On one hand, it’s sort of a no-brainer, like the International Olympic Committee awarding the 2016 games to Rio—they couldn’t pass on the first South American host nation, and the Nobel folks were hard-pressed to find a name-brand candidate who did more in 2009 to try to advance the cause of peace on Earth.
On the other hand, the Nobel Prize is kind of a secular sainthood—recognition for those who’ve put in work on behalf of their fellow man. For MLK, it was recognition of a lifetime spent promoting nonviolent resistance to injustice. For would-be President Al Gore, it was a consolation prize.
President Obama might save the world, and he might leave behind the same two wars that he inherited. This is one time when the committee could have waited a little longer to see how things play out. If there’s a sovereign Palestinian state living in harmony with Israel a couple of years from now, they’ll look like geniuses. If Obama winds up green-lighting an air strike on Iran’s nuclear reactors, in hindsight it’ll seem like the Nobel folks shot their wad a tad too soon.
If you’re Obama, you’re looking at the Nobel committee like, “Do I get a three-speed bike and a tie-dyed shirt, too?