    I’ll suggest, perhaps he picked Abe because he’s desperate to fake approval from outside his corrupt circles. (Yes Abe is corrupt, just not associated w/ the Russians like the others, bc of Japan’s issues vs them.) Could have been Jared’s idea or Ivanka’s quiet word in his ea

    What promise did he dangle on a stick in front of Abe? A package that included an Ivanka anchor store next to a hotel on land that Abe’s relatives own?

    Irrelevant I guess.

  26. 26
    sdhays says:


    …what are the odds he wrote it all himself?

    Zero. I very much doubt that he has written 5 pages of anything in his life, unless you count wiping his ass “writing”.

  27. 27
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Kent: Nominations for the Peace Prize are accepted by the Nobel Committee from a number of specific people and organisations, usually national leaders, charities like the Red Cross and such. The winner each year isn’t a popularity contest, it doesn’t depend on the number of nominations for a particular candidate, it’s decided by the committee from the list of those nominated.

    It’s entirely possible Saddam Hussein was a nominee in the past, ditto for Stalin and even Mean Mister Moustache. The list of nominees is kept secret, only the winner each year is announced.

  28. 28
    sdhays says:

    @Aleta: You give him too much credit. He’s not that skilled a “deal maker” to have offered any kind of actual deal.

  29. 29
    Jay says:

    @Mary G:

    “If the Trump administration’s tariff policy is meant to target unfair Chinese trade, it sure has a funny way of going about it.

    So far, the U.S. Department of Commerce has excluded about 40 per cent of imports of Chinese steel from facing its 25 per cent tariff. But to date, only two per cent of the total volume of Canadian steel imports to the U.S. has been cleared to dodge the tariff.”

  30. 30
    TS (the original) says:


    Trump said the letter was five pages long; what are the odds he wrote it all himself?

    If he wrote it himself – he lied about the size – and that would be nothing new.

  31. 31
    Bill Arnold says:


    And why did he pick Abe for this honor?

    It’s worse (it appears). They are like-minded. There were a few similar articles in 2017 as well, and digging will find weirder, more disturbing stuff.
    Why Steve Bannon Admires Japan – In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found a home within the political establishment. (Reto Hofmann June 22, 2018)

    Since 2012, Abe has gradually enforced a hard right-wing agenda from within. He has impeccable nationalistic credentials. He is a special adviser of the Nippon Kaigi, a right-wing organization that strives to reconstruct Japan on a nationalist basis. It is active, for example, in advising the government on education policies, promoting ideas about “morals” as well as revisionist history textbooks.

    Since 2012, Abe’s governments have been pushing policies that are still only on the agenda of many populists. Take the attacks on the media, for example. When Abe was appointed prime minister in 2012, he posted on Facebook that “my war with the mass media has started. I will fight my way through it together with your support.” Further, his government passed the State Secrecy Laws, one effect of which is to restrict the media’s news gathering capacity. Momii Katsuto, the former head of NHK, the public broadcaster, and a close friend of Abe, caused a stir when he said that NHK “should not deviate from the government’s position in its reporting.”
    Abe has a clear “Japan First” outlook, a desire to remake a “beautiful Japan” that is socially harmonious and ethnically homogeneous. Despite the country’s acute labor shortage, Abe does not welcome immigrants. …

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    Hmm. Let’s see.

    President Barack Obama won two Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album (“Dreams From My Father” in 2005 and “The Audacity of Hope” in 2007) before being awarded the Peace Prize in 2009.

    Former president Jimmy Carter won the Peace Prize in 2002 and would go on to win two Grammys as well. Carter won both in the Spoken Word category; his first in 2006 for “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis” and his second last year for “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.”

    Trump has a way to go before he can match either Obama or Jimmy Carter.

    I look forward to the release of Trump’s rap album.

  33. 33
    tobie says:

    One of the things I’ve found hard to handle in the Trump era is just how alone those of us who abhor Trump are. My hope was that the world would tell the US to go fuck itself as long as Trump was in office and treating traditional allies like crap while at the same time sucking up to autocrats. Instead the world groveled with the exception perhaps of Trudeau. Answering Trump’s request for a Nobel Prize nomination is a new low. I guess realpolitik got the better of our allies and, as much as they hate Trump, the US economy can’t be entirely ignored, and Europe has too many internal divisions and Putin stirring up trouble to take unified action.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:


    A few, like Merkel and Trudeau, have been like “fuck that,” and tell Trump to get bent, but others like Abe or a Teresa May have been reliable lickspittles and voluntary dignity wraiths.

    Merkel and Trudeau both lean left, despite Merkel’s terrible neoliberal economic policies (I’m using the genuine definition of “neoliberal,” not the “progessive” one of “liberal I don’t like”).

    Abe and May are both conservatives, so they feel an affinity with Trump’s xenophobic and plutocratic goals even if they despise him as a person.

  35. 35
    Jay says:


    The world’s not grovelling, eg:
    – TPPII
    – 5+1-1 and is setting up a sanctions busting process
    – utter silence during Pence’s NATO address while the audience read reports and googled on their phones, ignoring every word he said,

    Just a few examples.

    The US has too much military, economic and financial power for the ROW to pretend it no longer exists in the time of Needy Amin.

  36. 36

    @Brachiator: Speaking of which I discovered the world of rap from Mumbai which I didn’t know existed because of Zoya Akhtar’s new movie Gullyboy
    It has a great score. It includes this gem
    Azaadi Which was written for the students’ movement against the BJP government, which has clamped down hard on dissent.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:


    It includes this gem
    Azaadi Which was written for the students’ movement against the BJP government, which has clamped down hard on dissent.

    Wow. Very creative and inspiring stuff. Thanks very much for the link.

    Who was the woman speaking English to officials near the end of the video?

  38. 38
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Robert Sneddon: And I suspect that Trump’s application will simply be placed in a folder somewhere. He hasn’t exactly made friends in Europe, and who knows how long the nominee list is? And since it’s Norway, he can’t put pressure on various members to vote for him either.

    I think the basic approach is to wait him out until 2021. This is one of the benefits of fixed terms. Unless Trump wins another term, his term automatically runs out, with no mechanism to extend anything at all.

  39. 39

    @Villago Delenda Est: Lehrer had actually retired from performing (with only occasional exceptions for special occasions) before Kissinger received the award, but it did cause Lehrer to remark that satire was dead. It hasn’t gotten any better since then. He has also remarked that having people suggest topics for humorous songs to him feels like being asked for comments on lava as a resident of Pompeii.

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    @Bill Arnold: Yes, and also: for Abe, his relationship w Trump is an exchange. The J words for ‘mutual cooperation’ are well-used terms in J economic and political relations. What will Trump do for Abe, goes alongside whatever Trump wants. Trump’s increasing vulnerability in ‘appearance’ before the world is part of Abe’s thinking.

  41. 41

    @Brachiator: That is not actually from the movie but made about year and a half ago. The woman giving the speech in the Parliament ( something about depravity) is Smriti Irani, she is a cabinet minister in Modi’s government.

    Azaadi, the same number in the moviewhich feels more slick and less caustic but then again I would have never found the original had ZA not included it in her movie.

    Azaadi == Freedom

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @Brachiator: He has to become human first.

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    Trump is gonna be pissy after watching McCabe. hmmm

  44. 44
    stinger says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: He can’t shoot hoops, he can’t sing like Al Green, he can’t get a woman like Michelle Robinson interested in him. He’s pathetic. And delusional. Delusional and pathetic.

  45. 45
    debbie says:


    Yes, I bet he complains he fired the wrong fed.

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @debbie: He’s gonna be tweeting.

  47. 47
    debbie says:


    Oh, he’s begun tweeting about Mueller and he’s already retweeting his earlier tweets. Lazy shit.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @debbie: If we had a decent MSM they would highlight trump’s connection to Putin. Let’s take Putin’s words over our own intelligence.. ugh I’m listening to 60 minutes overtime now.

  49. 49
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Aleta: The remaining brain cells he has knows that Abe is a “somebody” that foreign people will listen to. Hannity, even Gingrich, is a “who are these people” outside the United States. But a Prime Minister is presumably someone they would listen to and be impressed by.

  50. 50
    debbie says:


    Rothstein won’t be very happy with him either. “Oh, he meant it.”

  51. 51
    debbie says:


    Er, Rosenstein. Doh.

  52. 52
    Mainmata says:

    The Japanese could tell President Dumbass “yeah, we proposed him” and not do it. Does the Nobel Committee publicize the list? I don’t think so. In any event, no way he gets the Nobel Peace Prize. He has done nothing to make the Korean situation actually safer. (North Korea already proved that it had full capacity to deliver missiles all the way to the USA so that was its main goal. If anyone should get the prize, it would be Pres. Moon of South Korea.

  53. 53
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @tobie: The world’s autocrats aren’t groveling, they see Trump either as a fellow soul or an easily manipulated stooge.

  54. 54
    Mainmata says:

    @Bill Arnold: Good comment. Yes, Abe is a pretty right wing nationalist and a serious memorialist of the fascist Japanese Govt. of WW !!. So a natural Trump ally.

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