Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

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Yes, indeed, it is a little-acknowledged feat of miraculous life-saving power that Europe has not gone to war with itself — other than that whole Yugoslavia thing — since World War II.

It’s as clear a demonstration as anything that people can choose to stop fighting.  It’s a testament to the pre-war peace efforts that criminalized war, the post-war prosecutions of the brand new crime of making war, the reconstruction of the Marshall Plan, and … and something else a little less noble, and much less Nobel-worthy.

Alfred Nobel’s will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded 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.” Fredrik Heffermehl has been leading a valuable effort to compel the Nobel committee to abide by the will. Now they’ve outdone themselves in their movement in the other direction.

Europe is not a person.  It has not during the past year — which is the requirement — or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.  Ask Libya.  Ask Syria.  Check with Afghanistan.  See what Iraq thinks.  Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world.  There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones.

Now the Nobelites have almost guaranteed themselves a second-ever pro-war peace-prize acceptance speech.  If you don’t recall who gave the first one, I’ll tell you after the US election when you might be better able to hear me.

What a disgrace that the Nobel peace prize needs alternative awards that don’t go to warmongers.  What a further shame that even those don’t always go to people who measure up to Nobel’s will.

Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war?

The West is so in love with itself that many will imagine this award a success.  Surely Europe not going to war with itself is more important that Europe going to war with the rest of the world! 

Imagine how many white people might have died if Europe had kept its war making to itself.  By directing the threat of war outward and engaging in humanitarian wars and philanthropic wars, Europe has taken us beyond naive war abolition and into an era of powerful possibilities. Oh, and some dark people died.  But we’re looking at the Big Picture.

Does this not frighten anyone?


Articles by: David Swanson

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