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Nobel Peace Prize for the EU

by Frank Schnittger Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 10:48:28 AM EST

The Nobel Peace Prize committee has a curious sense of timing: awarding President Obama the Peace Prize before he had accomplished anything much in office, and now awarding the EU the Peace Prize at a time when it seems intent on unraveling much of what has been achieved in European Solidarity in the past 60 years. Perhaps both awards can be described as a form of preemptive peace making: Instead of the more usual approach of rewarding a peacemaker for a life-times achievement of making peace long after it can do any good to help their efforts, it chose instead to reward Obama early in order to make it more possible for him to unwind the warmongering of President Bush. And now it is rewarding current EU leaders for NOT YET having unraveled most of what has been achieved in terms of EU solidarity in order to remind them of the rich peace making heritage bequeathed to them by the EU's founders, and thus make it more possible for them to reverse current negative trends.

In any case, that is the most charitable spin I can put on today's Nobel Peace Prize presentation ceremony in Oslo. Many readers here may view it as a study in the increasing irrelevance of both the Nobel Peace Prize committee and the EU: The establishment congratulating itself on how relevant, innovative and peace loving they are - whilst all the while destroying the efforts of their predecessors and taking and giving credit where none is due. However it seemed odd to me that a forum dedicated to European Affairs would let the day pass unremarked, so this is my attempt to get a conversation going. What relevance has the EU and the Nobel Peace prize got to peacemaking today? Are both still making a valuable positive contribution, or are both living off (and diminishing) past achievements?

Can we seriously look to the EU to make a further positive contribution to European and world Peace today, or must we look elsewhere, and if so, where?


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The Nobel prize has, to be sure, a somewhat wayward history. Awarding it to Henry Kissinger is still, far and away, the most bizarre but there are others which jar the senses.

I still don't know why they gave it to Obama, except possibly or having beaten John McCain. Unfortunately it merely suggested to him that he no longer had to try to reduce Bush's warmongering and so kept on just like before. Afghanistan is not over, Guantanamo is not yet closed and he's waging a whole new war in Waziristan.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:11:29 AM EST
Has anyone yet confessed to nominating the EU? I'd like to know who that was.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 12:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of his master plan to destroy it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 12:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mist on the river
The fisherman sits watching
I'm not saying who
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 01:14:09 PM EST
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But why the EU ? For not having a war since 1945.

It's not like it has a peacekeeping force or has any input to NATO. It has brokered no deals to end conflict.

Just be thankful it wasn't Netenyahu/Lieberman

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:13:30 AM EST
Perhaps pointedly, the award is to the EU as an institution, and not to any of it's current leaders. Perhaps the award is to remind them they have a lot to live up to even to maintain the achievements of their predecessors, never mind to build on them...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:38:02 AM EST
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Also, it's not to the Euro.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:39:14 AM EST
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Always the most charitable view, I see.
by Katrin on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:22:24 PM EST
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And what is your view?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 05:55:07 PM EST
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My first reaction was to say, oh, the EU gets the same prize as the murderer in chief with his drones, and all those war criminals before him. Quite symbolic and serves us right. It is unclear who is demeaning whom. But then remember, both the EU and the Nobel Prize used to be quite respectable. The campaign to give the prize to Carl von Ossietzky was enormously important and there was the hope to save him by the prize. That's why Bradley Manning should have got it this year, if we are to take the Nobel Prize seriously.
by Katrin on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:18:52 PM EST
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I think Bradley Manning would have been a great choice.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 03:47:44 PM EST
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Early on a lot of peace prizes went to organisations that sought to build connections between parliaments and parliamentarians from different countries. Which is pre-emptive peacemaking, so in that tradition EU makes sense.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:18:35 PM EST
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Well. One's aspirations are for the EU to be the repository of Europe's foreign policy, which would be executed by the Commission under the control of the Parliament. The member nations having merely vestigial elements of foreign policy, mostly concerning historical partners, and closing most of their embassies in favour of EU ones.

This would presumably give rise to what I would call a "Scandinavian" foreign policy, i.e. mostly transparent and virtous; because it could only implement policy hammered out in the light of day and agreed by all parties. Neo-colonialism, neo-mercantilism etc would have no place.

Now that would be a worthy prize in itself, never mind the medals.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 11:50:26 AM EST
Can you really see Britain, France etc. give up their foreign policy machinations and hand control over their foreign policy to the EU? Anyone heard of Baroness Ashton recently?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 12:00:57 PM EST
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As Foot of Pride remarked on DKOS, at least the didn't award the EU the Nobel prize for Economics!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:10:26 PM EST
Next Ig Nobel prize?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:25:55 PM EST
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The prize is more like a silver watch that costs €39.99, given to you at your retirement party.

Europe has to figure out how to live in an increasingly instable world with more people and less resources while keeping barbarism in check. If this avantgarde pessimism succeeds then Europe will have contributed enough to 'World Peace'.

On a related note: Farewell to Europe - Clyde Prestowitz - Foreign Policy

I was wrong, and I have come to realize that my dream of a united Europe a la the United States, is not the European dream. Indeed, with great disappointment I have at last concluded that there is no European dream because a las those whom we on the outside call Europeans are not and don't want to be Europeans.
Foreign Policy is a slapdash magazin though sometimes it has its moments. Maybe it's hard to understand for outsiders but: We don't even speak the same language! The United States of Europe (tm) has always been and still is a pipe dream.
by epochepoque on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 02:50:10 PM EST
Maybe it's hard to understand for outsiders but: We don't even speak the same language! The United States of Europe (tm) has always been and still is a pipe dream.

We in the US don't speak the same language either, although we don't admit it.  The US electoral map tells a part of socio-cultural story but not the economic one.  "Red states" espouse christian traditional values and praise capitalism (or their immature notions of "free market") but generally are on the federal dole (and have been since the 1930s) and have higher divorce and teen pregnancy rates and lower educational achievement rates.      

by Marie2 on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 06:20:09 PM EST
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Yeah, someone told me the US is a collection of very different countries: the Northeast, Dixie, the Midwest, the Rockies/Flyover country and the Pacific states. BTW, have you read this? The resentment is building in the 'Red Moocher States' - they're all net takers of Federal money (except of Texas).

But that's still something very different from an EU with 27 member countries and probably as many languages, many more regional cultures, economic and political systems. We literally don't speak the same language.

by epochepoque on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:37:48 PM EST
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Do any of those 27 countries not have the shared values of national universal healthcare, national retirement income security, public education, etc.?  Never had the first in the US and the second two are being whittled away as quickly at the neo-liberals can manage to do so.
by Marie2 on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:54:50 PM EST
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No, the "centre-right" parties in those 27 countries don't share the values of solidarity and are chipping away at them even though they are enshrined in various declarations of principles of the European Union, including the Treaties.

But the 27 'lefts' do share those values.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 07:59:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should have asked if the majority in any of those 27 countries don't have the shared values ... Or maybe I'm misinformed about the prevalence of universal health care in other countries -- a public good that doesn't and has never existed in the US.  But we do spend a lot of money on some mighty fine prisons holding the largest prison population in the world and we're number one, by a significant margin, in spending on a military economy.
by Marie2 on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:10:24 PM EST
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The majority of the public will vote the way Bild Zeitung tells them to vote, right up until that hits them on their livelihood. By which time it is far too late to prevent the crisis.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:57:09 AM EST
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This evening saw one or two hundred activists in a protest march against the prize, shutting down some S-Bahn lines. They had flags saying that the peacemakers were waging war on southern Europe. They were planning to march all the way to the xmas market.

Why do i never think to take a photo?

OK, photos here.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 03:21:01 PM EST
Looks like some leftovers from the eighties' peace marches. But their St. Martin's lanterns with the yellow skull are certainly pretty:

Europe clings to scorched-earth ideology as depression deepens - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Daily Telegraph

Like the generals of the First World War, Europe's leaders seem determined to send wave after wave of their youth into the barbed wire of tight money, bank deleveraging, and fiscal austerity a l'outrance.
by epochepoque on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 03:46:26 PM EST
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Actually, the strong majority  of activists were in their 20's. Weser-Kurier didn't want to show that, perhaps.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 03:49:30 PM EST
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Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 04:14:00 PM EST
The Nobel Peace Prise has indeed become a kind of mockery. The European Council being what it is today, this can not possibly be taken serious. Extrapolating from there the end of the EU is going a bit to far, I would say. There was a lot of folk invested on a collapse, especially around mid September, to shake up the US election, but oh well...

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 12:58:12 PM EST
I think that, historically, the EU has played a very important role in securing peace in Europe, but not at the moment, which is what makes the award of the Peace Prize now so strange.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 03:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See it as an attempt to move the EU into a certain direction by emphasising the EU's  importance for European peace. Just as with Obama's Nobel for promising a less belligerent policy. The committee isn't thinking of the past role, they are making a point for a desirable future role.

And then we mustn't forget that the prize is a means for Norway to make statements on foreign policy. That's why Bradley Manning will never receive it.

by Katrin on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 06:58:12 AM EST
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Then they should stop calling it a prize, they should call it a grant.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 07:00:05 AM EST
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They can hardly change the wording of Alfred Nobel's will.
by Katrin on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 08:56:31 AM EST
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and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
Sounds like they've already done that....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 09:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporations are people too my friend....

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 09:24:05 AM EST
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