An anonymous US politician has put forward Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in one of the most unlikely nominations since that of Soviet strongman Josef Stalin in 1947.
The nominator, likely to be a Republican senator or congressman — both of whom are eligible — submitted the nomination only days before the deadline of February 1.
The nomination praised the way Trump’s bellicose foreign policy ideology functioned as “a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Isil], nuclear Iran and Communist China”, citing “his vigorous peace-through-strength ideology”.
Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of Oslo’s Peace Research Institute, which publishes an annual prediction of the likely prize-winner, confirmed to the Telegraph that he had been sent a copy of the Trump nomination letter last week.
“I have committed not to reveal the identity of the nominator, but what I can say is that the nominator has shared a copy of his nomination letter directly with me, that the nominator has a position which gives him the right to nominate, and that I consider it valid.”
Mr Trump has seen support among Republican voters soar to 40 per cent this year as he outrages liberals with his calls to ban Muslims from entering the US, describes Latino Americans as “rapists”, and pledges to “beat the s—” out of Isil with indiscriminate carpet bombing.
“When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” Mr Trump told Fox News in December, when asked about his approach to tackling Isil in Syria and Iraq.
Mr Harpviken described a Trump prize as “entirely unlikely”, arguing that the reason put forward, which appeared to be “about the necessity of confrontation rather than anything else” would not convince the five-member committee.
His shortlist of the eleven most likely winners was this year headed by US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Mr Harpviken argued that surveillance oversight reforms in the US, and a vote in the European Parliament calling on member states to “drop any criminal charges” against Mr Snowden made his chances of winning the award greater this year than in either 2014 or 2015, when he was also nominated.
“The argument, which I imagine is still that of President [Barack] Obama, that he is a traitor is increasingly unsustainable,” Mr Harpviken said. “It’s not as radical a proposition in 2016 as it would have been in 2014.”
Mr Harpviken’s second tip is the duo of Ernest Moniz, the US energy secretary, and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran for their part in the Iran nuclear deal.
The third most likely winner in his opinion was the duo of Timoleón Jiménez, head of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas, and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, for their part in peace talks to end the long-running Columbian civil war.
Mr Harpviken admitted that he suspected the Trump nomination might be little more than a cynical publicity ploy.
“The person who suggested it may genuinely mean it, but the person who suggested it may also realise that the very fact that Trump’s nomination gets confirmed has considerable interest in its own right, and that all publicity is good publicity.
“The fact that you’re asking me about his nomination indicates that, if that was the thinking, it worked.”
Previous nominees have included German dictator Adolf Hitler, who was nominated by Swedish MP Erik Brandt in 1939, Soviet leader Josef Stalin who was nominated both in 1945 and 1948, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was nominated in 2014.
The winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in early October.