President Obama’s trip to Oslo, where he will be awarded his Nobel peace prize, could be just adding another on a growing list of countries who the current administration has insulted.
Norwegians are upset over his cutting short his visit which traditionally features three days of activities and ceremonies.
The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children’s event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace center.
More importantly, he has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway, an event every prize winner from the Dalai Lama to Al Gore has attended.
According to a poll published by the daily tabloid VG, 44% of Norwegians believe it was rude of Obama to cancel his scheduled lunch with King Harald, with only 34% saying they believe it was acceptable.
News outlets across the Scandanavian region are calling Obama arrogant for slashing some of the prize winners’ traditional duties from his schedule. “Everybody wants to visit the Peace Center except Obama,” sniped the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, amid reports the president would snub his own exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center. “A bit arrogant—a bit bad,” proclaimed another Aftenposten headline.
“Of all the things he is cancelling, I think the worst is cancelling the lunch with the king,” said Siv Jensen, the leader of the largest party in opposition, the populist Progress party. “This is a central part of our government system. He should respect the monarchy,” she said. The the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet ran the headline, “Obama disses lunch with King Harald.”
The Norwegians should consider themselves in good company. The Obama administration has managed to snub the British, the French, the Germans, the Japanese, the Israelis, the Taiwanese and the Dalai Lama to name some on the list. They haven’t snubbed all of our historical friends yet, but they’ve only had eleven months with which to work!