The Nobel Peace Prize

Is there anything more hilarious than the Nobel Peace Prize?

I thought that the most bizarre decision ever was to award it to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. Can you imagine anything more dismissive? “Go on, folks, take this consolation prize and pretend like there is no conflict between you.”

And then the Prize went to Obama in 2009. Even Obama himself had no idea what that was all about. But he did everything he could to deserve the prize in the next 4 years by bombing everything in and out of sight.

This year, the Prize has reached a new height of weirdness when it was awarded to the European Union. Am I missing something or has it been renamed into the “Nobel Conflict Prize”?

23 thoughts on “The Nobel Peace Prize

  1. I suspect the problem lies in the geogrqphic location of Oslo. Half the year there is no light. The other half of the year there is no darkness. In consequence, Norwegians live on the edge of insanity!

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    1. I’m seeing from your blog that the Nobel in Economy has also been awarded to people who don;t really deserve it. I’m not surprised because Nobels in Literature are more often misses than hits.

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  2. The European Union is an offshot of an economical project meant to forestall the 70 years of war between France and Germany. In the process it unified an entire continent.

    From wikipedia:

    “Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe.” Such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, who were historic enemies. Coal and steel were vital resources needed for a country to wage war, so pooling those resources between two such enemies was seen as more than symbolic.[2][3] Schuman saw the decision of the French government on his proposal as the first example of a democratic and supranational Community, a new development in world history.[4][5] The plan was also seen by some, like Monnet, who crossed out Reuter’s mention of ‘supranational’ in the draft and inserted ‘federation’ as a first step to a “European federation”.[2][3]

    If anything the criticism should be that it wasn’t given much much earlier, perhaps because Schuman died before the extent of his project success had become known.

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      1. Precisely now when it is coming apart because of economic pressures it is a very good time to remind people of the other benefits it has undoubtedly brought forth, militaristicly speaking.

        In fact from comments I’ve read in the blogosphere it seems a great many people are/were unaware of its beginnings as a project to make Franco-German European war impossible.

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        1. This makes it just like giving the literature Nobel to a writer who wrote something kind of possibly hopeful decades ago but has been writing horrible crap in recent years.

          I don’t understand giving huge prizes to failures based on potentiality. Arafat and Peres might have achieved peace, Obama might have abstained from bombing, the EU could have been a good idea. That’s not how things worked out in reality, though. According to the logic of the Nobel committee, I should give an A to the student who didn’t submit his midterm based on the potentiality that he could have submitted it.

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      2. There is nothing about potentiality in this award. There hasn’t been a war between France and Germany in 67 years. These are facts on the ground, not potential promises.

        To be fair, I’m not sure if the EU was the best candidate possible for this years prize, but with all due respect anybody who thinks it was wholly unwarranted just shows their ignorance of the history of the ECSC/EC/EU.

        What you are doing would be comparable to begrudging the Nobel Prize to Garcia Marquez because his “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” was a subpar effort without ever mentioning his “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and ” Love in the Time of Cholera”.

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        1. “There hasn’t been a war between France and Germany in 67 years.”

          – This is a very strange argument. Do you suggest that all of the countries who joined the union did so to prevent the war between Germany and France? Do you think that Spain, for example, was in any way motivated to join by this consideration? I can assure you that during the discussions around the EU Germany and France and their ancient conflict were never even mentioned. Other countries have much more long-standing conflicts and we don;t run around awarding them prizes for not fighting.

          Besides, does anybody really believe that the EU is responsible for Germany and France not fighting a war recently? Seriously?

          “What you are doing would be comparable to begrudging the Nobel Prize to Garcia Marquez because his “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” was a subpar effort without ever mentioning his “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and ” Love in the Time of Cholera”.”

          – These are three subpar novels by a writer whose greatest talent is exploring the tastes of literary tourists with deep pockets from the US. So bad example. 🙂

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      3. Do you suggest that all of the countries who joined the union did so to prevent the war between Germany and France?

        Not at all. I’m stating the historical fact that the ECSC, the precursor of the EU was established with peace as its key objective. If the ECSC were still around I would have given it to it, but it has since changed its name to EU, so the EU got it.

        Besides, does anybody really believe that the EU is responsible for Germany and France not fighting a war recently? Seriously?

        Yes seriously. You need to read up on the wars caused by the fight for coal and iron in Alsace and Lorraine. The previous national structures essentially made war a necessity as soon as either country’s economy outgrew its local iron and coal resources. By agreeing to divvy up iron and coal according to free market rules as opposed to national boundaries there was no further need for war.

        So bad example. 🙂

        I knew you are not a Gabo fan. but I’m neither a tourist nor from the US yet I consider Cien Años de Soledad one of the master pieces of Spanish literature.

        Moreover, your comment is highly surprising, as I’m sure you are aware the novel was a best seller and greatly acclaimed in Latin American intellectual circles much before any one in the USA ever heard of García Márquez.

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        1. “I knew you are not a Gabo fan. but I’m neither a tourist nor from the US yet I consider Cien Años de Soledad one of the master pieces of Spanish literature.”

          – Definitely not Spanish. Just like Mark Twain is not English.

          “Moreover, your comment is highly surprising, as I’m sure you are aware the novel was a best seller and greatly acclaimed in Latin American intellectual circles much before any one in the USA ever heard of García Márquez.”

          – I am yet to meet a single Latin American intellectual who doesn’t spit when they hear of GGM.

          “You need to read up on the wars caused by the fight for coal and iron in Alsace and Lorraine. ”

          – I had no idea there were still readers who haven’t heard where exactly they should stick their condescending suggestions as to what I “need” to do. What makes you think that this kind of condescension is a normal way of interacting between people? Do you usually do that to people? How do they react?

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      4. Spanish literature.

        I meant Spanish literature as in “Literatura en Español”.

        – I am yet to meet a single Latin American intellectual who doesn’t spit when they hear of GGM.

        You musn’t know that many then.

        their condescending suggestions

        It is not a condescending suggestion. You are making judgements about an area you clearly are not very well informed (nor should you be, there is no reason why any one should be an expert on the intricacies of the coal and steel common market). Suggesting you read up on something is no different than you giving a pointer to a colleague or a student who needs more information on a subject.

        I’ve provided ample information about why your judgement was rushed (though not necessarily incorrect as I’ve already pointed out). It’s your call how whether use it to re-evaluate your opinion or not.

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        1. “You are making judgements about an area you clearly are not very well informed (nor should you be, there is no reason why any one should be an expert on the intricacies of the coal and steel common market). Suggesting you read up on something is no different than you giving a pointer to a colleague or a student who needs more information on a subject.”

          – And the condescension continues. Are you at all aware that you are being insulting? If not, I’m informing you: you are being insulting. To me. With these last two comments.

          “Suggesting you read up on something is no different than you giving a pointer to a colleague or a student who needs more information on a subject.”

          – In what bizarre universe am I your student? And no, I don’t approach my colleagues and tell them what they “need” to read. Precisely because that would be insulting to them.

          I cannot believe I have to explain such basic things.

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      5. In my field people care more about facts and less about fragile egos, hence my comments. If you go back and re-read the entire discussion, rather than highlighting a paragraph here or there, it is clear that my intent was to enrich the discussion with background information about the creation of the EU, not to put anyone down.

        After said information was provided, I personally would have said “gee, I wasn’t aware of that” much like I have read postings of yours about Spanish literature (erh, I mean Literatura en Español) and thought to myself “I didn’t know that” or “I hadn’t heard of that author”.

        Since clearly I rubbed you the wrong way here, I’ll sign out of this discussion.

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        1. “After said information was provided, I personally would have said “gee, I wasn’t aware of that” ”

          – Yes, what a pity that the planet isn’t populated exclusively with clones of you.

          “In my field people care more about facts and less about fragile egos”

          – Field of what? This isn’t a field. It’s a blog.

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  3. The thesis of Cobdenism is that mutual trade between countries produces mutual interdependence, which makes war almost impossible. A more moderate position is that trade makes war more costly and therefore less likely. Additionally, since the EU mandates certain human rights and democracy, and since mutual democracies are less likely to go to war with each other, this also reduces war. ISTM that the Peace Prize stems from the EU’s doing these two things.

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    1. ” since the EU mandates certain human rights and democracy, and since mutual democracies are less likely to go to war with each other,” should be ” since the EU mandates certain human rights and democracy, and since mutual democracies are less likely to go to war with each other (if you accept the Democratic Peace theory)….

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    2. mutual trade between countries produces mutual interdependence, which makes war almost impossible.

      Correct. Read up my comment above about steel and coal about why this is particularly so in the case of France and Germany.

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  4. I suppose these are serious topics, but I do find it hilarious that the guy who got a Nobel Peace Prize has a kill-list.

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  5. Most people outside the USA stopped taking the nobel prizes remotely seriously in 1973, when the peace prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger.

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