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You thought they couldn’t do it?

You thought that no one could top awarding a Nobel peace prize to Barack Obama, a decision taken, if I recall correctly, eleven days into his presidency?

They topped it.

This is sublime. This is art.

European Union wins Nobel peace prize

28 comments to You thought they couldn’t do it?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Monty Python has nothing on these people.

    Maybe they were hoping to give it to Hugo Chavez.

  • Frederick Davies

    Maybe they were hoping to give it to Hugo Chavez.

    Don’t give them ideas! They are capable…


  • lee Moore

    I’m not sure I agree with Natalie on this one.

    There is a view amongst EU enthusiasts that the EU and its institutional forbears can claim a lot of the credit for half a century of peace in Europe. For myself, I don’t think there is much to be said for that view. Certainly some of the EU’s founders were motivated by a desire to keep the peace in Europe, but the objective reality says that it was other things – eg the need to pull together in the face of the Soviet military threat and the fact that the European countries were bit part players on the world stage post WW2 that was responsible. But thinking that the EU is responsible for 50 years of peace in Europe is just your average bien pensant progressive received wisdom. It’s wrong, but it’s not completely off the wall lunacy. (Bear in mind that the Nobel Peace Prize awarders are the sort of people who would regard Polly Toynbee as dangerously right wing.)

    The fact that there are lots of people who would disagree, and doubt very strongly that the EU has had much, if anything, to do with keeping the peace in Europe should not of itself be a bar to awarding the EU the prize. After all if you can swallow Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat getting it, you are hardly requiring a standard of unanimous agreement.

    The shark jumping was Obama, beside which giving it to the EU is no more than normal service resumed. Even by bien pensant progressive standards Obama had done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Even by pretty extreme moonbat standards it’s not as if he rid the world of the warmonger Bush. The warmonger Bush was retiring anyway.

  • I agree with lee Moore.

    At least in this case the people giving the prize alluded to actual items of peace-making allegedly done by EU officials.

    Why peace breaks out is a notoriously complicated and controversial matter. Was this or that peace negotiator causing peace to happen, or merely acting as the go-between to register an agreement that those agreeing had already decided that they did indeed agree about? Should warriors who have an almighty war, and then agree to stop it and make peace, be eligible for this prize? It’s not a completely mad idea that they should, and in the past that is how the prize has been awarded. Nevertheless that does seem very peculiar.

    What I personally object to is the use of the word “peace” to describe the mere insertion of virtue into the world in a way that is widely approved of, but often in a way that is the opposite of peaceful, and the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to turbulent, disruptive individuals who may very well be battling heroically against wickedness, but who are … battling. As opposed to calming things down, I mean.

    I agree with lee Moore that the role of the EU in imposing peace upon Europe is greatly exaggerated. The EU inherited far more peace than it ever contrived, I think. But despite that, I think that this is one of the more sensible Nobel Peace Prize awards.

    On the other hand, as lee Moore also says, giving this gong to Obama was bonkers. Shark jumping indeed. He had done no peacemaking, and bugger all else besides winning one election. After which he carried on with various wars that he had inherited.

  • Alisa

    These people give each other Nobel Peace Prizes much in the same way we mortals exchange ‘likes’ on Facebook.

  • Alisa

    My comment was struck by a smitebot lightning – no doubt deservedly so.

  • How long before the use of the word “smited” gets you smited, I wonder?

  • I appreciate your thoughtful reply, Lee, but even if one grants that the idea that the EU was responsible for this peace rather than just happening to exist at the same time as it, giving the prize to the organisation that has managed to make war in Europe thinkable again seems merely intended to annoy. Perhaps it is the style of art intended to provoke the audience.

    The Patrick Crozier post from seven years ago that I linked to above is presicent. Some excerpts:

    The Big Dispute in Europe between 1945 and 1989 was over communism. The Warsaw Pact thought that it should expand. NATO disagreed. That dispute could have escalated into a real war at any time but it didn’t. Two possibilities: the ever present threat of instant annihilation posed by nuclear weapons or the EU (oh, hang about that didn’t come into being until 1992, I mean the EC, oh hang about that didn’t come into being until 1986, I mean the EEC, oh hang about that didn’t come into being until 1958. No what I mean is the European Coal and Steel Community. Yes, that’s what Euro-fanatics would have us believe kept the peace between 1950 and 1958. That we didn’t get vapourised in the five years before was just good luck. )


    The funny thing is about the only disputes that do exist are the creation of the EU itself. Britain doesn’t like the Common Fisheries Policy. France doesn’t like Spain’s wine. Danes don’t like German immigrants. No one likes Britain’s rebate or Greece’s budget deficit. So far, they are survivable. But what if they got really serious, like a demand that Britain fund the Continent’s pensions?
    I don’t remember the period before 1973 (when Britain joined the EEC) that well but I am not aware of any disputes we had with our neighbours. Nowadays, thanks to Europeanism we have them aplenty. How long before one of them starts a war?

    You cite, correctly, “the need to pull together in the face of the Soviet military threat” as a factor necessitating that the countries of Western Europe pull together. The prize should have gone to the Red Army.

  • The Nobel Prizes in the sciences have enormous prestige, because they have quite genuinely almost always been given for the right achievements for over a century. (There are occasionally vicious arguments as to whether they were given to the right people, but humans are like that with respect to getting credit for stuff). It’s a shame the Peace Prize and the economics non-Nobel are such jokes, and the literature prize is so variable.

  • They even topped Joe Biden’s obnoxiousness, and the VP debate had me in full WTF, WTFingFityF mode all last night.

    Doesn’t the very existence of the EU make the world less peaceful? I’m thinking mainly about the debt crisis. I get the impression that membership in the EU reinforces PIIGS nations’ unrealistic expectations that the richer European nations will come in and save their day without the PIIGS having to make very many changes. Like InstaGlenn says, what can’t go on forever, won’t. We’ve seen Greeks riot against Greeks. Can’t blame the EU for that. But if lots of ruffian types expect the EU to fix Greece without Greece lifting a finger, and they don’t see it happen, I can imagine them taking out their rage against foreign embassies.

    Am I on to something here? Are there any other reasons the EU’s very existence is detrimental to peace?

  • Alisa

    Michael, it is my purely unscientific prediction that a Nobel Prize in science going to a Climate Scientist is only a matter of time. Something tells me that a certain former VP from TN is making room on a shelf as we speak.

  • lee Moore

    I have no fundamental argument with Patrick Crozier’s points.

    On the European Coal and Steel Community as the preserver of 1950s European peace, yes one is inclined to giggle from the distance of fifty or sixty years. But close up, given the state of early 1950s military technology, the idea that preventing individual European nations having control of their own tank building supply chain was not quite as ridiculous as it now seems.

    I’m trying to distinguish between annoyingly wrong progressive political opinions, and plank-in-the-face WTF wacky races stuff. The EU preserved the peace for 50 years is in the first category. Obama deserved a Nobel peace prize for…..being Obama, is in the second.

  • RRS

    What effect may this have on the composition of the selectors of the next Nobelists?

  • Alisa: No chance of that at all. The people who decide on the physics prize – which is the only one it could be – are just vastly, vastly too conservative for such an award.

  • Alisa

    Oh ye of little faith, Michael.

  • Laird

    The Peace Prize is pretty much a joke, we all seem to concede. But how can it be awarded to an organization, not an individual?

    “The prize should have gone to the Red Army.” That’s a great line!

  • Alisa

    But how can it be awarded to an organization, not an individual?

    Because if it was awarded to only one member of the organization, the others would have started a war.

  • Richard Thomas

    I thought Gore had already been nominated on grounds that displaced people caused by rising sea levels would lead to conflict or somesuch

  • Richard Thomas

    Never mind, didn’t see the science bit. He shared the peace with the un climate panel in 2007. Can you get a Nobel) even in a different field) twice?

  • Alisa

    Well, I’m sure if Arafat was also a notable physicist, among his other talents…

  • Lee Moore

    Richard Thomas asks if you can win a Nobel twice. Yes. Two people have won the same prize twice (one double Physics, one double Chemistry.) Marie Curie won Physics once and Chemistry once. Linus Pauling won Chemistry and Peace (I think for nuclear disarmament speechifying.)

    And the peace prize has been won by the UNHCR twice, and the Red Cross thrice.

  • veryretired

    I heard an argument that the prize is being used not so much as recognition, but rather as a means of urging certain views and courses of action that the judges deem important.

    Several of the peace prizes seem to fall into that category, as well as some of the other, softer ones like literature.

    After arafat, I really lost interest in any but the hard science awards.

    Or maybe they just figured that anything that even remotely kept France and Germany from going to war again was worthy of recognition.

    They certainly couldn’t give it to the hated and scorned American warmongers, now, could they? I mean, really, what did they ever do for peace in Europe?

  • Tedd

    I must have missed something important. I would have said it was NATO that was responsible for peace in Europe after WWII.

  • veryretired

    No, Tedd, you haven’t missed a thing.

  • Paul Marks

    What has preserved the peace in Western Europe for “more than six decades” is NATO.

    I.E. the United States armed forces.

    Almost needless to say….

    I did not hear anyone on the BBC pointing this out.

    They may have had one or two anti EEC – EU people on (whom I did not hear), but everyong I heard was pro EEC – EU.

  • Dave Walker

    I wonder whether, somewhere behind the Nobel Committee’s closed doors, someone said “We’d better consider the EU, before we get another war in Europe”.

    While a certain US General was heard to say “We fought World War I in Europe, we fought World War II in Europe, and if you’re dumb enough to let us, we’ll fight World War III in Europe” back in the ’80s, I wouldn’t expect it to go that far, these days (and it may be comments like that, which ruled NATO out for the prize itself) – but several parts of Europe are starting to look rather like Germany did around 1930.

    I can’t see this ending well.

  • Laird

    Good point, Dave. Incidentally, that’s precisely why I’ve been advocating for a long time that the US should withdraw from NATO. It serves no purpose any more, and if the Eurozone should fracture in a way which involves shooting we shouldn’t be in the middle of it.