In 1973 the comedian Tom Lehrer declared that satire was dead because the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger, after he sent in B52s to bomb Cambodia. Today, the esteemed Nobel committee have finally proved him wrong, by awarding the prize to the European Union in recognition of its work in keeping the peace in Europe since the Second World War. We can only hope that Jon Stewart finds the strength to carry on.
We are told that thanks to the EU, France and Germany haven’t been to war for seventy years. When you think about it that’s not a very surprising observation. For most of that time Germany did not exist as a single country. The East was a puppet state of the USSR. The west was supported by NATO because it was the front line of the Cold War. It was the Cold War that kept the peace in Europe, because quite frankly the continent was nothing more than a venue for the superpowers to vie for global domination. Peace was a result of what happened in Washington and Moscow, not Brussels.
After the Cold War, the EU’s contribution to peace is at best questionable. A continent scarred by genocide sat back and watched ethnic hatreds ignite again at Srebrenica. Mass murder returned to the continent, and only the intervention of the USA was able to bring an uneasy peace. Hard to see what the EU did that impressed the Nobel judges there.
Perhaps we should look at the continent today, as maybe it is a monument to wise statesmanship guiding people towards a better and more peaceful future? Er, no. That’s not right, is it? The grand folly of the single currency has condemned the people of southern Europe to near permanent recession. Violence is breaking out on the streets of Athens and Madrid. Europe of all places should know the dangers of this type of crisis. People without hope will turn to extreme leaders in the desperate hope of salvation. What is the EU doing about this? Nothing. History can repeat itself as tragedy many times over. Yet despite all this, the leaders who have wrought this chaos on the continent deserve a Nobel Prize? No. They really don’t.