Letter from the Nobel committee

Dear Mr President,

May we begin by congratulating you on the upcoming successful completion of your terms of office. We believe that you are one of the few American Presidents in recent decades to have completed their terms without facing impeachment.

This achievement is all the more remarkable because, as we have read in American newspapers, you are a Muslim who was born in Kenya. This fact must undoubtedly contribute to greater mutual understanding among different religions and ethnic groups in the United States.

That brings up a matter that has bothered us recently, namely the Peace Prize we awarded you back in 2009. As you may recall, we were moved to do that by a speech in which you indicated that it would be one of your priorities in office to reduce or even eliminate nuclear weapons.

It is true that your government has taken a firm stance against the development of nuclear weapons by the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, a stance with which we agree. However, when we heard that speech, we thought it was announcing a willingness to reduce the number of American nuclear weapons, in order to encourage other countries to do the same.

It seems that we must have misunderstood.

As far as we are aware, there has been no reduction whatsoever in the number of nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the United States. Nor has your government announced any acceptable proposal to other nuclear powers for a mutual reduction of nuclear weapons. There has been no change in the long-time public US stance that the nuclear weapons of Israel either don’t exist or are something that no one need worry about.

Only recently, we have learned that you are proposing that the USA spend more than one trillion dollars to build 12 new missile-carrying submarines, 100 new nuclear bombers, and 400 land-based missiles. This really doesn’t sound like nuclear disarmament.

Perhaps there were nuances in your 2009 speech that our translator did not fully comprehend. But, whatever the reason, we fear all this could make us appear like the legendary visitor to New York who handed over money to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

We are not proposing that you return the Prize, which would embarrass all concerned. However, it would ease our situation and still retain your status as a Nobel laureate if we mutually agreed to alter your citation to remove any reference to nuclear weapons and instead to emphasize how your presidency has contributed to acceptance of Kenyan Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Please accept our assurances of our profound respect,

The Peace Prize Committee