STOCKHOLM — By honoring the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Nobel Peace Prize committee stuck to its tradition of not just awarding past achievements, but highlighting a cause, movement or process it hopes can promote world peace.
So does this high-minded ambition work?
Sometimes. The 1991 prize to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the 1996 award to East Timor independence leaders Carlos Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta are widely seen as having had a significant political impact.
History hasn’t been kind to some other prizes, like the 1994 award shared by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin for what was seen as a breakthrough in peace talks. Or the 1926 prize given to the foreign ministers of France and Germany to promote reconciliation between the two World War I adversaries. A decade later, Hitler denounced their promises not to invade each other and sent troops into the demilitarized Rhineland, paving the way for WWII.