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Commentary & Opinion
Wed December 12, 2012
Herbert London: Further Proof the Nobel Peace Prize Is A Perverse Joke
Just what is the Nobel Peace Prize committee up to? In giving the prize to the European Union (EU) the Norwegians comprising the decision making committee made themselves a laughing stock… again. In what sense, is this regional union an avatar for peace? This decision is comparable to giving an award to a committee held together with illusions.
If truth be known, the EU is in a slow but inevitable disintegration. The argument for retention of the present system is fading before our eyes even though the selection committee cannot see it. Economic considerations for the euro – the currency that unites many of the 27 nations in the union are rapidly being called into question as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland are basket cases waiting to be bailed out by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The political argument is being questioned as well since fiscal policy has surrendered to Brussels in several cases thereby substituting post democratic principles for democratic sovereignty.
Nobel committee practices are notoriously odd as the premature selection of President Obama would suggest. But in this case, the Committee missed the mark by a continent. The idea that the EU is a stabilizing influence is a thorough misreading of history. Europe was stabilized by Patton’s soldiers, the Sixth Fleet and American support of NATO. If any nation deserves the peace prize, it is the United States.
By any standard Europe is more stable today than at any point in the last 200 years. But that stability is fragile. The insinuation of radical Islamic thought into most European capitals and the pusillanimous manner in which leaders have addressed this issue, indicate that Europeans are incapable of defending themselves and their recently won liberty.
With the horror of anti-semitism still fresh in the historical record, one might assume European leaders would recoil from the rise of this hateful position. However, that assumption would be wrong. From Rotterdam to Malmo, from the outer districts of Paris to Marseille, open and virulent anti-semitism is on the rise. Fascist parties in Greece and France have gained a foothold – modest at the moment – but sill troubling.
Moreover, Europe is an economic dinosaur with the exception of Germany. The axis of economic power has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There is little manufactured in Europe that the world wants and when demand does exist, it is offset by high prices – a legacy of cradle to grave socialist impulses.
If this is true – and there is ample empirical evidence to support these conclusions - why was this award conferred? It seems to me that this decision is a reflection of a deep-seated ideological stance. The Norwegian dominated selection committee represents European elitism – a startling reflection of wealth, arrogance, complacency and cosmopolitan (bistro?) socialism. In the orthodox mind of the Committee, Jimmy Carter is to be preferred to Ronald Reagan. Why? Because Carter was a man of the left – one of them – as opposed to Reagan, the “undisciplined right-wing cowboy.”
What this decision along with so many others indicates is that the award can no longer be entertained seriously. Jay Nordlinger of the National Review wrote a superb book making precisely this point. However, his book was published before this recent award. This EU selection is merely a cherry on top of a spoiled pudding. Arafat, Gore, Obama, Carter – the list of undeserving members is too numerous to mention. What the list does say is that the Nobel Peace Prize has a lot to do with politics and virtually nothing to do with peace.
Herbert London is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America).
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