- - Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Given the recent American laureates — Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Barack Obama — there’s little likelihood that the American president who did more to promote and preserve peace will follow those usurpers. Still, it’s not too late to do the noble thing, to posthumously recognize Ronald Reagan.

The Gipper proved his mettle when he stood before the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall in 1987 to deliver the most stirring speech of his presidency. “We believe that freedom and security go together,” he told a crowd of 45,000 West Germans, “that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The words resonated throughout the Eastern Bloc and became a symbol for the Reagan doctrine of peace through strength. The Soviet Union crumbled. Millions of Eastern Europeans were liberated from their misery behind the Iron Curtain. The Cold War was over.

Courage and resolve were required to deliver that speech. His wise men urged him not to deliver it, but if he had to do it he certainly shouldn’t say “tear down this wall.” Oh, dear. That would embarrass General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and heighten international tensions. To the great shame of the Nobel committee, Reagan never received the Peace Prize, though Mr. Gorbachev did, in 1990, “for his leading role in the peace process, which today characterizes important parts of the international community.”

The front-runner for the 2013 Peace Prize is said to be Malala Yousafzai, and she deserves it. Malala, now 16, is the Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban two years ago. Islamic extremists targeted her for nothing more than speaking out for the education of girls in the most retrograde, benighted corner of the Muslim world. Undaunted, she continues to speak out against the abuse and oppression, and the Taliban vows to try again to kill her.

Like Reagan, Malala recovered from an assassin’s bullet. Had she not survived that gunshot to the head, she would be ineligible for the award. Since 1974, rules of the Nobel Foundation have barred posthumous honors. But rules, like pie crust, are made to be broken. Like Malala, Ronald Reagan deserves the Peace Prize. Nobel committee, tear down that wall.