Well blow me down. Knock me over with a feather duster. Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, has brought forth a damp squib. The Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to …. The European Union!
This is unfortunate for two reasons. First, it brings the Nobel Prize system into disrepute. And second, it tends to validate the totally false €uro-luvvie myth that the EU, with all its faults, has at least achieved peace in our time.
It was bad enough in 2007 when they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to US Vice-President Al Gore for his tendentious movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. It was said at the time that he was miffed by the Peace Prize, as he’d wanted the Prize for Science. I thought that the Prize for Science Fiction might have been more appropriate.
Then in 2009 they awarded the Peace Prize to President Obama — when he’d been in office for around nine months, and had achieved very little. The kindest suggestion was that the prize was awarded as an incentive to further effort, rather than in recognition of results achieved. Since then, Obama has become the world’s chief exponent of targeted killings with un-manned drones in Pakistan and elsewhere. You can agree or disagree with this use of remote-control assassination, but it scarcely seems to merit a Peace Prize.
But really the award of the prize to the EU takes absurdity to a whole new level. For the whole of my lifetime — since the Second World War — the peace in Europe has been preserved by the Transatlantic Alliance, by NATO, by nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction. It was assured by 100,000 American GIs in Germany. And as Lord Ashdown remarked today, it was achieved partly as a result of the post-war German decision to eschew militarism. It wasn’t the European Commission that brought down the Berlin Wall. It was the courage and determination of Western Leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and indeed Polish Pope John Paul.
Of course it is true that the objective of the founding fathers of the EU was to make war impossible between France and Germany, and to bring peace. So they would have been horrified to see the results of their efforts. The EU has been responsible for the €uro — described by Lord Lawson as “the most irresponsible political experiment of the post-war era”. As a result of the €uro, Greek campaigners have dressed up in Nazi uniforms to welcome the German Chancellor to Athens, and burned German flags in the streets of the city. As a result of the EU, democracy has been suspended in Greece, the cradle of democracy, and in Italy. And Spanish protesters burn EU flags in Madrid. The project intended to create peace and harmony and understanding has bred resentment and bail-out fatigue in Germany, and downright hatred and despair in Southern Europe.
Perversely, this Nobel award will feed the conceit of the Eurocrats, who imagine that there is still some merit in their failing project, and it may serve to delay, but not prevent, the final dénouement.
But never mind. The one good thing is that they can take the $1.4 million prize money, and put it towards the next Greek bail-out.